eaglets. The oldest, hatched on January 22, 2010, is on the left,|
and the youngest, hatched about 7-10 days later, is on the far right.
Bald Eagles have established the first recorded successful nest in Broward County, Florida of this Century. In 2008, they successfully raised one chick, whom we named "P.Piney One." Last season (2009) they had two chicks, named Hope and Justice. Hope hatched on January 17, and Justice 3 or 4 days later. Both learned to fly in early April, and kept returning to the nest to be fed by the parents until late May. The nest is located within 200 feet of a very busy thoroghfare, and has attracted much attention, due to its accessibility and the opportunity for so many citizens to observe their home life so very close at hand.
The Bald Eagles in Florida have recovered from a low of less than 50 pairs to now number over over 1,300, and have been removed from the list of Endagered Species. The state-wide population of these majestic birds continues to grow, but their normal wilderness habitat continues to shrink due to development, agriculture, and several extensive fires. Since eagles require a feeding and roosting territory that is at least 2 miles around each nest, they are being squeezed out of their normal habitat, and are now re-entering parts of their historic range that are now become cities and towns. These newly "urbanized" eagles are learning to adapt to the hazards (and benefits) of living with humankind, and we in turn, are finding ways to accomodate to their presence.
|Here, at about 6 weeks of age, the eaglets are fed by a parent: |
Photo by James Hartman (c) 2010
Students at Silver Trail Middle School in Pembroke Pines, as part of their 7th grade science curriculum, studied these eagles. They learned about the life history of the Bald Eagle, its decline in the middle of the last century due to persecution and indiscriminate use of pesticides, and its recovery following the banning of DDT and protection under the Endangered Species Act. Study of the eagles led them into related inquiries: mercury pollution, ecology, careers in the natural sciences, and even the satellite technology that can track the migration of eagles after they leave the nest. They applied the Scientific Method to design and implement a study of the effects of traffic density on the eagles' behavior at the nest site.
The Middle School students selected five sets of names for the three eaglets, and now invite everyone acrosss the world to take part in picking their final names. The first-hatched of the three chicks is the larger one in the top photo, taken when they were about three weeks old, but the second chick has grown to about the same size as its older sibling. In the photo to the left, it is hard to tell them apart by size, but the oldest eaglet is probably the one in the middle. The youngest chick, identified by the greatest amount of whitish natal down on its body, is on the left. The chick on the far right shows more down on its head than the oldest, and is likely the second-hatched. This suggests that both of the older eaglets may be females, as males are generally smaller than females right into adult life. We cannot be sure of their exact sex, but let's not worry about that and just select the best names. The students have narrowed the list of candidate sets of names down to the following five. The ballot may be found at the bottom of this page.
Number of VOTES
MEANING OF NAME
AND WHY TO CHOOSE IT
Courage-- faces danger with confidence
Comet- flies close to the sun and has a white tail
Astra - eagles usually have only two chicks, so the third one is a "star"
first eaglet is "free from restraints" with "frankness &
Liberty - the second eaglet is also "free from restraints" but with "specific restrictions"
Joy!- the survival of the third eaglet will be a "source of great pleasure & happiness" for all!
we are lucky to have the eagles so close to us and they are lucky to
still be alive in our environment
Chance - Because the eagles took a chance to survive in our urban environment and this is now a chance to raise eagle population numbers
Courage - Because these birds have the courage to raise a family in this environment even though they might have to change their ways and live around us humans.
- (pronounced fah-yuh) means hunter in Creek.
Honichi - (pronounced hoe-nih-chee) is Creek for wild or untamed.
Nakimka - (pronounced nah-kim-kuh) comes from a Creek word for "gift".
- (pronounced hee-kah) means "flier" or "flying one" in Choctaw
Amakali - (pronounced ah-mah-kah-lee) means "graceful" in Choctaw.
Holitopa - (pronounced hoh-lee-toh-pah) meands "precious" in Choctaw.
|*These names were obtained from a Native American translator. They have multiple spellings, as the language was not originally a written one. The two major Seminole languages are Creek and Miccosukee, with a closely related language being Choctaw (spoken by fewer Seminole members and also spoken in the Florida panhandle). There was not a Miccosukee speaker available to make suggestions for us, so they submitted primarily Creek and Choctaw words.|