We do not yet have all our questions answered about the death of the adult female bald eagle at Norfolk Botanical Garden on Jan 6, 2012. However, as of yesterday Jan 20, 2012, we do have the answer to one question. Is the current female that the male is with the same female that he had been with since Sept 2011? The answer – NO! The current female is yet another fifth year bald eagle in her first breeding season. Look at her tail feathers that have brown/black in them unlike the prior female. She is also molting head feathers with a distinct bare spot in the top of her head, and her bill is still turning yellow with grey. She also has many more older, more worn, lighter brown body contour feathers. Eagle cam photos Jan 21, 2012.
so she is Shelly’s Dirty Tail 🙂
Thank you for the photos and details
Thank you Reese for this information and for the beautiful photos! She indeed looks different from the Fall Female! I think it will be a little harder for us non-professionals to tell them apart when they are not pictured together!! Maybe. HA! Thanks again for sharing everything with us that you can… hoping for eaglets in a few weeks/months at NBG!
Lets hope that M3 (Mom #3) can stay away from the electric lines. Great captures Reese. She sure moved in quickly.
This female does not have the bright orange colored beak and feet like our first “replacement” female Eagle had – this one is just not that pretty. As long as she is able to lay eggs and raise chicks I will be happy, but with each Eagle death I still cry – especially for our beloved Lady Legacy.
Thank you for sharing Reese,always appreciate all information.The female is beautiful and she is most welcome and loved.Anytime we have a lost of a eagle its tragic,but I have come to realize nature has a way of taking care of things and replacing with another .Have a wonderful week end and thank you again for all you do
So what has happened to the resident female? Has it been decided that she is now one of the dead eagles found?
Response – That remains an open question that we may never get an answer to.
Thank you so much for the update and these photos. She most definitely has a different look about her but gorgeous just the same.
Being there at NBG last night, she does seem to be more tolerant of the area. She did not seem “spooked” over the least little thing – including 3 photographers – who kept their distance but she could see us.
Oh I’m so happy to see a female nesting there!! I love the eagles! I have a pair 7 miles from me that have two chicks. I watch and photo them regularly. Nothing better! good luck to these wonderful eagles, stay away from those air planes!!
Reese, Thank you so much for the info on dad’s prior mate, what may have happened to her, and for the great photos of Mom #3. I am so thankful Dad has found another mate and we may again have the privilege, thanks to your and NBG’s efforts, to see them raise their family. Can’t wait to watch them on the eagle cam!
beauty is in the eyes of dad. I can’T wait for the
“lovin”to begin. Dad sure likes the young ones. Good thing one of them has experience!
Thank you so much Reese for all that you do. We all really appreciate it.
BTW – The camera detail is phenomenal and she is beautiful!
Guess we should start referring to Dad eagle as “Hugh”….
Thanks for your time, interest and sharing both with us through your posts. Such excitement!
Awesome photos Reese and thanks for the information. Lets hope this is dad’s last girlfriend and they can move forward starting their family. can’t wait for the cams to go live, especially the audio part.
Is this the same female he mated with last week? I guess I am confused.
Response – This is a NEW female, not the same female that was observed mating on the early morning of Jan 9.
How was you able to get a picture of the female on the nest at such a close range?
Response – The camera is mounted in the nest tree and has a zoom lens.
Thank you so much, Reese, for this summation. Admittedly, I’d become attached to the young female from the fall – relieved that the male had found a mate, struck by her beauty, happy at their bonding. It’s sad that she is no longer in the picture. However, as this female comes to the nest, the prospect of another breeding season for the NBG eagle family is enough for now.
Do we know if this is the female that has been seen mating with the male the last couple of weeks? He sure didn’t have any trouble finding another mate if indeed the dead eagle was replacement #1.
Response – To my knowledge this female has not been observed mating.
Good pics Mr. Lukei. I can see the differences in the two birds. Thankyou for all you do.
This is GREAT! Beining a born/raised Suffolkian I am eager to follow along this season. Our Texas eagles (Llano River, Llano County) begin in October and fledge early/mid March. Bless all of you for what you do to inform and educate us on this magnificent National icon!
