EAGLE CAM: Eaglet eats, grows; remaining egg shows no sign of hatching

- A pair of bald eagles in southwest Florida have a lot of new fans on the internet to go along with their newly hatched chick.  But, there is one egg that still has not hatched.

Wildlife experts say eggs take 34 to 40 days to hatch, 35 on average. These eggs were laid on November 22 and November 25. As of Tuesday, the unhatched egg was 42 days old. 

Southwest Florida Eagle Cam posted an update on its Facebook page Monday, saying it is unlikely that the egg will hatch. 

But what happens to the egg if it doesn't hatch? The folks at SW Florida Eagle cam said, "Once the adults decide the egg is not viable they might move it to the side of the nest, bury it or completely remove it from the area. Or if the egg is cracked, they might consume the egg as it provides much needed calcium."

After more than a month of waiting, bald eagle Harriet and her mate M15 finally met their new hatchling on Saturday morning.  The first glimpse of the fuzzy eaglet was around 7:30 a.m., when both eagles were at the nest. The eaglet, named E9, seems healthy and happy and has been eating well - thanks to fresh fish deliveries from Mom and Dad. 

According to SW Florida Eagle Cam, the eaglet will gain approximately one pound every five days and be at half its adult body weight by day 30.

Live streaming video of the eagles' partnership is being broadcast on the Southwest Florida Eagle Cam from the property of Dick Pritchett Real Estate in North Fort Myers from several angles, none of which disturb the eagles or make any sound.

LINK: Southwest Florida Eagle Cam home page

EAGLE FAST FACTS:

Eggs

A bald eagle egg is slightly smaller than a domestic goose egg. The chick will measure 4 to 5 inches at hatching and weigh only a matter of ounces. Bald eagles incubate their eggs for about 35 days. They begin incubation as soon as the first egg is laid.

The second egg usually appears within 36 to 72 hours after the first. Occasionally a clutch of 3 eggs will be produced.

Chicks

Eagle chicks are fed a steady diet of fish, occasionally supplemented by waterfowl (ducks, geese) or water birds (gulls, cormorants). About 85% of a chick's diet will typically consist of fish such as carp, white sucker, shad, bullhead and sunfish. The adults capture and tear the fish into small strips, offering them to the chicks. The chicks snatch the food from the adult's beak and swallow it whole.

An eagle chick will eat as much as it can at a single feeding, storing food in its crop. The crop, an organ located near the base of the bird's neck, will enlarge as it fills, resembling a golf ball.

Hunting and Feeding

The male parent does most of the hunting and scavenging during the early weeks of the chick's life. The female parent does the majority of the feeding and brooding. The male will often eat the head of the fish he catches and then bring the remainder to the nest. The male will brood and feed the chick when the female is off the nest. Shewill leave to stretch, defecate, bathe, preen and hunt on her own.

Chick's Growth

The chicks will be nearly full grown at 9 weeks of age. They will add some weight as they develop their flight muscles after they leave the nest. Their wingspan will be as large or slightly larger than the adults at this time.

Fledgling Facts

Once most of their wing and tail feathers are developed, the eaglets can finally leave the nest. First flights usually occur at 9 or 10 weeks of age and are preceded by vigorous exercising and flapping.

Source: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

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