An Anticlimactic End To The Bald Eaglet Soap Opera Near Lake Pleasant

By Mythili Gubbi
Published: Thursday, April 4, 2019 - 4:34pm
Updated: Thursday, April 25, 2019 - 2:38pm

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bald eagle nest
Arizona Game and Fish Department
An image from Arizona Game and Fish Department’s bald eagle camera at Lake Pleasant.

It’s the end of the nesting season for the bald eagles at Lake Pleasant, and no eaglets came from a nest that had been a successful breeding location in the past.

The soap that was closely watched by people all over through the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s live stream is finally over. The feed received more than 367,000 views.

After three attempts at laying eggs and losing them to ravens and ring tail cats, a mother eagle’s final egg didn’t make it either.

Thirty-seven days after laying the fourth egg, the mother sensed that it wouldn’t hatch and destroyed it. This was the last egg that she would lay this season

According to Kenneth Jacobson of the Arizona Game and Fish Department, one of the various reasons for this could be the first-time father not incubating the egg enough and leaving the brunt of it on the mother.

“The only reason he’d go to the nest is the female would fly out and chase him back to the nest. So he was helping a little bit but it was under duress on his part,” said Jacobson.

This female has been coming to the nest at Lake Pleasant for the past few years and has produced eaglets there every season with the same male. But, at the beginning of this breeding season, a younger male came in and ousted the previous male.

As a first-time father, he didn’t guard the nest properly, bring food for the mother when she was incubating the egg, or incubate the egg himself. When the female laid the last egg, he was more present, but it still wasn't enough.

“Usually, the male is on the nest and shares the nesting duties 40 to 50% of the time. This male was maybe helping out an hour and a half, two hours at most every day,” said Jacobson.

The department plans to continue having the live stream of the nest next year and will have the camera ready for the next season.

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