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2011 Eaglet
2011 Gratiot Lake Eaglet - Early June

Eagle Updates for 2011

June 2-24:  Eagles have returned to the nest on Gratiot Lake once again, and as you can see in the photos, an eaglet now resides there. In early June, there always seemed to be an adult in the nest or on a tree limb next to the nest. Now, although one of the adults can ususally be heard nearby, the eaglet spends hours on its own watching, sleeping, preening its fancy new feathers, flapping its quickly developing wings, or crying to be fed. Early in June the eaglet seemed to spend much time sleeping and it could be seen napping in various locations in the nest.

This year's eaglet seems a little less developed than the eaglets in the past were at this time in June. This one still had a more downy, lighter colored look than past eaglets had by early to mid-June. It still had a little patch of downy whitish fluff on its head until mid-June. This, together with what appeared to be a suit that was too big and baggy, made it quite funny to watch as it maneuvered around the nest.

Over the past week, the eaglet has rapidly increased in size, and the little stubby wings that it appeared to use to help it waddle around the nest are growing quite large. The eaglet is now much more active, and it makes its way around the nest quite easily. This increased activity and the eaglet's rapid growth account for why the adults are so busy bringing in food and feeding it to the youngster. They also seem to be attentive to bringing in a talon full of weeds for nesting material and an ocassional stick to build up the outer edges of the nest.

June 24 - July 5:  In spite of this year's eaglet looking a little behind in its physical development through early to mid June when compared to last year's eaglet, it has grown rapidly as can be seen in the photos and videos below. Also as can be seen in the videos, it does cry and complain a bit, but this seems to occur less frequently than with eaglets of past years. In the past, the eaglets could be heard crying to be fed frequently. This one's crying (up to this point) seems to occur when it hasn't been fed for some time and an adult comes to the nest tree. This happens less frequently now as the eaglet is encouraged to feed itself from the food brought to the nest before the adults help. The adults bring in food but are now more likely to eat some themselves and then hop to a branch. The eaglet then makes some effort to pull off small pieces but often quits and cries and begs to be fed.

June 19:
Today the eaglet began standing on a branch that runs along the edge of the nest. Shortly after beginning this new behavior, it slipped and banged against another supporting branch at nest level. It seemed slightly stunned for a minute, but it luckily fell into the nest rather than over the edge. Within a few minutes, an adult flew into the nest.

July 8: Today the eaglet got up to the same branch a little above nest level where last year's eaglet started its perching, but a few days earlier than last year. To be fair, the nest is taller this year and this made it a little less of a jump and challenge. The eaglet got up there and spent almost the entire day there with only a couple of practice trips down and back when an adult brought food to the nest.

July 10: The eaglet is spending much time on branches and gets a little braver and farther out from the nest each day. An adult today fed the eaglet while it was still perched up on the branch next to the nest. (Video will soon be added to the selections below.)

Select a topic below to see a Quicktime video of this year's eaglet and adults in action.
The longer videos will require a high speed connection or you could start the download and then go do something else for awhile.
(Remember to close one video window before opening another.)

They Grow Up So Quickly
(49 MB - 4 min. 41 sec.)

Rainy Day Mishap
(69.6 MB - 5 min. 43 sec.)

Eagle Calls
(18.3 MB - 2 min. 17 sec.)

Pesky Flies
(45.9 MB - 5 min. 8 sec.)

Waiting For Adults Arrival
(55.7 MB - 3 min. 19 sec.)
Eaglet Cries And Begs - Minor Tantrum
(20.8 MB - 2 min. 10 sec.)

The "What Are You Doing?" Look
(7 MB - 48 sec.)

Eaglet Nearly Ready To Leave Nest
(30.2 MB - 7 min. 16

Eaglet Fed While On Branch
(22 MB - 1 min. 35 sec.)

Keeping Eaglet Warm In Rain (p.1)
(6/7/2011  13.5 MB - 2 min. 23 sec.)

Keeping A More Troublesome
Eaglet Warm In Rain (p.2)
(6/19/2011  30.3 MB - 2 min. 46 sec.)

Hungry Eaglet Catches Wing On Branch
(42.4 MB - 3 min.)

