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2012 Nesting Season


Sergeant and Griffith Re-released (9-29-12)

A successful re-release for both Sergeant and Griffith from the AEF Hack Tower on Douglas Lake was streamed live today via our UStream Channel. Sergeant (now 3 years old with a beautiful white head and tail) flew away as soon as the bars were raised, but Griffith lingered for an hour or so before she, too, winged her way into the wild. Our love and prayers go with these eagles - we hope they will have safe journeys, lots of food, and one day, eaglets of their own!


(Sergeant's flight)

(Griffith's flight)

Update on our Fledglings - (8-24-12):

Ranger has left the cove, Braveheart has not as of yesterday. Griffith's foot is healing fine. We have taken the bandage off. Will put her in flight enclosure for a few days when she's ready before going back to hack tower. Sergeant (released originally in 2009 from the AEF hack tower, injured, rereleased, rescued again!) is doing fine and was placed in flight enclosure yesterday.


Video Synopsis of Our Nesting Season
Produced & edited by UStream Chatter Crystal Slusher


Eaglet Release Update (8-16-12):

BraveHeart finally flew off yesterday (8-15-12) at 6 p.m. after we had already packed up all our camera equipment for the day. She flew very well and high and landed in a small tree on the same shoreline of the lake cove where Ranger has been perched for the past couple days. Rob and Christine are out at the lake this morning (8-16-12) dropping fresh trout along the shore and on the roof of the hack tower to make sure both birds have access to some food while they are discovering their new world around Douglas Lake. They do this in a manner whereby the eaglets do not see them doing it.

When the big 12 lb female (Griffith) flew for the first time yesterday (8-15-12), she landed in the woods on the ground. Then, she took off and flew across the lake, but did not quite make it to the other side and landed in the lake. She swam to a nearby shore. Rob and Christine took the boat to that side of lake to get her out of the water and place her back into the hack tower for another chance to fly again. After she dried off and preened all her feathers while perching on the nesting tower, she stayed on the tower for the rest of the day. After her placement back into the hack tower, we were observing that she only lifted her left foot to rest, rather than taking turns with each leg like the other eaglets did when they were on the tower (prior to their flights). Raptors will usually switch off resting legs when they are perched for long periods of time. They do this mostly when they are relaxing (and even sleeping at night).

At the end of the day, we decided to close the nesting cage door like we did the night before (to give added protection to the bird during the night from potential raccoon encounters, etc.). Before, we left the tower site for the day, we decided to catch up the eaglet and give her a quick physical, since she had flown that day and landed in the lake. We also felt after observing her closely for a couple hours that she might possibly be favoring her left foot more that the right one. In checking, we discovered a significant abrasion on the bottom pad of her right foot, a sensitive area of the foot for raptors. She may possibly have hit her foot hard on some object while landing on the ground in the woods (rock or sharp stick) or even could have grabbed onto a tree limb briefly on her way down to the ground. We really don't know because she landed in the woods. We decided last night to take the eaglet back to the AEF facility for a check up by our vet tech and veterinarian - and to treat the abrasion. We did not want the foot to become infected and cause a serious problem for the bird once it was in the wild. Once this abrasion has healed, we will likely place the eaglet back into the hack tower for release. We will be extra cautious about the way we continue to feed the eaglet during this process, so it does not know humans are providing the food. I do not know at this time how many days we are talking about until we have been able to fully assess the situation.


Photo Recap of 2012 Season

Eagles Graduate to Hack Tower

Eaglets at 5 1/2 weeks oldJune 16, 2012 - These 3 eaglets are curious and endearing. Our window to the world of the nest of Independence and Franklin has been made possible with the help of 4 cameras strategically placed - 2 on opposite sides of the nest, a tilt-pan-zoom cam that has received such accolades from our viewers (Cam 1), and an overhead cam. In this photo, you can easily spot one of the cameras hidden in the side of the nest.

Eaglets at 5 1/2 weeks oldJune 16, 2012 - Our babies have grown into juveniles! We have 3 very large, healthy eaglets who await their next stage of life as they will soon graduate to the Hack Tower on Douglas Lake. We will miss them terribly but rejoice in their future. May it be bright, hopeful, and safe. God bless these creatures as they continue to grow into the majestic Bald Eagles that symbolize our great country.

