It's a long way down!

On another eagle web cam in Wisconsin, the female eaglet made her first flight in a very ungraceful way. In fact many are not calling it a fledge but a fludge, or a very bad attempt at a first flight.  The eaglet went over to the edge of the nest,  looked over and basically fell right out.  Many were concerned that she may have injured herself, but she was seen later looking just fine.  Most all of us didn't just start out walking right away either, we had a few ungraceful falls as well!  

So don't be surprised if our eaglet here does the same thing! Let's talk about what it will be like when our eaglet fledges.

Eagles are very territorial and rarely allow another eagle in their nesting territory. They will fight to the death to defend the nest, food source or territory.  But, they are also very good parents and most will allow the young to stay in the territory for some time after they have learned to fly.  During this time the parents are teaching the young how to find food and defend themselves.  The young will often stay in the parents’ territory until late summer or early fall.  But how long they are welcome might depend on how much grief the kids gave the parents when they were in the nest! 
  Once the young have left the territory for good, they start life on their own. They often congregate with other immature birds and learn from each other, picking up new techniques for hunting.  A big part of the mortality rate for these birds the first year of life is due to their inexperience. They don’t necessarily know what to do or where to find food that first winter.  About 50% of the young hatched this year will not make it to next summer.
  If these birds do make it to the next spring, they will not be welcomed back by the parents.  Parents will actually run them right out of their territory, just as they would any other eagle. The parents are working hard to raise a new clutch, and want to limit the competition for food in the territory. Immature eagles are on their own, and until they are five or six years of age have no territory of their own. Once they get the complete white head and tail, they will be fully adult and ready to breed. Only then will they seek to carve out their own territory and defend it fiercely.