Now that the eaglet (DG1) at Dulles Wetlands has made it through the first two weeks with all its rapid growth and development, there are many more changes that will happen. An eaglet goes from 3 inches to 3 feet in three months. It grows from a helpless hatchling to an adult-sized, juvenile Bald Eagle in just 12 weeks or so, showing very rapid growth and development along the way. Here’s what the next two weeks hold in store.
Week 3 (14 to 21 days)
- DG1’s feet and beak will be nearly adult size and s/he will be about 1 foot high.
- Beak, leg and foot pad growth continues.
- Talons should have turned almost entirely black.
- Shedding of the white natal down continues, disappearing from the head first, giving DG1 a mohawk look.
- Pinfeathers start emerging along the edges of the wings.
- DG1 will begin to expand his/her explorations and some standing may be seen.
- Crop may be so heavy that DG1 may have a hard time sitting up.
- Given that food bites now include scales and fur, we will likely see pellet casting soon.
Week 4 (21 to 28 days)
- DG1’s beak, leg and foot pad grow slowly.
- There will be attempts to pick at food (not self-feeding).
- Natal down mohawks will vanish, and dark deck feather growth will accelerate.
- Still enclosed in their keratin sheaths, DG1’s pin feathers will grow longer.
- Standing increases.
- Wing growth is increased by week four.
- We may be treated to the beginning of “wingercizing” sessions.
- If DG1 had a sibling, rivalry would be decreasing