Eagles in Maine

This area is for observations and photos of all eagles that don't fit into our existing eagle topics.
Post Reply
User avatar
JudyB
Admin
Posts: 14786
Joined: Dec 09, 2017
Location: Midcoast Maine

Eagles in Maine

Post by JudyB » Mon Feb 14, 2022 3:32 pm

I'm going to set up this thread to share some pictures Charlie and I took recently of eagles near us in midcoast Maine. I did originally have this thread in "Wildlife on the Trails" area under Other Birds and Wildlife, but after consultation with gemini, we agreed it really is about eagles, so I'm moving it here.

Anyone who has been seeing eagles in Maine is welcome to post here - and it could be expanded to Eagles in New England if there was interest - and gemini or I will be happy to set up a thread for anyone who wants to post pictures and observations of eagles in their area.

We do have a place for those who are observing eagles nesting in the Eagle Nests Across North America and the World area - viewforum.php?f=41 - and are happy to set up threads for anyone who wants to share information about a nest they observe.

User avatar
JudyB
Admin
Posts: 14786
Joined: Dec 09, 2017
Location: Midcoast Maine

Re: Wildlife in Maine

Post by JudyB » Mon Feb 14, 2022 3:35 pm

While my husband Charlie and I were out walking on February 11, one of our neighbors mentioned that he'd been seeing eagles in a field not that far away, and he thought maybe they were golden eagles, because he didn't see the white heads that adult bald eagles usually have. Golden eagles are pretty unusual in Maine, but it could happen (we have a Stellers sea eagle hanging around and they mostly belong in Asia) – and it was a lovely day, so we decided to go for a drive and take a look. My initial impression (which turned out to be wrong) was that we'd found something even more unusual than golden eagles – it looked to me as if we had found a family of bald eagles that was still together long after the time when the youngsters normally would have left. There was a full adult (with the white head we think of when we think bald eagle), her (or maybe his) mate who was a sub-adult (sort of like a teenager – old enough to mate, but not necessarily with sufficient skills to successfully raise a family) – and proof that this pair had it together, because there were two juvenile eagles, which I originally assumed were less than a year old, but flying. I was wondering if maybe they nested late, or if the fledglings decided to hang around instead of going out into the world as most youngsters do in the fall – and it turns out that isn't at all what was happening.

We returned the next day when we had a bit more time, and over the course of 15 minutes, we saw at least 6 eagles – and after chatting with a couple of people who also stopped to admire them, we realized this may be a neighborhood picnic spot (or more technically a hunting area) where eagles who winter in Maine have discovered they can find food. Whatever it is, it was wonderful to see! We do have a lot of eagles in Maine, but almost never see more than one or two at a time, and generally those are flying over or perched quite a bit further than these were . We stayed on the side of the road, and they knew we were there, but didn't seem to be concerned by our presence. There were at least three adult eagles who didn't seem to be concerned about each other, which makes me think it was a shared territory. The younger eagles probably aren't related to the adults – but have learned that adults who are not actively raising chicks are pretty tolerant of youngsters trying to grab food, which is a good thing because it takes a while before the youngsters will gain the skill needed to catch their own food consistently! Unless otherwise noted, the pictures are mine; Charlie did a bit of editing on some of them for brightness and contrast, and quite a few are cropped.


Pictures from February 11

The eagles were a long ways out – which is why the photos are a bit fuzzy – but we saw two huge birds in the tree in the red circle on the right – and then Charlie asked – is there someone in the even more distant tree? He was right – there was! All pictures click much larger.
Litchfield_20220211_2450a.jpg
Litchfield_20220211_2450b.jpg

We originally thought this was a family group, though it was much later in the season than we would expect to see adults with fledglings, so were surprised to see that one of the eagles in the closer tree was a sub-adult, maybe almost 5 years old, but younger than eagles generally mate and successfully raise a family.
Litchfield_20220211_2453a.jpg

User avatar
JudyB
Admin
Posts: 14786
Joined: Dec 09, 2017
Location: Midcoast Maine

