“She’s moving! What is she looking at?” The class calls out. 4Y has been observing an eagle mother keeping her nest safe while she waits for her eggs to hatch. The class has nicknamed her “Gloria” and she graces our Smart Board screen when we have a quiet time, such as lunch or “fix and finish.” Students took it upon themselves to learn a little about eagles and have enjoyed what they have learned from first hand recounts of other’s experiences throughout the school. (After doing some research of my own, it looks like we might have to name the father too, as he is also sitting on the nest sometimes. It is hard to tell the difference, but we’ll look for signs when we come back from break.)
An Eaglet to Eagle: A clutch (or a group of eggs) includes two or three white eggs each season. The eggs usually hatch about a month after they have been laid. If the eggs are too warm, the mother eagle will roll them around with her feet and beak. The plumage (or feathers) of the newly born eaglets are light grey, but then turn dark brown by the time they leave the nest (at about 12 weeks.) Adults are brown with white feathers on their heads, called a crown, and white feathers under their wings. When a bald eagle turns 4 or 5 years old, their beak and eyes turn yellow. An adult eagle’s wingspan is between 2 and 3 meters long.
Habitat: Eagles can be found in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and north western Ontario. Some small groups can be found in Newfoundland and they are threatened in New Brunswick and southern Ontario. We also know that they are found in all the states in the United States, except Hawaii (some students are on the lookout for them this spring break even if they are going to Hawaii however.) They live along lakes, rivers and sea coasts (so the beach would be a perfect place to look.)
Birds of Prey: Bald eagles are a part of a group of birds called “birds of prey.” They have really good eyesight, muscular legs, and sharp beaks. Most birds of prey hunt during the day, except for owls!
Love at First Sight: Bald eagles will pair for life! After finding a mate, the pair will build a giant nest by making a web of sticks in a tall tree or sometimes on a cliff. We have seen “Gloria” fix up her nest by moving the grass and straw around and weaving it back in around her.
Fun Facts: The bald eagle was named because of its patch of white feathers on the top of its head and it is the only eagle native to North America.
Experts think that Gloria’s first egg will hatch on March 25, 2012. She laid her first egg on the 17th of February. Here is a link in case you would like to check in on her while we’re on our break from class.
Research by a 4Y student