Little Eaglet "Gigi" Flies for the First Time

Submitted by Capt. Mike on Sat, 05/22/2010 - 12:00

May 22, 2010.

Being new to eagles, and having learned so much over the last seven months, I saw my first fledgling eagle today. When an eagle 'fledges', it leaves the nest for the first time and begins a new chapter in its life. Wow, what a moment for both this amazing young raptor and this Captain on the James. 

This "first flight eagle" was not named Wilbur or Orville, but rather, she was named "Gigi" and she had left her next earlier in the morning. As we rounded the bend to the main channel, there she was ... perched in a tree, about 100 yards from her nest.  The beautiful old tree, standing strong, next to the river happened to be a prime hunting spot for her parents, "Virginia" & "James".  It makes one wonder if Gigi saw her parents there day after day, and knew this was a safe spot, or perhaps it was just a gust of wind, and strong branch for an early, clumsy landing.

I'm getting to know Virginia & James better with each observation, and am learning their territorial boundaries on the upriver and downriver sides of their territory. The downriver territorial boundary is interesting and remains a bit of a mystery, but the upriver boundary is about as strong of a line in the sand as you can draw. They have another pair of residents just upriver, "Varina" & "Enon"

I was viewing the parents and offspring and wondered if the parents were proud to see their offspring fledge, or if it's just assumed to get to that point of raising young to fledge. Just moving on ... next. And now, a new set of work begins for the family of eagles. 

It was an incredible experience to see Gigi go from a bobble head in the nest on March 28 to first flight on May 22, 2010. 

-- Capt. Mike