Re: Wildlife in Maine

Post by JudyB » Mon Feb 14, 2022 3:36 pm

The other eagle in the closer tree was definitely a juvenile, almost certainly less than a year old. It might be from the area, but the first year eagles with trackers that I've followed have generally left their home territory when they were 3 or 4 months old and even when they pass through the general area where they hatched, don't get too close to their parents' territory. I suspect the younger ones came because they saw older eagles gathering, and know the adults and sub-adults wouldn't be there unless there was food available.
Litchfield_20220211_2454a.jpg

Another view of the same juvenile eagle.
Litchfield_20220211_2455a.jpg

The eagle in the further tree was a full adult, with white head.
Litchfield_20220211_2459a.jpg

User avatar
JudyB
Admin
Posts: 14786
Joined: Dec 09, 2017
Location: Midcoast Maine

Re: Wildlife in Maine

Post by JudyB » Mon Feb 14, 2022 3:38 pm

And as we were watching, a second juvie flew in and landed under the white-headed adult. This one might be older – I didn't get a good look but there may be more white feathers appearing, which suggests this one might be a second year eagle (meaning it will turn two years old in April or thereabouts).
Litchfield_20220211_2461a.jpg
Litchfield_20220211_2462a.jpg

Here's another picture of the sub-adult. The dark feathers on the head and tail show that he or she is still young.
Litchfield_20220211_2464a.jpg

User avatar
JudyB
Admin
Posts: 14786
Joined: Dec 09, 2017
Location: Midcoast Maine

Re: Wildlife in Maine

Post by JudyB » Mon Feb 14, 2022 3:41 pm

Pictures from February 12

When we went back on February 12, we parked on a side road a bit further back and walked back to the general area where we'd stopped for a few minutes the day before; this is a wider view of the area; the tree where the eagles were perching is near the middle of the frame.
Litchfield_20220212_2465-CI.jpg

As I was walking towards the area where the birds were perched, I took a couple of quick pictures, in case they all decided to leave; these aren't quite as far back as the wide view of the field, but not close. This is a juvenile eagle; I'm noticing some white on the tail, mottled brown and white feathers on the chest, and the fact that the beak is yellow. If you look back at the picture of the almost-one-year-old above, you'll notice that the beak starts out dark and lightens as they age; I'm not good at judging ages, but my guess is that this is a third year eagle (so will turn three this spring).
Litchfield_20220212_2473-CI.jpg

Remember when I said that the eagles knew we were there – this one is definitely checking us out. There might be a bit of shading around the eyes suggesting this is a young adult (or it could be the light) but this one is definitely older than the subadult we saw yesterday.
Litchfield_20220212_2491-CI.jpg

User avatar
JudyB
Admin
Posts: 14786
Joined: Dec 09, 2017
Location: Midcoast Maine

Re: Wildlife in Maine

Post by JudyB » Mon Feb 14, 2022 3:43 pm

This adult was also perched in the tree near the other two. It looks a bit as if he or she just dipped their beak in chocolate sauce, but if you look closely you can see a shadow on the chest as well – so it's really just a shadow from one of the branches nearby.
Litchfield_20220212_2493-CI.jpg

I had to include this because I actually managed to get a shot of two eagles in flight! I think the adult was one of the ones who had been in the tree and went off for a quick flight – or it may be one of the ones we noticed flying nearby – we did see six at the same time, and because the ones in the air were flying behind trees at times, there might have been more than that. I'm pretty sure the one at the lower right is a juvie – even at that distance, I'm quite sure we'd be able to see some white on the head and/or tail if it was a full adult or even a sub-adult.
Litchfield_20220212_2499.jpg

This is the tree where they were perching, with an adult coming in to land. I think the adult who is perched there is the one who was staring at me earlier, and the adult landing may be the one who was there earlier (or a different one – there are times it would be much easier to know who is who if eagles were color-coded). I'm pretty sure the juvie on the left is a different juvie than the one featured above; it's on a different branch, and I think the beak and tail are darker, indicating that it's likely younger. I think the one on the far right stayed in the tree the whole time as well.
Litchfield_20220212_2501-CI.jpg

