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 Forum Index > Eagle Nests Across North America - and the World > Eagles - General Information, Q & A's and in the News
 Eagles - Questions and Answers
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By: Anonymous: a1ladya () on Friday, April 12 2013 @ 02:32 PM EDT  
Anonymous: a1ladya

Thanks JudyB. Really, really appreicate all the work everyone has been putting in to get us an answer. They have not been to the nest at all today so I am thinking that this maybe it for the incubation period for the two of them. I do, however, believe that we will be seeing them for awhile until the weather gets a little more warmer. I really do enjoy this forum. Lots of helpful people here. Hope you have a great weekend and happy eagle watching.

P.S. Here come all the eaglets. Whistling

Thank You wave

By: SLWeber (offline) on Wednesday, March 04 2015 @ 08:53 AM EST  

I'm not sure this is the right place to post this; I didn't see any forum topics on it, so here goes:

Do you think bald eagles, or any birds and animals for that matter, have emotions? Recently, I posted a comment in a chat room regarding the tendency of people to anthropomorphize the eagles. Specifically, I was attempting to correct the idea that last year's juveniles would be welcomed back into the nest with open arms/wings. Another chatter gave me a link to an article ( ... otions.htm) that argues that domestic birds have emotions, and she asked me to write her an email with my response. The post I sent her his morning ended up being a multi-page document complete with references and examples, and still I could not present her with a clear-cut answer.

I am a retired behavioral psychologist with only a couple years observing and documenting nature cams. What do you, who have more knowledge of bald eagles than I, think about eagles and emotion?


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By: MaryF (offline) on Wednesday, March 04 2015 @ 01:54 PM EST  

Welcome to Hancock Wildlife SLWeber!

I'm certainly not an expert by any means but as an 11 year observer of bald eagles I would have to say that I do think these magnificent birds do have emotions. They may be different and more fleeting that yours or mine but how can any living thing really be devoid of emotions? On one cam where I am a live chat moderator we lost a six week old eaglet last season. It's sibling stayed cuddled up to it as it was dying as if it knew and was comforting. After it passed the Mom and Dad both spent individual time sitting close to the body , touching it once in a while. After this period of mourning life went on for them. Another time I saw a pair of rather elderly eagles have a failed clutch of eggs. When Mom realized the last egg was lost she cried out with sounds I had never heard before or since. I can only term them as crying--loudly--like a lament. The sound raised the hair right up on the back of my neck. Two years ago the female on a nest lost one of her feet and damaged the other in a trap and her mate cared for her very "lovingly" for a whole year until SHE left the nest. The male left shortly after. Did he follow her--are they together? We will never know So--do I think they have emotions? Yes--I have seen too many things too often to think otherwise. They are maybe slightly different than ours are-- but there.

The article that you linked to does have some very good examples as well.

The longer I watch these beautiful birds, the harder it is not to anthropomorphize them. love

This is just my opinion--others would probably disagree with me! Grin Thanks for asking. That is an often asked question on my live chat and here on the forum sometimes.


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By: SLWeber (offline) on Friday, March 06 2015 @ 10:32 PM EST  

Thanks for your reply, MaryF, and for your warm welcome!

When I replied to my chat-room-friend who asked for my opinion, I concluded that eagles and other animals have emotions, but that they are not as complex as ours. The greatest challenge I believe is the ability to feel empathy; to understand that someone else, even a stranger, has feelings as well. You'll never see a bald eagle say, "This raccoon is probably really hungry. I will let him take this non-viable egg so that he feels better." Intellectually, I know that emotions are defined as a set of physiological and behavioral reactions to a stimuli. Emotionally, of course, I feel they are so much more. Animals don't have the capability to define what they are feeling and often lack the non-verbal communication skills to express themselves to a member of a different species.

However, I am at a loss as to how to react when I see fellow chatters not only believe that eagles have complex emotions, but also act upon them in radical ways. The other day someone asked what would happen if an egg was not viable. Someone else replied that they would "have a burial" for it. I thought perhaps I was reading their statement incorrectly; I believe they would eat it and the remainder would become buried in the nest. But then someone else (let's just say, a person in a position of authority) said that she had seen it in another nest. The parents and the surviving eaglet stood around the egg and each touched it in turn, then they gently covered it in the nest. By the way, this conversation did not take place in a Hancock nest-cam.

I have seen similar statements, but this was just the most outrageous. What do you do in a situation like that? Do you speak up so that people who are trying to learn get accurate information but undermine the person in authority? Or do you bite your tongue and allow completely wrong information breed?


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By: MaryF (offline) on Monday, March 09 2015 @ 04:36 PM EDT  

As an observer here on HWF for many nests I see all sorts of crazy things posted mostly by new eagle watchers who basically have no idea what they are looking at and frankly some make up nice little stories. I'm also a live chat moderator for a Florida cam and you can only imagine what I see there! I admit I had to chuckle out loud at your example of the egg ceremony! It was similar to what I observed with the dead eaglet which I did see with my own eyes---but then they ate her! Eagles are opportunistic and realistic and they move on quickly. What I usually do on HWF, or a FB page or on my live chat is to gently tell the facts--as I know them. Some who have very romantic ideas about the eagles are not real receptive to the truth but the majority would rather know what really is going on and have accurate information. In other words I always let people know what is really happening and or the truth as I know it about anything eagle.


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By: SueD (offline) on Saturday, March 14 2015 @ 10:10 PM EDT  

BBC World News

The eagle has landed! And what a journey it was. Watch as Darshan soars above Dubai, capturing stunning views of the world beneath his wings.

This Imperial Eagle has broken a world record by flying from the top of the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa

It was set up by conservation group Freedom Conservation, in order to raise awareness of the plight of the endangered bird of prey.

Eagle-cam footage courtesy of Freedom Conservation.

aka byline ~ 2012


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By: kb (offline) on Monday, March 28 2016 @ 03:28 PM EDT  

How old/big do the eaglets get before they can be seen from the ground?



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By: karenbills (offline) on Monday, March 28 2016 @ 05:38 PM EDT  

Hi Karen from one KarenB to another!!

The answer is it all depends on where you are in relation to the nest and how well you can see the adults in the nest. When eaglets fledge (fly from the tree) at the age of around 12 weeks, they are LARGER than their parents, larger than they will ever be in their lifetime!! That's because their initial feathers are longer and wider to help them in learning to fly. As they molt from year to year the new feathers coming in get smaller until they are adults at 5 years of age and get their white heads and tails.

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