Monday, June 7, 2010

Will they fly today? Maybe not.....

Hawkfans are on the edges of their seats wondering if today will be the day that the eyasses fledge and take their first flights.

I sent John Blakeman some pictures Kay took yesterday of their outstretched wings and asked him how close he thought they were to flying. Maybe not as close as we think....

John writes:

"Very close.

But the closeup of the heads of the birds indicates to me that it may be three or four more days. The birds seldom fledge until the head feathers are rather more fully emerged from their sheaths there, and that didn't look to be the case.

The head feathers are still a bit short and compressed, not fully extended yet.

And the same is true of the long flight feathers in the wings, too. They are still tender and "in the blood."

Still, an eyass could hop off the ledge tomorrow (Monday). Or, more likely I think, it would happen towards the end of the week."

-- John Blakeman

[Last year
(June 12, 2009), John sent us this information about "in the blood" regarding Miss Piggy's premature flight ]

"As the feathers grow out, they actually have blood vessels within, nourishing the growth of these miraculous body features. So, for a while, heavy blood remains coursing through the big tail and wing feathers. Until this ends, when the bird is “hard penned,” the wings are a bit heavier. Right now, all three birds should be close to being hard penned, allowing for much better flight.

The feathers are not completely emerged from the feather sheaths. That’s what the eyasses have been attending to for much of each day in the last weeks. Everyone has noticed how much time the birds spend “preening,” tucking their heads down into their feathers. They are using their bills to strip off the drying feather sheaths, allowing the growing feathers beneath to emerge. For the large flight feathers, the feather sheaths still remain at the base and shank of the larger feathers."

-- John Blakeman


  1. Thanks so much for all the wonderful photos and information. I loved being able to follow this terrific story. My family thinks I'm crazy. They have no idea what they are missing!

  2. I'm very grateful to be getting the information & magnificient photos. This has been a wonderful oppurtunity to expand my knowledge of these beautiful creatures.
    Marilyn B