Eaglet spotted near Pascagoula River

Published 6:24 pm Tuesday, December 4, 2007

An eaglet, believed to be the offspring of two bald eagles who have returned to Jackson County, was spotted near the Pascagoula River Audubon Center in Moss Point.

Audubon Director Mark LaSalle believes the adult eagles have returned to South Mississippi this year to raise another set of babies. The pair hatched two eaglets last year, but only one survived to leave the nest. It also has been seen, LaSalle said.

LaSalle said the young eagle will spend the next few years maturing and roosting with other juveniles before selecting a lifetime partner for mating.

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The bird’s parents are at the same nest as last year.

“They’re very loyal to the nest site,” he said.

LaSalle said the nest is 6 feet wide and 4 feet deep, and the pair have been seen toting four-foot-long branches to add to the top of it. Nests, which are always found in live trees and usually in the crown, can reach 9 feet wide and weigh two tons, he said.

Their previous nest was in a tree that died after Hurricane Katrina, so they started over in a nearby tree, he said.

The pair will probably have two or three eggs by Christmas. If all goes well, the eggs will hatch 34 days later with any eaglets ready to spread their wings and fly by April, LaSalle said.

LaSalle said he knows of about six active nests and has spotted about five juveniles and a dozen adults along the river.

Eagles should be active through April or May.

The American bald eagles make their homes in every state except Hawaii, and thousands can be spotted in Alaska. They’ve recently been removed from the endangered list.

“In Mississippi, we’re happy to say they’re back in good numbers and we want it to keep that way,” he said.