Nesting Bald Eagles
Blue Valley Ranch is home to two nesting pairs of bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), only one of which produced eggs this year. The bald eagle was removed from Colorado’s threatened and endangered species list in 2009, but the Colorado Division of Parks & Wildlife still keeps a database of nesting birds. Ranch staff assist in monitoring these two nests every year, careful to respect buffer zones around the nest except when surveying.
These photos are from the April survey (notice the lack of leaves on the cottonwoods). Both parents were present and there appeared to be three chicks. Usually, eagles will hatch three eggs, although often only two, or sometimes one, will survive to fledging age depending on the availability of food.
Here, one of the parents appears to be feeding the chicks something with feathers.
This photo is from the June survey. Incredibly, all three chicks are still present, which means lots of food was available. Chicks will fledge at around 12 weeks of age, but their head and tail feathers will not turn white until they are four or five years old.
(Photos by Josh Richert)