Bald Eagle Update

Both Bald Eagle photos by Paul Fusco

Bald Eagle activity has picked-up around Bantam Lake in the past 2 weeks. A minimum of 4 birds have been seen during this time period, including an adult male with a silver band on his right leg and a gold band on his left leg. He was seen at Pt. Folly and/or North Bay on the 17th, 19th, 26th, 28th, and today. In all cases his leg bands were seen, but the numbers on them couldn't be read, even with a 60X spotting scope. Since his behavior is territorial and he seems to be rather unconcerned about humans, he might be the same adult male that was on territory here all of last year and 2009. That bird also carried silver and gold leg bands and didn't seem to be afraid of people. Eagles with gold leg bands were banded as nestlings in Massachusetts, which now has a sizeable population of breeding pairs. Many of these are located in suburban areas, so the young eagles have grown up accustomed to people. That would be a necessity for any eagle attempting to nest on the shores of Bantam Lake, given the fact that it is such a popular recreation area. The adult male last year and the year before was paired with an adult female. They put small piles of sticks in at least 5 trees, and a bigger pile that came to look like a nest in a very large White Pine tree. This type of nesting behavior is common among Bald Eagles, and is referred to as house keeping. It typically occurs one or two years before the eagles really settle down to breed. A glitch in this process occured early last summer when a 5th-year subadult female eagle showed-up at Bantam Lake. During the first few days of her presence she made it known by being very vocal. Then we witnessed her perching next to the adult male and engaging in aerial duals with the adult female. These activities were observed periodically throughout the summer. All 3 of these birds departed by early November. Where they went is anybody's guess. With the adult male (assuming it is him) back as of the 17th, we were wondering when or if we would see either of the females. Yesterday, I observed an adult male which could have been him perched right next to a 5th-year subadult female in a tree at the Litchfield Town Beach. Neither of them seemed to be concerned about my presence, and they remained perched there for the entire 45 minutes that I was there. My observation on the 26th involved the adult male chasing 6 Mallards and 2 Wood Ducks from the Litchfield Town Beach Cove straight at me as I was standing on the boat ramp. The ducks veered to the right about 50' from me, but the eagle kept coming, and made his right turn when he was 20' over my head. I could see his leg bands clearly, but couldn't read the numbers on them because he was moving too fast. The ducks made a clean getaway, and the eagle circled a few times before heading east toward Old Camp Townsend. The 2 eagles that I observed at Pt. Folly on the 25th were immature females (2nd-year and 3rd-year). They haven't been seen there since that day. If anyone reading this post observes eagles at Bantam Lake or elsewhere on White Memorial property, please let me know by e-mailing me at

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How about telling the readers HOW to distinguish the various year young bald eagles. The anecdotal remarks are interesting but don't give the readers useful tools for ID in the field. :)