User avatar
JudyB
Admin
Posts: 14786
Joined: Dec 09, 2017
Location: Midcoast Maine

Re: Wildlife in Maine

Post by JudyB » Mon Feb 14, 2022 3:45 pm

I love the way the two juvies turn to look at the incoming adult to see if he or she has food, while the adult pretty much ignores the activity.
Litchfield_20220212_2502-CI.jpg

If you go to full size on this one, you can see that the tail of the juvie on the left isn't showing the white we saw on the earlier juvie, and it's hard for me to be sure, but I think the beak is still black at the tip – so this one may be a little less than a year old, or could be almost two – there is some variation in how fast individual eagles go through the developmental stages. I'm thinking eaglets in Maine generally hatch in April, though again there are always outliers.
Litchfield_20220212_2507-CI.jpg

The rest of these are Charlie's photos; they start around the same time I took the individual shots of the two adults and the older juvenile, and they are the three on the left here. You can see the juvie's lighter tail and beak if you zoom in a bit (or click twice, depending on how you're viewing this).
Litchfield_20220212_CI_651.jpg

User avatar
JudyB
Admin
Posts: 14786
Joined: Dec 09, 2017
Location: Midcoast Maine

Re: Wildlife in Maine

Post by JudyB » Mon Feb 14, 2022 3:47 pm

The adult who was staring at me above is on the right (and might be staring at me – Charlie walked up while I was back a bit taking pictures. His pictures are clearer, partly because he was closer, and he has a steadier hand.
Litchfield_20220212_CI_651a.jpg

Another look at the older juvie, with the lighter beak clearly visible.
Litchfield_20220212_CI_653.jpg

Continuing with Charlie's pictures, this is a few minutes later, with the adult who was staring originally in the same spot, and an older juvie moving to the perch where the other adult had been. I think this is the same juvie as in the previous picture, but I'm not sure.
Litchfield_20220212_CI_656.jpg

User avatar
JudyB
Admin
Posts: 14786
Joined: Dec 09, 2017
Location: Midcoast Maine

Re: Wildlife in Maine

Post by JudyB » Mon Feb 14, 2022 3:48 pm

Here's the juvie on the right side of the nest; I'm thinking there's quite a bit of white visible from some angles, so this one is maybe an almost two-year-old (or second year) eagle. I think the beak has started changing from black to yellow – but when I look at it at full screen it doesn't look as yellow as the juvie on the left (above) so that one is maybe a third year bird who will be three years old in April.
Litchfield_20220212_CI_657.jpg

I am in awe that Charlie caught this. It's the same juvie as above, and while we were there a huge flock of smaller birds flew by; this is just a small part of them.
Litchfield_20220212_CI_659.jpg

Moving back to the left side of the tree, here's a juvie (maybe the one above?) showing off his or her underwings and tail. I wish I had paid more attention – but there was lots to see. This juvie is in the same place as the one above – but I'm seeing more dark on the end of the beak, and I'm not seeing much white on the underside of the tail. And part of that may be the light. Whoever it is, it's another spectacular catch by Charlie.
Litchfield_20220212_CI_662.jpg

User avatar
JudyB
Admin
Posts: 14786
Joined: Dec 09, 2017
Location: Midcoast Maine

Re: Wildlife in Maine

Post by JudyB » Mon Feb 14, 2022 3:53 pm

The juvie and the adult, with a clearer look at the juvie's beak.
Litchfield_20220212_CI_663.jpg

This is the juvie on the right, and I think his or her beak is darker than that of the previous one, but it is hard to be sure.
Litchfield_20220212_CI_664.jpg

A last look at the four in the tree as we prepared to head back home – which is not that far away, so we may be back!
Litchfield_20220212_CI_673.jpg
Judy Barrows & Charlie Ipcar

