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12/04/07
Double Eagle
Filed under: General, Birding & Outdoors, Florida & SE US
Posted by: Ken @ 12:29 pm

This morning I was processing my e-mail backlog when I heard the distinctive cry of a Bald Eagle. One has been hanging around our small lake for several days now. I was surprised to see two eagles on a rooftop diagonally across the lake from our home, about 200 - 250 yards away. I ran for the camera and took a few pictures, then sat down on the patio to watch them.

They called to each other periodically, and then the male bird flew up above the female and mounted her..

I got this hand-held picture of them copulating.


They remained on the roof for about ten more minutes, and then both flew off toward the south. I used a tripod for this post-copulation photo. My camera is a Canon Digital Rebel with 70-300 mm zoom lens.


4 Responses to “Double Eagle”

  1. heyitse Says:
    Sir, I just came across your blog this evening. As a birder recently transplanted from NJ, I am enjoying you remembrances of the Garden State through the ‘eyes’ of the binoculars.
  2. Janine Says:
    I’m going to have to come by your neighborhood and get some shots of these eagles! Great sighting.
  3. Ken Says:
    After eight straight days of visits, the eagle failed to show up on December 7th and I have not seen one since. The number of vultures has also decreased markedly, and the fish kill appears to be over. I wondered whether this mating behavior is restricted to the breeding territory, in which case it may be an indicator that we might find a nest relatively nearby. My own experience is limited, having witnessed copulation of Bald Eagles only once, at a nest tree in Texas. The best I can glean from the Internet is that copulation between adults usually takes place near the nest site and about a week or so before egg-laying. Southern populations usually copulate in late fall or early winter. From the National Eagle Center: “Paired males will typically leave their wintering area for the nesting territory before the female, so the serious courting usually takes place near the nest site rather than at their wintering location. Either the male or the female may initiate copulation and typically copulation occurs in the six days before the first egg is laid and continues until the last egg is laid. Eagles will copulate throughout the summer and into fall, but typically do not produce young, rather this may reinforce the pair bond…” The Florida Eagle Nest Locator does not show any current nest sites reasonably nearby. Does anyone have additional experience or information on this topic? We might be alert for evidence of a nest.
  4. Ken Says:
    During the past few days, two separate observers have reported seeing Bald Eagles carrying nesting materials in an area about 1-2 miles northwest of our home. We will keep you advised.

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