Notes from the Nest

September 2012: 4th Edition of Notes From The Nest

June 3, 2012: 3rd Edition of Notes From The Nest

May 23, 2012: 2nd Edition of Notes From The Nest

May 14, 2012: Announcing a Weekly e-Newsletter "Notes From The Nest"

3 eaglets born May 7 and 8, 2012On May 8, 2012, at 4:57 a.m., E-3 hatched out, joining E-1 and E-2 in the nest. Independence and Franklin are experienced, competent parents, and are taking very good care of their babies. The babies have been fed fresh fish this morning, and by watching the feeding experience live, it is obvious they are enjoying it! In this image, the "egg tooth" on each eaglet is clearly visible. This is what the eaglet uses when breaking out of the shell, and it will disappear shortly after birth.

HatchMay 7, 2012 - We are so excited to announce that 2 eggs hatched out in the early morning hours. 1st hatch was at 12:06a.m. EDT May 7; 2nd hatch was at 1:40 a.m. EDT May 7. Congratulations to our parent eagles who are diligently caring for their two youngsters. We are still waiting for the 3rd egg to hatch. Click here to see video of one of the first feeding tries.

March 31, 2012 - Independence laid her 3rd egg this afternoon at approximately 3:30 p.m. Franklin has been seen bringing fresh nesting materials to her several times, such as soft leaves and branches with greenery. Both are being very attentive to their eggs, and they have settled down for serious brooding. We will start looking for babies to emerge 35 days from when each egg was laid. Exciting times! Watch video from today (March 31, 2012).


Second egg!March 27, 2012 -  At approximately 7:15 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Independence laid her second egg. Many chatters on the UStream channel saw the second egg appear seconds after it was laid.  Both parents are brooding the 2 eggs much more consistently now.

Indy's first egg in 2012March 24, 2012 - Independence laid her first egg at around 6:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. We are so excited and look forward to happy days of eagle watching! If other eggs are laid, they will probably come in 3 - 4-day intervals. She laid 3 eggs last year.

Indy and Franklin - March 17, 2012March 17, 2012 - Lots of nesting activity. Indy and Franklin are either staying close to the nest, or actually in the nest. They continue to rearrange sticks, add nesting material, engage in mating — all in preparation for eggs which we hope will come soon.

In this image, Indy and Frank share stick-lifting responsibilities --- or maybe it's a disagreement about where such a choice stick should be placed!!

March 2, 2012 — Watch video of Franklin and Indy in nest.  Indy, the female, has a white spot on her left elbow, and a rather droopy left wing.  She's also the larger of the two.


March 14, 2012 We have both eagles in the nest and our sound is working perfectly!!! Just an amazing sight, and how wonderful to hear the eagles & other sounds of nature.

Indy and Franklin - Feb. 28, 2012February 28, 2012 — Indy and Franklin have been observed mating several times, and have been seen arranging sticks more to their liking in their refurbished nest. Our faithful chat group has been patient as we work out the kinks in our broadcasting. A new computer, capture card, cameras, & sound - plus running a new Comcast cable that has yet to be hooked up - all add to the excitement of what's to come, and what we are sure to be seeing down the road.  Our moderators are just amazing!  They keep us posted on all nest activities. We've added "Blue" to the mix this year - and he is especially knowledgable, as he works right with the computer equipment, and can share info with us when he comes online.

We have TWO NEW CHAT SHIRTS that have been designed - and they should arrive at our online store any day. I'm sure they will fly off the shelves.


Halo, January 2012Image left: Halo is seen doing well - Jan. 2012 near the shore of Lake Erie in NY.

After its release on August 15, 2011, Halo was twice observed in good condition on Lake Erie - near Cleveland, OH on September 2 and on October 16 near Erie, PA. Halo was again observed near Angola, NY on 12/28/11, 1/9/12, and on 1/11/12. Latest observations indicate that Halo is in good condition and doing well. An interesting fact is that during 18 days from fledging, Halo traveled at least 404 straight-line miles, averaging 22.4 miles per day.

