D27 sent another postcard! She moved from Severn Lake over to Lake Petownikip, part of a chain of large lakes stretching through Ontario’s north country. It is a perfect summering spot for bald eagles, who enjoy cool weather and plenty of fish. Have a great summer, D27 – I know I’ll be thinking of your beautiful boreal forest in our hot and sticky weather!
A lot of people have asked whether D27 has found that special someone yet! She has not. Eagles don’t reach sexual maturity until about 4.5-5 years old, and not all eagles leave the wandering life for a partner at that age. D27 might look a lot like the sub-adult eagle III in the picture below, which was taken from our Mississippi River cam.
Three-year old eagles can be quite variable in their plumage, but in general:
- They are beginning to acquire a white head, giving them a distinct eye streak (I sometimes think of this as the ‘osprey phase’.
- They have mostly dark wings and belly when compared with two-year old/II eagles.
- Their bills are beginning to turn yellow
We can’t see the face of the eagle at left, but we can see that its belly is quite white and it still has white streaks on its wings when compared with the eagle at left. If you’d like to learn more about aging eagles by plumage, follow this link, or buy Jerry Liguori’s excellent book: Hawks from Every Angle: How to Identify Raptors In Flight. I took the age information from page 116.
What does D27’s summer home look like? Picture four lakes in a massive peatland bog, in a place very few people have ever seen. The massive peatland complex surrounding Nikip, Magiss, Petownikip, and Sakwas lakes are also major nurseries and winter and summer habitats for forest-dwelling caribou! ‘Frozen’ watchers might recognize them as ‘Sven’, since reindeer and caribou are the same animal. You can take a deep dive into their story here: https://bit.ly/3ipeDdQ or here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boreal_woodland_caribou
As always, a thousand thanks to Brett Mandernack and the staff of Eagle Valley for sharing their maps, data, and expertise. If you would like to explore the travels of any of the eagles we’ve tracked, please visit our interactive maps at https://www.raptorresource.org/learning-tools/eagle-map/.