Copperas Cove, Texas
As a follow up to Lisa’s question, if they haven’t mated yet, would she have taken up residence in the nest?
Response – Yes, copulation is only part of the courtship relationship.
The plot thickens…If they have not yet mated, who was dad mating on the 9th?
Response – It was not the female with the dark tail in the nest yesterday and today.
I really do hope the camera will be turned on soon.. there are so much that are going on at the nest with dad fining a new female and the young juvi hanging about…hope we are all allowed to observe all the activities soon..
It almost seems as though this is #3 since September although that eagle was described as having light brown spots on head and tail–however feet and beek very orange.
On Jan 6 one eagle was found dead at NBG.
On Jan 9 Dad seen mating with female.
Now another female seen in nest–wow he has a harem going!
Response – To the best of our knowledge this is the 2nd or 3rd but not the 4th.
Am I reading the posts correctly? He may be on his 4th since Mom!
She will grow into her beauty, no doubt. They say 3rd time’s a charm, right?
To: Cazenovia Amy:She is a beautiful young female. Just because she has some black and brown in her white feathers and is molting doesn’t detract from her beauty. It just means she is young. Molting is a normal part of life for all birds before you know it she will have the pretty white feathers you are used to. She is going to be a stunner. Just wait and see. The male knows how to pick ’em! With this female being different from even the one on the 9th shows that he is “sowing his wild oats..” There is lots more to this story that we don’t see.. This will make for a very intriguing year..and I hope a successful one for this pair. Thank you Reese for all your tireless work on behalf of all raptors and for all you teach us!
I agree JoSea… also, with more eyes observing, more questions can be answered!
So sorry to hear that it’s not the original female and that she died. This one is definitely not as beautiful but as long as Dad Norfolk is happy…….and they can mate and have babies together….
Response – We do not know if the previous female died. It may have been another female the same age.
In my humble opinion, she is beautiful. Thanks so much Reese for the update. I look forwarding to see what this saga brings us.
Beautiful *dirty tail*!!
Does the inclusion of so much brown in the head and tail denote that she is somewhat younger than the previous female? Thanks, for the post, Reese!
Response – Same age. They molt at different paces so they don’t all look alike.
She is very beautiful. Good energies sent out for a successful nesting season.
Reese do you have an idea of when this new female came into play and could she have been on the nest longer then the last few days? I was wondering of the replacement female came long before the Female found in the garden happened. Thanks for your time Can’t wait to see Bobble heads again!
Response – We don’t know for certain, but this female has only been seen during the past 3 days or so.
So I’m even afraid to ask this…. if eagles mate for life, would the male KNOW then that the female he mated with earlier in January is dead?
Response – I don’t know if the male knows. We do not know yet if it was the male’s mate or another eagle the same age.
So much of nature resembles a soap opera or novella! Well, this female seems to have made herself comfortable in the nest in quick order. I only have one question. Is this the female that was on the tree branch with the male yesterday and was photographed by Dana? Thank you for trying to get us to follow all of the twists and turns of the male’s adventures.
Response – Yes
So, she is a younger one. Gosh, Dad is quite a little stud-muffin isn’t he? Or maybe this little girl has decided to give the other female a run for it. She is a beauty.
Thanks Reese for sharing with us.
Am I correct that the Fall female was the female that the male was mating with on Jan. 9 and that she was last seen at the nest on Jan. 16? Thus, the big beautiful female from the Fall could not have been the female found dead as she was seen after that bird was found? Maybe she is still around.
Response – One more time – We do NOT KNOW if the dead female was the mate of the male or another female the same age.
Thank you Reese for the update. Beautiful pictures and looking forward to another Eagle year!
Thank you Reese. So from reading the posts, dad has not mated with the current female yet?
Response – If they have mated, no one has reported seeing it happen.
thanks Reese for all you do to help us understand this as much as I’m sure you are at a loss also trying to figure out what happen the F#1 and maybe even F#2 but Dad has a way of picking the young ones and with his experience I’m sure he will teach whom ever he ends up with the rope and will mold her into a GREAT mom!