See 2010 Info Below to Compare to 2011

2010 Gratiot Lake Eaglet - Early June

Eagle Updates for 2010

June 5-30:  Eagles have returned to the nest which was abandoned after it partially collapsed a few years ago. As you can see in the photo, an inquisitive eaglet inhabits the nest. He/she can easily be heard asking for food several times a day. The eaglet is growing and learning quickly. It was toilet trained weeks ago shortly after it could waddle to the edge of the nest. Although it still is sometimes fed by an adult, it also appears to be learning to feed itself from the fish which are flown in several times a day. The eaglet can frequently be seen stretching its relatively large and quickly developing wings. Although it is not yet ready to venture out of the nest to sit on a branch, it sometimes sits near the edge of the nest looking intently at nearby branches. In the short time we have been observing, it has already gone from being a cute, little, fluffy eaglet to being a much larger, more gangly, and more demanding youngster.


First Time Out of Nest On Branch - July 10

July 11-13: During the busy two weeks since the June entry above, the eaglet has grown a great deal, and it has gotten much more active. It has also learned (after much crying/squeeling) to tear apart its own food once it has been delivered. On July 10th, after days of flapping wings, hopping around in the nest, and studying locations of branches, the eaglet finally made it to a branch a few feet above and to the side of the nest. Since then it has spent several hours each of the last few days sitting in this location along with practicing hanging on and getting up and down. Since this resting place is partially in the path of the adults who operate the "Meals on Wings" program, there have been some minor mishaps with slight collisions and missteps as the youngster hurriedly races to get back into the nest when deliveries occur.

July 26 - August 1: The eaglet left its tree for the first time on July 26th as expected. He/she can frequently be seen flying and heard squeeling as it makes the adults aware it needs to be fed. Although flying now, it still appears to be dependent on its parents to catch its food. The eaglet was soon seen learning to catch its own food once it had sufficiently mastered its takeoffs, flights, and landings.

August 5:  While watching the eaglet that had returned to the nest for the first time since it first left on July 26th, it became apparent that it sounded a little different and it looked darker. A closer examination revealed two eaglets were at the nest. The one hatched in the nest this year was somewhat hidden in the corner, while the darker and slightly larger one strutted around as if it owned the nest. The Gratiot Lake eaglet was obviously not happy and jumped at the invader and tried to push it unsuccessfully and retreated back to its corner.

Over the next few weeks, the two seemed to learn to get along and could be seen flying together or could be heard calling back and forth to one another at times they were not together. Our speculation is that perhaps the intruder was an immature from a previous year's hatch that may have been interested in hanging out with a younger eaglet which was still getting some free meals from the adults. It is possible that this was the same immature that the adults had quickly chased from the vacinity of the nest several times during the weeks before this year's eaglet had fledged.

The eaglet telling an intruder to leave its nest.


Select a topic below to see a Quicktime video of this year's eaglet in action.
The longer videos will require a high speed connection or you could start the download and then go do something else for awhile.
(Remember to close one video window before opening another.)

Potty Trained
(36 sec.)
A Very Hungry Eaglet
(5 min.)
Interesting Feeding Behavior
(7 min.)
Naughty Eaglet Gets A Time-Out
(52 sec.)
A Very Hungry Eaglet (larger version)
(5 min.)
Wing Workout
(5 min. 55 sec.)
An Exciting Evening Meal
(15 min. 55 sec.)
Food Delivery Mishap
(30 sec.)
Morning In The Nest
(18 min. 30 sec.)
A Little Bird Watching
(1 Minute)
That Is MY Fish
(1 min. 43 sec.)
Working Out The Kinks
(1 min. 29 sec.)
Insects Distract Eaglet From Begging
(1 Min. 7 sec.)


Annual Bald Eagle Nesting Census of
Keweenaw Peninsula Nests
Productive Nests
Eaglets Born
2010 26 43
2009 18 30

* Baraga County's aerial survey did not include 5 of that county's nest sites.

2010 Gratiot Eaglet


Click Here to see a slideshow of the banding of the 2003 eaglet.

Click here to see a short excerpt from an eagle banding video. (1 MB QuickTime)

Click here to view the archived info from the 2002 eagle banding.

Click here to view the archived info from the 2001 eagle banding.

Additional Eagle Links


http://www.mbr-pwrc.usgs.gov/id/framlst/i3520id.html (USGS Eagle website)

(MDEQ website with data on contaminant loads in Michigan eagles



Contact GLC Program Director: director@gratiotlakeconservancy.org
(Please put "Gratiot Lake" in subject line.)