As promised, I’m posting Sunday’s video of the bald eagle from EagleCam (in Norfolk, Virginia) laying her second egg. The production of this egg was much more difficult than the first, and I’ve received expressions of sympathy from women who have borne children.
Note the female’s inspection of the egg immediately after it was laid. “Did I do that?” If all goes well, we should have bobbleheads in about a month.
And, from an alert reader, here’s a visual guide—with text (slightly edited by me) from two EagleCam monitors—about how to tell the male from the female:
It is easier to see differences when they are both side by side: however, the female is larger than male, including larger feet, bigger beak (upper mandible is deeper & mouth goes back farther under eye). On this particular pair: male has a sleeker look (flatter head when feathers aren’t ruffled), the female’s head appears rounder. When looking close, it almost looks like male has eyeliner on his eyes. I’m sure you see other differences that will help you decide who is who. The male this year has a small black feather on his head. From the back view I have noticed the male seems to cross his flight feathers more and the female’s are more to her sides. When on the nest, the female seems more relaxed and her wings tend to spread away from her body. The male is more alert and is picking at the nest more. His body seems to be more compact.
It’s easier to see the differences when they are together on the nest. The female is larger. She has larger rear claw (hallux talon), bigger beak (the upper mandible is deeper and her mouth extends farther under the eye). Dad looks a bit darker than mom. Mom’s head has a more rounded look where dad’s is flatter looking. The male, this year, has a dark feather on the top of his head and also his tail is more square looking while the female has a rounder look. The male’s beak is slightly darker than the female’s.
Here they are together, with the larger female on the right:
And this shows the position of the eye relative to the beak, a diagnostic trait (at least for this pair). Note the “eyeliner” on the male.
h/t: Diane G