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Happy Birthday Penelope!

Penelope is our resident Bald Eagle here at Moccasin Lake Raptor Sanctuary. She is turning 7 this month! We don't know her exact birthday, but we have estimated that she was born in January 2014 based on how old she was when she was rescued. She was found by a dog in Punta Gorda, FL after someone saw her fall in the forest- the people could not find her, but the dog picked up the scent and she was safely transported to rehab due to this canine hero! She is a permanent resident due to a shoulder injury likely related to her fall, and would not be able to survive in the wild due to her inability to fly properly.

Bald Eagle nesting season in Florida is from October 1st to May 15th. The average egg laying date for bald eagles in Florida is December 15th, and then the eggs are incubated for about 35 days. Eaglets stay in the nest with their parents for up to 12 weeks, and by that time, they are easily the size of (or larger than) their parents.

The largest eagle nest ever was found in our backyard- St Petersburg FL! This nest was 9.5 feet across, 20 feet deep, and weighed around 3 tons- these eagles were not messing around with their mansion of a nest! Eagles tend to nest high up in the trees, although in some places where there are not enough trees, they will build a nest on the ground. Eagles come back to their nest each year to breed and raise their young, meaning they have what is called 'strong nest fidelity'- they are loyal to their nests, and also to each other- eagles tend to mate for life, but will find a new mate if the previous mate dies or fails to return.

Bald Eagle parents share the responsibility of watching the nest and eventually their children, unlike owls, where the mother owl stays in the nest and the father owl is responsible for finding food for her and for himself.

Sources- Barb Walker, testimony

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