Hamilton’s baby bald eagles have taken flight.
A pair of eaglets first spotted at the Royal Botanical Gardens earlier this spring have left the nest and taken their first flight, the RBG said Thursday.
On Wednesday morning, one of the eaglets was seen circling in the air, accompanied by one of the adult eagles, and landing in the trees behind their nest area. About an hour later, the second eaglet, also accompanied by an adult, flew in from the south side of Cootes Paradise marsh and landed in the same trees behind the nest site.
The pair of eaglets was first observed in Cootes Paradise Nature Sanctuary in May. These are the first to be hatched on the shores of Lake Ontario since bald eagle populations throughout North America collapsed decades ago.
The hatching of eaglets “is a testament to the restoration efforts of Project Paradise,” said the RBG’s head of natural lands, Tys Theysmeyer, who hopes this is just the beginning.
“It’s quite exciting,” said Theysmeyer, who added that the Marshwalk Platform is the best place to catch sight of the eagles.
To get to the platform, start from the Arboretum (16 Old Guelph Rd.) and head west, following the Captain Cootes, Bull’s Point and Marshwalk trails. Walking distance is about 1.5 kilometres from the RBG’s Arboretum parking lot.
The nest is on the north shore of Cootes Paradise, about 400 metres west of the Marshwalk Observation Platform, with the nest tree set in a lone pine on a ridge in the middle of the Hopkins Woods Special Protection Area.
Theysmeyer said morning or evening are likely the best times to see the young eaglets in flight. So far no photos of the birds have been snapped, but he hopes someone grabs images of the eaglets flying this weekend.
The adults will be unmistakable even to novice birdwatchers as they have a wingspan of about 200 cm (about six feet).
The RBG is also accepting donations for this and other conservation efforts, to ensure that improvements to this environmentally sensitive area continue. Donations can be made by visiting www.rbg.ca/donate.