After days of flapping and bouncing on the boughs of their Douglas fir home, the two Bald Eagles born in Heritage Park in April took their first flights on Thursday, July 18.
A flight by one eaglet a little before 9 o’clock that morning was reported on the Eastside Audubon Facebook page by Teresa Descher. In the evening, Nancy Roberts was first to report seeing the second eaglet fly.
The inaugural flights came a few days before the eaglets reached the age of 13 weeks. A Bald Eagle typically flies for the first time, or fledges, at 12 to 14 weeks of age.
The Heritage Park eaglets became local celebrities late last month, when Celebrate Kirkland! acted on a request from Eastside Audubon to move the Fourth of July fireworks launch barge farther from the nest tree to avoid startling the eagles into premature flight and potential danger.
As of July 4, the eaglets would have been perhaps between 9 and 10 weeks old.
In 2012, when the Heritage Park parents hatched only one eaglet at about that same time of year as this year’s chicks, that single youngster didn’t fledge until the first week in August, when it was probably 14 or 15 weeks old.
Lately, on almost any visit to the park after July 4, local friends of the eaglets could be seen dropping by to check on the progress of the young birds, hoping to be there for the first flight.
The two young eagles will stay near the Heritage Park nest for many weeks to come, counting on their parents to bring them food such as fish from Lake Washington. Toward the end of this year, with their parents, the juveniles will move off to better feeding grounds.
Late next winter, the same parents likely will return to the Heritage Park nest to hatch a new eaglet or two. This year’s young will find their own territory, and, when they’re 4 or 5 years old, will get their white heads and tails and be ready to start their own families.
About Eastside Audubon
Eastside Audubon is the National Audubon Society chapter active in Bellevue, Bothell, Carnation, Duvall, Issaquah, Kirkland, North Bend, Redmond, Sammamish, Snoqualmie, Woodinville, and unincorporated East King County.
Eastside Audubon works to protect, preserve, and enhance natural ecosystems and our communities for the benefit of birds, other wildlife, and people. We welcome new and experienced birders on our birding walks and field trips and in our birding classes. Visit www.eastsideaudubon.org.