Might be a dumb question, but – if the male has already mated with the other female and has this new one, what will happen to other female if she is going to lay eggs?. Will she try and lay them in this nest? And if the male has a new lady, will he chase her away?.
Response – see answer to Jane above
Maybe instead of trying on the glass slipper, the male is having them try the nest to see which one it fits. Goodness, we sure are learning a lot this year. Thank you Reese for the pictures and the information.
Dirty Tail she is……now let’s hope we see some eggs in the nest. You captured her Shelly…
Hi Reese, Hope this isn’t a dumb question: Do eagles sometimes mate and then separate, so that the female would lay her eggs without being with the eagle she mated with?
Response = I have never heard of that happening but suppose it is possible. Don’t know where she would lay her egg without a nest.
Am I glad I checked my favorites…what is going on? This is truly a real-life soap opera with so many twists and turns. I am saddened to read of the electrical line problem and that Lady #2 is gone (or so you think); however, Lady #3 is very cute and will blossom in time and I hope she can withstand the pressure, maybe she doesn’t quite know how very important she is to all of us peeping toms, out here. Thank you for your delicate reporting Reese… 🙂
Thank you for the wonderful pictures! The suspense is building as egg laying time approaches. Just hoping they all stay safe so we have a succesful breeding season to enjoy on the web cam.
Reese you do such a wonderful job to bring us Nature at it’s findness. I think all Eagles are beautiful and have come to love them all very much. Everyday I’m hoping to find the camera’s live and just can’t wait. Keep bringing us all the beautiful pictures and updates. The pictures so far are exciting and beautiful to view. I come several times a day hoping for live camera’s. And one of these days I know I will be surprised and see “live” pictures of Dad and his new mate. At my age, I never thought I would fall in love again with something, like I have fallen in love with Eagles. Thank you again for all your hard work and bringing us these beautiful Eagles as often as you do. I definitely appreciate the updates and they stop a lot of the very sad rumors.
Reese, Thanks for all you do and the updates. Hopefully, this dirty tailed female will be the “new one” and we see little ones soon. So very exciting!! God Bless you!
Reese, thanks for the info and pics. She is going to be a beautiful eagle! I hope she stays around and her and dad make beautiful little eaglets!!!
Thanks for always sharing your knowledge and information with us Reese. It is well appreciated!
Wow what an insight into nature, would not be possible without great people like you Reese and of course the cam operators. Two thoughts, first year maturity might indicate fewer eggs 1-2 this year. Second, if #3 replaced #2 and #2 was not the one found dead, this might indicate this lady is a healthier or better species that could chase off #2, thus a better choice for Dad with a greater chance of success? Either way, silly how we all worried if Dad would find a new mate. He showed us, he has everthing under control. 😉
When the Decorah IA male took a new mate, several years ago, she was a 5th year with brown feathers on her head. If I remember correctly she laid 2 eggs that both hatched. As she molted she became a most regal female.
Thank you Reese for the update. I have been checking for days for any kind of information from YOU about how the dad eagle saga has been going. You had not posted anything in over a week and I, like all of us have been wondering. That was a good question about the eagle that he mated with and what would happen to her if she is scared off the nest by another female. Didnt something similar to this happen a few years ago? With Buddy’s mom? Any way, this one looks comfy and looks to be a keeper. We will see.
Thanks so much for the information, Reese.
I sure don’t want to think that Dad Norfolk lost another gal. If this one is ‘it’, this time around, I am glad to hear she seems more calm at the garden. Hope Dad finds someone to partner with — for him.
Interesting reading here. She is still a beautiful in spite of what some may say. Thanks so much for all the information you provide.
Hi Reese, Thanks so much for keeping us informed. Has Dad eagle actually been seen with this new female? Could she just happen to be resting in this nest while traveling since she’s not from the area? Thanks. I think she’s beautiful also.
Reese…man of incredible patience…I applaud you. We are in for a great ride, it appears. Much appreciation for untangling the drama and our many questions. I can’t wait to see how this story unfolds and, as always, look forward to all I can learn from you and these beautiful creatures!
