Two young bald eagles are starting to leave their nest site to fly free at the Patuxent Research Refuge in Laurel, Md., said refuge biologist Holliday Obrecht.
Unlike eaglets fledged in earlier years at the refuge, this pair has been banded.
The numbered, aluminum bands will help biologists track bird movements and obtain other information about them. Pesticide research done at the refuge in the '60s linked pesticides like DDT to the decline of eagle populations nationwide. The resulting ban of the use of these chemicals is thought to be largely responsible for the eagle's, as well as a host of other birds', recovery.
A pair of adult bald eagles has nested on the North Tract of the refuge since 1989, when the property was still a part of Fort George Meade. They have produced at least two young yearly, except for two years when nest failure was attributed to storms and high winds.
Because public disturbance often interferes with nesting success, visitation to the eagle nest site is restricted. But, bald eagles are often seen soaring above the refuge and feeding on Lake Redington behind the Refuge's National Wildlife Visitor Center.