Our resident baby American Bald Eagle is getting ready to fly here at Wooten’s
Everglades Airboat Rides. Come now and possibly witness this spectacular event.
If you wern’t here a couple weeks ago you missed the panther catching the raccoon at the swamp buggy grave site. If you miss the chance to photograph the baby eagles first flight you may just hate yourself later…
Early Spring is the time in which Bald Eagle
chicks hatch and learn to fly for the first
time, and it’s no different here at:
Wooten’s Everglades Airboat & Swamp Buggy Rides.
It is an exciting moment when they attempt
their first flight, but it can also be a time
of great concern.
The chicks have one chance to get it right,
or they may not survive.
It’s been reported that approximately forty
percent of the eaglets do not survive their
first flight, so it is certainly a critical stage in
the life of an American Bald Eagle…
Although flying is an inborn instinct in the Bald Eagle, it does not necessarily mean that their first flight will be successful. If you are an eagle watcher, it can be a very tense moment, watching the first flight attempt.
The baby Bald Eagle chicks hatch after an incubation period of approximately 35 days. They have a special beak or “egg tooth” to poke through their shell which is called pipping…
The eggs will hatch in the order they were laid, and it can take from 12-48
hours for the young chicks to break out. There are usually two, but sometimes
three eggs. Survival begins immediately, because it is not uncommon for the
oldest eaglet to kill the youngest, and neither parent will stop the
The newly hatched eaglets are grayish-white, with soft down, partially closed
eyes, and legs too weak to stand on. With both eagle parents sharing nest
duties, and feeding the young eaglets, they grow very rapidly, and in 4-5
weeks, the eaglets are able to stand, and tear their own food to eat.
In six weeks, they are nearly as large as the parents, and their black juvenile
feathers begin growing, replacing the soft down which covered their young
From the time they are about 10 days old, to the sixth week, they are watching
their parents fly, which is called imprinting. By the eighth week, the eaglets
have voracious appetites, they begin to stretch their wings, and sometimes they
may be lifted slightly by wind currents in the nest.
Around this time, the eaglet becomes a fledgling, when the fluffy down is
completely replaced with their flying feathers. The parents encourage flying
movements by holding food out of their reach, so that they have to drift or
hover above the nest in order to get the food, but do not have to leave the
The eagle’s feathers help them to fly, and there are three types. The covert feathers add thickness to the front end, forcing the air up and over the eagle’s wing.
The primary feathers spread apart, which reduces air friction, and the
secondary feathers move up and down, which lessens the drag, or air resistance.
The site of the eaglet’s first flight is important, because this site will be
where it will later return to nest and raise young of its own.
Before even maturing enough to make a first flight, the Bald Eagle must survive
the elements, predators, siblings, and falling from the nest. Although the
eagle’s nest is very large, and at least one parent is there with the chicks at
all times, chicks may get tangled in twigs of the nest, or fall from the very
high nest to its death.
Surviving long enough to grow the required flying feathers is an accomplishment
in itself. The parents do not shove the eaglets out of the nest, it is the
eaglet’s decision when to fly for the first time, and this usually happens
around the eleventh or twelfth week.
If the eaglets do make a successful flight, they are dealing with a new ground
environment for the first time, and it can be lethal as well, so the success of
flight is thwarted by new dangers.
Through all of the danger and adversity, the Bald Eagles who survive the first few months of life, are to be admired, along with the Bald Eagle parents who have nurtured and trained them to this crucial point of being…
If you see people with binoculars near the resident Bald Eagle nests in at
Wooten’s Airboat Rides, it is to watch this first flight in admiration and
- The Bald Eagle is not bald at all, the name originated from an old English word
“balde”, meaning white, and the Bald Eagle has white feathers on its head.
- The Bald Eagle has been the National symbol of the United States since 1782,
and “Old Abe” was the most famous mascot of the Civil War, involved in 36
battles with the Eighth Wisconsin. He did not die in battle, but was trapped in
a burning building, and died of smoke inhalation at age 44.
- A Florida Bald Eagle’s nest was reported as being 9 feet wide, 20 feet tall,
and weighing more than 4,000 pounds.
- The Irish believe that the Bald eagle is the oldest creature, and therefore, a
bird of great wisdom.
- Many European myths depict the eagle as saving many people from famine, most
probably based on how the adult eagle brings food to its young.bThe eagle was
thought to have served as Jupiter’s companion and personal messenger, and was
the only creature able to look directly into the sun.
- Ancient Persians believed that the eagle was the protector of all earth.
- In Native American culture, the eagle symbolizes wisdom, authority, power,
peace, and the Creator, or Great Spirit. The gift of eagle feathers symbolizes
- The two sides of the eagle feather allows the eagle to fly higher and faster,
and symbolizes in Native American beliefs, a balanced spirit of intellect and
emotion, logic and spirituality.
- In psychology, dreams of eagles with snakes clutched in their talons, is
believed to represent the conflict of opposites, such as the conscious versus
the unconscious mind.
- The group name for Bald Eagles is Kettle (A kettle of Bald Eagles captured a
- The Bald Eagle’s eyesight is five times sharper than that of humans.
- Bald Eagles have openings on the side of their beaks which are called nares,
and they help them to respire, or breath.
- Bald Eagles do not have vocal cords, and the screeching sound that they make is
caused by the flow of air into their neck bones.
- Bald Eagle bones are hollow, they have approximately 7,000 feathers, and they
stay with the same mate for life, or until one dies.
- “Hoover” is a baby Bald Eagle, who was adopted by a foster eagle family in
Florida, with the careful assistance of the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey,
The American Bald Eagle: It’s Past And Future
A bird that has inspired and intrigued people all over the world, is the Bald Eagle. Its symbolism of majesty, pride and strength, is revered in almost any culture, and is mentioned in traditional mythologies and folklore, more than any other bird.
Once on the endangered species list, the Bald Eagle has managed to overcome and thrive once again, but continues to need our support and protection. Maintaining a proper environment for new chicks to grow and develop is essential to their survival…
It is up to us, to provide the Bald Eagle, with a proper chance to take a first
flight, which we can watch in delight and amazement…