Bald Eagle and Mate Behavior
Name: Diana L.
Monday, September 30, 2002
When one of a bald eagle mate is injured, how does the
other mate react. Do they stay with them, leave them, feed them, for
long? Do they make a sound or have behavior that is significant when the
I have not seen the behavior you are seeking with Bald Eagles, however,
I have witnessed the same situation with Great Horned Owls. I can not
infer that the behaviors would be the same.
The apparent stricken of illness of a juvenile Great Horned Owl in the
wild (all were radio tagged) brought a three day (two night) abnormal
behavior by both parents and siblings around the sick bird and
forthcoming corpse. Little activity was observed for two nights and
three days (yes, owls are active during part of the day) I witnessed no
feeding or commonly observed active periods of behavior by either the
adults or sibling during this time. The third night after the start of
the presume illness that lead to the juvenile's death, all activities
returned to previous levels. Birds as a whole have a defined set of
stimulus / response behaviors. Most behaviors are instinctive.
I also worked with Bald Eagles in Minnesota for a short time. Like most
birds, the juveniles have calls and behaviors that prompt the adults to
seek food and feed the juveniles. Adults Eagles do not exhibit this
type of call so I would not expect a mate to initiate feeding of an
injured mate. It is not in their genes to behave that way and these
birds do not have a very high level of intelligence. I could be wrong
about all this, but I don't think so.
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Update: June 2012