For the fourth time this 2012 breeding season at Norfolk Botanical Garden the male, whose mate since 2003 died in April 2011, has accepted a five year old, first time breeding, female by mating with her. This female, identified by dark feathers in the top of her head and a few dark spots in her tail feathers, was first seen at the NBG nest at 6:45 pm March 7 and violently driven off by both the male and his then mate, female #3. Subsequent to that event the female #3 has not been observed at the nest since early morning March 8. The new female #4 has tried to win the favor of the male several times, but as of last night March 9 had not been accepted. That all changed early this morning, March 11, 2012, before sunrise. At 6:53 EDT the male was lying in the nest with female #4 on the back branch where she had been all night. The male flew to the branch and unsuccessfully attempted to mount the female. The female then moved to the nest, where the male then appeared to have successfully mounted and mated with this, his 4th five year old female of the breeding season.
A video clip of the action this morning can be viewed at www.norfolkeagles.com– under DeeJays’s Daily Observations or this direct link:
Well we begin another chapter. This must be an exxiting time for you. It is for me…
AMAZING turn of events. #4 arrives at nest March 8 and there is no female there. He fights her off. March 11 he accepts her into his nest and mates. He must be the Grandpa eagle training all the first year females to mate. LOL! oy vey ….
WOW! Patience wins out. Thank you so much for your sharing of knowledge and your interpretations of what we all were seeing. You and the other Mods have been steadfast in this process. I think there is more to come and I know you will continue to guide us.
At this point, I just hope all the eagles are safe and Dad finally finds a friend to spend a long period of time with….whatever that brings….
Is it possible that the male finally rejected #3 for not having been able to deliver eggs? Also #4 was trying to get in the nest-could she have been waiting to mate until she got in the nest? Thanks for all the answers as this moves along. Oh My.
response – All indications are that female #3 was driven off by the new female not the male who vigorously attacked the new female on more than one occasion.
It appeared that the #4 female was showing affection by her “beaking” and not aggression in the nest this evening before they mated .. am I correct in my opinion that this female is really very affectionate towards the male? I have to admit she is really fearce looking but still beautiful… I’m sure that is a good thing in the eagle world.. lol..
Response – We have observed similiar “necking” behavior from the male and his other mates as well.
Reese, thanks again for posting these bewildering updates. I can just imagine you and all the rest of the raptor-biology/behavior world sitting on the edges of your seats, enraptured and gleeful, as this heretofore un-observed phenomenon plays out for all to see and hear.
Last summer, when some of us watchers said that he’d have to beat prospective mates off with a stick, little did we know just how close to the truth we were!
Reese, I so appreciate your insight and your knowledge! You are very good at what you do. Humanizing them as I have, I really hoped the male would not choose this female #4, but seek out #3 once again. I know that is NOT how it works, but I was hoping. Thank you again for your wonderful patience in giving us the information we so crave and for your wonderful way of caring for these beauties!
I noticed that, unlike dad and #3, Eagle #4 has skin showing around her eyes… is that from the recent nest takeover fight with Pa and/or the locked talon flight with #3 or could it be congenital? She’s definitely not as pretty as the first 3 F’s. There seems to be a glut of sub-adult F’s. I know the human population has increasing #s of older F’s with no M partner.
Is #4 not the third female this breeding season? The first new female, after the mother of last years three chicks, was called #2. If that is wrong, who was #1? Thank you for all you do for such fanatic viewers.
Response – 4 five year old females this breeding season. #1 Sept – Jan 6, #2 Jan 7 – Jan 20, #3 Jan 21 or so to Last week (#2 came back during this time), and #4 as of Mar 7. That makes it 1, 2, 3, 4.