Bald eagles, an iconic symbol of our national pride and heritage, can be found in the East Bay. Last July I wrote about a pair of bald eagles that raised their first chick near Lake Chabot Regional Park in San Leandro. They’re back for the second year and have successfully hatched another chick. Before fledging, it got ready to leave the nest by “branching” which involves lots of hopping around, wing-flapping and venturing out onto nearby tree limbs. Here's a short video of the juvenile, filmed by Mary Malec, 2-3 days before it left its nest:
Mary is an eagle monitor along with biologists from the East Bay Regional Parks Stewardship Department. Mary has also monitored other raptors -- such as peregrine falcons and golden eagles -- for the GGRO (Golden Gate Raptor Observatory) for close to 8 years. Through her volunteer work overseeing these birds and their nests, she's been able to capture stunning photos that are shared on her Flickr account.
Late September was the last time Mary saw the bald eagle fledgling. She observed a second-year sub-adult at Lake Chabot in April of this year. It’s hard to know if that was the young from last year’s nest coming back, or if it was some unrelated juvenile passing through the area. It didn’t stay.
If you want a chance to see the eagles, you can check them out in the next couple of months at Lake Chabot. I was lucky to see the eagle parents both times I hiked at the lake on the West Shore Trail. The best view is from the Alder Point fishing area. You can also get good views from the dam, although now that the juvenile is airborne, they might be anywhere around the lake. The nest is well hidden and I haven’t been able to spot it.