To Jim Baines…I have been to the Llano nest and “met” our magnificent Texas bald eagles on more than one occasion! Thank you for the link to your photos.
To Karen, Patte, MVK…thank yo for your wit and charm!
Wow, so who’s on first ??!! Or should I say, who’s on the nest? Whoever she is, she looks right at home and that’s good. It will be even better if she and Dad are successful in producing little ones. Here’s hoping for a successful breeding season. Thanks Reese for the current update. keep us posted please as events unfold.
I can see you’re going to have a lot of fun with these new HD cameras this season. The detail is amazing.
Are you absolutely positive that the male throughout this entire saga is the same bird?
Response – Yes – the same male based on photo ID
There’s something about this particular female that looks more settled than the other one/ones. She seems to look very comfortable in the nest. I like her look – brown tail feathers and all. I hope this one is a keeper, but I just want our Dad to have a new mate and raise some new babies!
She is certainly distinctive looking. As she continues to mature, will those dark feathers change? I am so excited for the nesting season to well in full swing.
Response – The female will molt her tail feathers in next couple months and grow in all white feathers.
Just wondering, what if the female eagle that Dad has mated with on January 9 produced eggs? What would the pregnan female eagle would do?
Response – We don’t know if the mating was successful. Sperm stays viable for about 7 days. We don’t know if they mated more than once. We don’t know where that female is now, so no way to know the answer to your question which several people have asked.
Wow, what a soap opera, wildlife style. Thank you Reese for your photos, explanations and patience.
i’m so confused! lol …. thank you reese for all the info and beautiful photos!
thank you Reese and everyone for your posts… it’s so much fun to read and learn, and sometimes laugh out loud! And Tina Nauman, your post helped me when you mentioned you thought the very young female from Decorah, IA layed 2 eggs that hatched in her first season!
Looking for a successful season for daddy eagle and can’t wait for the web cams to be turned on! 🙂
Geez, Reese, you must have the patience of Job! LOL
Guess what, Reese….I am not going to ask you any questions about which eagle is which, but I will tell you that most of the girls that my son brought home I didnt like, and always had to remind myself that it was not my choise but his. (even through he is my one and only)
When he finally found the “one” was the most important. They have been married for 12 years and have 2 sons, and she is a wonderful Mother. (and that is all that matters)….so, as long as Dad Norfolk is happy, is all that matters.
Thank you for the beautiful pictures, again, again, and again.
Thank you Reese for keeping us up-to-date and the great photos (you have a fall back career lol). Dad Norfolk is lucky he’s a very attractive male eagle since he can find new mates so quickly. He is obviously a preferred male. Sorry to hear about female 2 but number 3 looks wonderful.
Q. Can you tell is she a large female similar to Lady Legacy? Just curious as to his type.
Can hardly wait for the cams Reese – so excited.
Response – There is no way to make a direct comparison. Females are always larger than males, and that we can clearly see.
How is this determined to be a 5 year old female? by my books, the markings (dark tail feather ends, and bold head marks) indicate closer to a 3 1/2-4 year old? Please tell me what indicates this age. Also, are there any resources you can direct us to that will help the layman better estimate the age? Thanks.
Response – This female is referred to as transitional because she is in the final plumage stage of changing from subadult to adult. She is about 4 yrs 10 months old. Every bird is slightly different in plumage. Refer you to Raptors of Eastern North America by Brian K. Wheeler. It has the most detailed description of each age, morph and plumage.
A soap opera writer couldn’t have written a better story line! The only good thing about “dirty tail” is that the Mods won’t have to keep posting info about which one is the female. Also good that Dad found a new mate in time for the mating season.
I was wondering about the brood patch. Will we see it before she lays eggs? Does the female pull her feathers out around the brood patch and use the feathers in the egg cup? What about the male?
Response – The brood patch develops as a result of hormonal changes. The breast feathers that fall out in the nest will become part of the nest pocket insulation (unless they blow away). The male also gets a brood patch. We rarely get to see it. If really lucky when one of them is sitting on a branch facing the camera and spreads its wings wide and pokes its chest out, we may get to see the brood patch.