If you’ve been watching the three eaglets and their parents at the Norfolk, Virginia EagleCam, you’ll see that the chicks are at that awkward teenager stage, still a bit downy but starting to look like eagles. And their feet are huge! Here’s a screenshot I took a few minutes ago:
It’s time to band them, and, as alert reader Diane G reminds me, the whole megillah will take place at 9 a.m. tomorrow Eastern Standard Time (US). The EagleCam “blog” reports:
At five weeks of age the three nestlings have really grown and are now large enough to have identification bracelets placed on their lower legs called the tarsus. Eagles take size 9 rivet bands issued by the US Geological Survey Bird Banding Lab. The band will have an individual 9 digit number (0679-XXXXX). A second band colored purple will be placed on the other leg and will identify the eagle as having been banded in the Chesapeake Bay region and will have a 2-letter alpha ID. For information about the U.S. bird banding program go to this web site www.pwrc.usgs.gov/bbl. For information about eagle banding in Virginia by The Center for Conservation Biology see www.ccb-wm.org/virginiaeagles. The bands pictured above are those placed on the three NBG eaglets in 2010.
The banding of the three Norfolk Botanical Garden bald eagle chicks is planned to take place on April 21, 2011 beginning about 9:00am. The actual banding should take place about 9:30. Nuckols Tree Care will volunteer their tree climbing services to lower the eaglets safely to the ground where biologists from CCB will examine, weigh and measure them and fit them with bands. The Virginia Dept of Game and Inland Fisheries will provide a photographer and videographer and Stephen Living, Watchable Wildlife Biologist, will be present to assist. WVEC will broadcast the banding event over the live eagle cam at www.wvec.com/eaglecam.
Presumably we’ll be able to see both the temporary purloining of the chicks from the nest and their banding on the ground. I’ll put up a real-time post if I see it begin.
Here are the bands: