Baby Eagles hatched at Banner Lake
Banner Creek Reservoir’s (Holton, KS) eagle population has increased by two. Tom Breeden captured this photo of the eaglets presumed to be at least two weeks old at the time of the photograph. From the photo you can tell they are currently covered in their soft grey down. An amazing transformation will occur over the coming weeks and months and the visibility of the nest offers you a front row seat.
Today, at their presumed age of four weeks they are approximately one foot tall, but their beaks and feet are nearing adult size. This makes them quite awkward. They rely on their mother to do all of their hunting and feeding. She can be observed shredding food in to bites for her young. Their diet consists of fish and small animals or portions of larger animal carcasses.
In just a few weeks the eaglets will be strong enough to stand and shred the food she brings to the nest on their own. They will also begin to grow their secondary layer of down. By the end of April they will be approximately six weeks old and nearing the size of their parents, almost three feet tall, and will begin to get darker juvenile feathers. You will still notice considerable difference between parents and their offspring; coloring of the beak and eyes, absence of the white head and tail feathers, and grace. Their complete transformation will take many years; up to four or five until they reach maturity.
Feathers are significant for flight! A mature eagle has more than 7,000 feathers! First flight can be an exciting, yet terrifying time. They can be observed testing their wings many times. They will not become fully fledged until at least late May, at approximately ten to thirteen weeks. They will gradually increase their flight distance and parents will continue caring for them until they have learned to hunt and feed entirely on their own.
We welcome visitors to observe these majestic birds, but do ask that visitors be respectful to the park and nature. Mature eagles only real predators are humans. For these reasons they can be territorial and aggressive towards perceived threats. This pair has been here for five years or more and we expect them to continue to call this home for many years. Eagles keep the same nest. Year after year they expand and repair the nest.
Chamber of Commerce,
Jackson County Tourism Council
105 W. 4th Street
Holton, KS 66436
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