These past few weeks I have been visiting the Nith River eagle nest, fifteen minutes from my home,  and have watched as this adult pair carried out maintenance work, mated successfully (during the third week of March) and now have at least two hatched eaglets. 

I say ‘at least’ two because I have only seen two heads pop up and, because the eaglets hatch at different times, there could very well be a third that is still out of sight. A year ago they had three. 

One of the local residents told me that this pair have nested here for eight years and have had 20 eaglets in that time. 

When there are young in the nest the adults are kept busy hunting and fishing to feed them. I suspect there is not an abundance of fish nearby  because the male flies off and is sometimes gone for a couple of hours. As the young grow – and become even more demanding of food – the pressure increases to bring food back much more regularly. 

On Sunday I took up position near the nest waiting for the male to return. Often he brings in the fish then feeds the young ones. The female will ‘grab a quick bite’ then stretches her wings flying about the area often before landing in a nearby tree to preen and to clean her beak of the fish she has just shared.

As I have often written …….time spent in nature is time well spent. On Sunday I watched a beaver swim down the river, emerge briefly to chew on a dead tree, before returning to the water’s edge.

A short time later four deer ran single file up the trail beneath the eagle nest. They were gone in a flash but I managed to capture a few images.

Next was a surprise visit from a juvenile bald eagle – quite possibly one that fledged from this nest a year ago – which circled the area for several minutes before heading down river.

As if this wasn’t enough reward for spending time on the river I watched the adult male arrive home with a fish, his second delivery in the three hours that I spent there.

Before I left the area I was lucky to see the female do another few laps looking down at me as she passed overhead. 

We are fortunate to share this planet with some incredible species of wildlife. Just a walk along a river can prove rewarding if you to are not in a hurry.  I hope you can find time and a place to enjoy and observe nature.

18 Comments

  1. Eleanor Joy McDonald

    Thanks for sharing the eagles’ lives, Paul. I like the one with the female on the end of a branch and father eagle returning with lunch in his talons.
    Blessings!
    Eleanor

    1. Paul E Gains

      I am happy you enjoyed these photos. Although I have taken better images these were all taken in the same afternoon, which is the point I wanted to get across. Getting outside into nature is a great form of ‘wellness’ eh? Cheers!

  2. Ben Lanthier

    Parenting is hard work, no matter who you are! Thanks as always Paul – really enjoyed your photos and storytelling which adds so much. Take care.
    Ben

    1. Paul E Gains

      Thanks Ben. It is interesting to see the devotion (instinct) of these eagles as they raise their young. Then comes tough love as they prepare them for life on their own. Stay well!

  3. janet leadston

    Enjoyed your photos. I live on the Nith River. A few days ago my husband and I were sitting down by the water and two eagles flew over and landed in the trees across the river. Maybe these were the same eagles. We also have a beaver close by chewing on the trees. There also deer in the area and sometimes are crossing the river. Now the geese have their little ones in the river. Yes, nature is very interesting.

    1. Paul E Gains

      You are fortunate to live in such close proximity to those bald eagles, deer and the beaver family. Life along a river is special. Thanks for your comment. Cheers!

  4. John Palmer

    Thanks as always for such great photography and interesting commentary. I often run trails in the area and last week had heard an eagle cry and noticed an adult head in the nest. I was pretty sure that you therefore be back in the areas. Thanks again.

    1. Paul E Gains

      It’s a great place to spend an afternoon or evening and, with the young in the nest, there is much activity up and down the river. nice to hear from you, John!

    1. Paul E Gains

      Hello Meg! Thanks very much for your note. These Nith River eagles nest near Piper’s Glen Park. Their location is no secret …just a short hike in the woods. There are many other places to see bald eagles nearer to you, though. Anywhere along the Grand River or Speed River is prime real estate for eagles and other raptors to hunt and fish. Conestoga River in Waterloo is another spot. I actually saw a juvenile bald eagle on my bike ride along the Grand River Rail Trail this afternoon near Paris, Ontario. They are special birds, for sure. Good luck!

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