User avatar
IrishEyes
Forum Assistant
Posts: 107285
Joined: Feb 09, 2018
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada

Re: Eagles in Maine

Post by IrishEyes » Mon Feb 14, 2022 4:50 pm

This is wonderful Judy ~ Thank You to you and Charlie ..the pictures are spectacular :rh: ! and thanks for sharing :huggie:
Image

HELPFUL HINTS.......Bev...member since 08/04/09

User avatar
SueD
Posts: 422
Joined: Feb 25, 2018
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada

Re: Eagles in Maine

Post by SueD » Sun Jun 12, 2022 12:55 pm

Judy, I am happy to be able to contribute to this thread you started! My photos aren't nearly as good as yours, because we were quite far away. My husband and I stopped by the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge in Maine (near Calais, right before you cross the border into New Brunswick) on May 27, 2022. There we saw this bald eagle parent and two eaglets on their nesting platform (the younger of the two eaglets is just barely visible to our right of the older one).
Attachments
20220527 moosehorn national wildlife refuge ME.jpg
aka byline ~ 2012
Image

User avatar
JudyB
Admin
Posts: 14786
Joined: Dec 09, 2017
Location: Midcoast Maine

Re: Eagles in Maine

Post by JudyB » Sat Aug 20, 2022 11:50 am

SueD wrote:
Sun Jun 12, 2022 12:55 pm
Judy, I am happy to be able to contribute to this thread you started! My photos aren't nearly as good as yours, because we were quite far away. My husband and I stopped by the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge in Maine (near Calais, right before you cross the border into New Brunswick) on May 27, 2022. There we saw this bald eagle parent and two eaglets on their nesting platform (the younger of the two eaglets is just barely visible to our right of the older one).
I just saw this, Sue - and wow! There used to be a pair of eagles near us who nested on what was built as an osprey platform. They haven't nested there for several years, though they still perch on it from time to time. I'd never seen eagles doing that before (though it's certainly no stranger than some other places they nest) - and am happily surprised to see another pair of eagles doing the same thing.

Here's a picture of the two eaglets from 2010 (also taken from a long ways away):

Image


The picture above was taken from the shore of the river; this one is taken from a high bridge (with sidewalk) over the river in 2014 - the background looks quite similar to Moosehorn!

Image


The nest is on a little rock in the Sasanoa River near Bath, Maine.

User avatar
SueD
Posts: 422
Joined: Feb 25, 2018
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada

Re: Eagles in Maine

Post by SueD » Sun Aug 21, 2022 8:12 am

JudyB wrote:
Sat Aug 20, 2022 11:50 am
SueD wrote:
Sun Jun 12, 2022 12:55 pm
Judy, I am happy to be able to contribute to this thread you started! My photos aren't nearly as good as yours, because we were quite far away. My husband and I stopped by the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge in Maine (near Calais, right before you cross the border into New Brunswick) on May 27, 2022. There we saw this bald eagle parent and two eaglets on their nesting platform (the younger of the two eaglets is just barely visible to our right of the older one).
I just saw this, Sue - and wow! There used to be a pair of eagles near us who nested on what was built as an osprey platform. They haven't nested there for several years, though they still perch on it from time to time. I'd never seen eagles doing that before (though it's certainly no stranger than some other places they nest) - and am happily surprised to see another pair of eagles doing the same thing.

Here's a picture of the two eaglets from 2010 (also taken from a long ways away):

Image


The picture above was taken from the shore of the river; this one is taken from a high bridge (with sidewalk) over the river in 2014 - the background looks quite similar to Moosehorn!

Image


The nest is on a little rock in the Sasanoa River near Bath, Maine.
Hi Judy, and thank you for sharing your beautiful photos! It always impresses me how eagles and other animals will use whatever resources are available to them. Even though they are no longer using that osprey platform to nest, it must be fun for you to see them perching there.
aka byline ~ 2012
Image

Post Reply

Return to “Other Eagle Pictures and Observations”