Eagle Mating

For the past couple months, the year-round resident American Bald Eagles around  Chesapeake Bay have been busy building/strengthening their nests as well as bonding with their mate.  This is true with our CBEC Eagles!

American Bald Eagles mate for life.  As most birds, it is the male that works hard on impressing his lady.  Our CBEC pair love flying together, circling high in the sky around each other, as if gracefully dancing.  Mr Eagle will even play chase with his girl, trying to catch & give her a little love tap with his wing or body, as the Mrs is taunting “catch me if you can” while trying to keep away from him.  You can tell they are having a wonderful, fun time!  He will even try to impress by bringing her food or leave it on Lippincott’s Channel Marker and she will come to eat it.  He’s definitely at her beck and call, I’d say.

More recently, several times I just happen see the CBEC Eagle pair mating on Lippincott’s Channel Marker in Marshy Creek.  I tell them, “Hey, get a room!” 😉

Of course, it happens so darn fast, it is hard to photograph, let alone try to video.  They just don’t give you any warning when they’re going to do it.

I had lucked out getting some images couple weeks ago catching them “in the act” but just couldn’t portray anything with those for a post to let you see/feel the action.

And then we have the day after the blizzard…..I watched the male Eagle land on Lippincott’s Channel Marker where his beautiful lady was perched and chattering at him.

And just as quick, it happened again!  I was hand-holding and had no time to lock my camera on my tripod, so I locked my arms & stance and just held down my shutter button firing away until it exhausted my camera’s battery to my memory card as it tried to keep up.

And immediately after my fire-off stopped, they stopped.  A whole 20-25 seconds.

I was able to capture 23 images in that 15-20 second firing.  Wanting to portray them in a video, I watched a YouTube video last night and voila!  Here’s my attempt at my first photo video.

P.S.  Notice the Tundra Swans in the background, oblivious to what’s going on, lol.

CBEC American Bald Eagles mating on Lippincott’s Channel Marker…..


Eagles can also mate in the sky.  To get the opportunity to watch a pair as they entwine their talons and fall precariously to the ground, breaking away just in time, is extraordinary.  This act is called “cartwheeling”.  I have not seen our CBEC Eagles do this this season, but here’s some photos from a previous year to show this act in the air.  I cropped too much for a printable photo but wanted to let you see them more up-close.

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By late January (the lower Chesapeake Bay) to late February/early March (my Chesapeake Bay area and above), the female will lay their eggs that will take approximately 32-36 days to incubate.

So it appears the CBEC Eagles may have another month of bonding.  And they say practice makes perfect, right?!!

Whether on a perch or cartwheeling, yes, there is Eagle love in the Chesapeake Bay air!


42 thoughts on “Eagle Mating

  1. Fantastic captures of both of the eagle’s mating! I’ve seen various raptors flirting as you described so well, but I’ve never actually witnessed them mating, I’m very jealous.

  2. Donna, Thank you so much! Not only for sharing the pics, but taking the time to learn how to may a picture video – it turned out great and is fun to watch!!

    • Thank you, Neita! Honestly, it took me two nights to figure out the video; first one I made was awful, lol. The one I posted is so much better. 🙂 Nice to see you again, hope all is well!

    • It wasn’t until I researched the cartwheeling that I even knew about it, pretty cool, and adrenaline pumping, you worry they won’t separate in time before hitting the ground! 🙂

  3. Rated R stuff? Donna…you’re getting naughty! 🙂 Just kidding!
    Your techniques for photography and video are advancing rapidly. Good work! 🙂

    • Thanks so much, Helen! Have you seen the Osprey mate? They do the same as the Eagles on the channel marker. The first time I saw our Osprey ‘doing it’ years ago, I captured images & sent them on a CD to the Osprey expert at Blackwater NWR to ask her what was going on. It ended up being funny discussing it & I was sort of embarrassed! lol But I didn’t know then, and now I do. 🙂

        • As far as I know, only Eagles mate in the sky. 🙂 I have seen the Osprey fly together and play/tap/bump in the sky, but no cartwheeling! 😉 With the 2-3 dozen Osprey nests in a one-mile radius of me, I’m wishing the Osprey did cartwheel, I think I’d definitely get more opportunities to see it more often!

  4. Wow Donna, how incredible to have caught these guys in the act. It is SO fast! I’m really enjoying your photos and your blog overall. You live in such a beautiful place. Perhaps you’d like to check out a fellow bird nerd’s blog? inkfromthequill.com

    • Thanks so much, Steph! Boy, they are fast! Seeing them romancing together now that it’s breeding time really makes it special for me. Just swung over to your wonderful blog, I’ll be following you! 🙂

  5. An amazing video, Donna. Well done! I’ve never seen anything like this before. The cartwheeling looks like fun and very exciting. We humans just don’t know we’re missing out on. 😆

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