It’s been nearly two years since the eagles nesting behind the Cage Center at Berry College successfully reproduced.
Wednesday morning, the first of two eggs laid in early January hatched and tiny B14 popped its downy head out from under one of the adults on the nest.
Berry College Director of Environmental Compliance and Sustainability Eddie Elsberry said the college designates the young as B, for Berry, and the sequential number of successful hatches, thus B14.
The two adults are known as M12 for male, first observed in the fall of 2012, and NF20, for new female observed in 2020.
Last year, neither egg hatched and the year before that both of the young eaglets died before they were a week old. One actually fell out of the nest while the other died of unknown causes a couple of days after it hatched.
The previous female eagle, with a badly damaged left talon, was last seen in the area in late November. Observers feel pretty confident the male in the nest is the same one since 2012.
Bob Sargent with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources said he suspects the new female got into a territorial battle with the original female and the original female simply couldn’t hang on to her space, possibly because of the bad talon.
No one knows what happened to cause the injury, which occurred sometime during the summer of 2013 right after the very first breeding season that successfully produced two young eaglets.
Berry’s Renee Carleton said she suspects the new female may be a young adult because of the way she acted around the nest in November and December.
The first of the two eggs was laid on Jan. 1 and the second was produced Jan. 4. The typical incubation period is roughly five weeks.
The young remain in the nest for approximately 12 weeks before they make their first flight. Adults generally continue to bring food to the nest for a period of time after that first flight, but it isn’t long thereafter before the young are on their own.
Elsberry said the college continues to document activity at the nest and submit a summary each year to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
He said the report is not as detailed as it was the first couple of years, but any unusual events are always noted in the report.