The eaglet Atlantis was released on August 14, and was seen doing well on Lake Huron near Oscoda, MI on September 7. A tentative sighting was also observed in late January 2012 in the same general area.

August 27, 2012: Having had no sightings of Endeavor for an entire year, we are so pleased to report that Endeavor (wing tag H1) was sighted twice in August 2012 on Pymatuning Lake in Northwest Pennsylvania. To add to the good news, Endeavor was seen with another immature eagle with wing tag C2 that was transferred to AEF and released from its hack site on June 20, 2012. It's very rewarding to know that these 2 eagles are doing well.


What is the American Eagle Foundation (AEF)?
Established in 1985, the non-profit AEF is dedicated to protect the majestic Bald Eagle, the USA's National Symbol, and its habitat by supporting and conducting eagle and environmental recovery and education programs.

In 2010, the organization celebrated its 25th Anniversary.

In addition to its WWW.EAGLES.ORG website, the AEF also has a Facebook page, a Google+ page, MySpace page, Eagle Blog, free e-Newsletter, and YouTube "Bald Eagle Info" Channel. All these features can be accessed from its website homepage.

How often are the eaglets fed?
The eaglets get fed by their parents numerous times per day (and sometimes during night). The parents usually feed the babies beginning at around 6:30 a.m. or 7 a.m. (EST). As the babies grow bigger, they will require more food.

The food is placed inside the aviary at the bottom of the hill from the nest twice a day (morning and evening) by AEF staff. The amount of food provided daily is more than enough for the babies to be fed numerous times. In fact, there are usually leftovers at the end of the day.

The food in the nest is sometimes lying off-camera or blends in with the straw. The birds are cared for by professional AEF caregivers and by experienced eagle parents. In past years, the parent birds have successfully raised two sets of triplets.

Make a charitable donation to help our conservation work.
The American Eagle Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit public charity, so donations are fully "tax-deductible".

The programs of the AEF are sustained by donations from individuals and corporations. The AEF receives no governmental funding.

There is a DONATION BUTTON on the home page of the AEF's website. You may also click the donate button at the top of this page and choose how you would like to help. In addition, you may "adopt" Franklin and Indy by clicking the "Adopt" button at the top. Soon, we will have a CHAT T-SHIRT for sale, designed by one of our Chat Group featuring last year's eaglets, and sure to please. When it becomes available, the t-shirt button at the top of the page will go "Live."

Donors can support the AEF in a variety of ways, including Adopting Eagles and purchasing beautiful Eagle-Themed Gifts

Sanctuary Mountain
This is the largest aviary presentation of non-releasable Bald Eagles in the world.

Sanctuary Mountain
The nest of "Independence" and "Franklin" can be found about 35 feet up a steep hillside inside the Eagle Mountain Sanctuary aviary at Dollywood. The nest is a human-made structure, but the parents add sticks and other materials before and after laying and hatching their eggs.

Sanctuary Mountain
A vast habitat offers a natural setting for these non-releasable eagles. Many have limited flight and enjoy flying up in the trees.

release tower
An artificial nesting/release tower overlooking a private area on Douglas Lake (East Tennessee) is home for the eaglets after they are removed from their parents' nest at 5 to 6 weeks of age. While there, they do not come into direct contact with people, but are closely monitored and cared for daily by AEF staff members until they have grown to full-size at 13 or 14 weeks of age and are released into the wild. While living in the nesting tower, the eaglets are viewed through one-way mirrored glass windows and fed/watered via sliding drawers, so they do not become "human-imprinted." Prior to their release, the eaglets are fitted with a radio tracking transmitter on their middle tail feather, a colored/numbered marker on their left wing, and a U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service metal band on their right leg/ankle.

None of the advertising or commercials appearing on this UStream channel are controlled by the American Eagle Foundation, nor are any of the products and services that are promoted here endorsed by the Foundation.
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If you would like more detailed answers to questions you may have, please check our Eagle Blog or email Bob Hatcher, our Eagle Expert, at

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Weather at Eagle Mountain Sanctuary


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