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Author observes bald eagle nesting seasons in Kirkland’s Heritage Park
A new book is in the works about how bald eagles develop, learn to fly, and start families of their own, and the eagles of Kirkland’s Heritage Park are prominently featured.
“Year of the Eagle,” by local nature photographer Kevin Ebi, is the result of nearly 1,000 hours of observation at the Kirkland nest, in addition to numerous trips to rivers in Washington and British Columbia to study the development of older eagles. Ebi observed and documented three full nesting seasons in Heritage Park.
Among his surprising findings is that young eagles will sometimes play games to help each other learn to fly. In 2011, there was a sizable gap in the capabilities of the two juveniles and the book documents in words and pictures how the stronger eagle seemed to invent games to help its weaker sibling.
“Even though it was capable of flying across the park, it would fly to the very next tree and scream at its sibling,” Ebi said. “Eventually, the weaker eagle flew to join its sibling. They shared a branch, briefly touched wings and the stronger juvenile flew to the next tree and repeated the process.
“As the weaker eagle grew stronger, the older eagle stepped up the games. It would break sticks off trees, get its sibling to chase it, then drop the stick in midair. It seemed like it was hoping the younger one would try to catch it.”
The project also documents how the eagle parents significantly curtail the amount of food they deliver when they believe it’s time for the young to leave the nest.
For more information, visit YearOfTheEagle.com.