August for many birds is molting time. Which makes sense when you think about it. If you were going to undress you’d want to do it in the hottest month!

Romeo dropped a large primary feather tonight!

As a photographer I do something most do not do. I keep both eyes open when I shoot. Watch anyone taking a shot and 99% of them will be closing one eye. My photographic instructor is the only other person I know of that shot with both eyes open. The advantage of doing this is you can see far more on the periphery! (my dominant eye is my right with my left being secondary)

I bring this up because If I had my left eye closed I would never of seen the primary feather drop! As Romeo went past my right eye was tracking/shooting him but my left eye saw that primary feather fall.

A eagle has over 7000 feathers but there are only 5 large feathers on each wing . They are called the “primaries”. There are also 12 large white tail feathers.

I’ve looked at my shots and figure the feather that fell was the second primary on his left wing.

I consider it a honour when one of my eagle friends gives me a feather but of course they do not chose to just get rid of it. It’s just shear fluke to be honest! At any rate I love recieving them!

I also play a game at this time of year. When one of my molting friends zips past there is usually a light fluffy piece of down released! It drifts downwind. The game I talk about is me trying to grab that piece of downy fluff before it hits the water! I missed two of them last night.

64 thoughts on “THE GIFT

  1. I am very impressed, Waye! I am heading over from Sally, and apologize for another late revisit. Thank you for the very interesting information about the feathers of the eagles. Never thought about 7000 pieces, but nature is wonderful. A really great gift. Enjoy your week. Be well and stay save. Michael

  2. I so enjoy your photographs! Thank you for sharing them. We have a few Bald Eagles here, an occasional Osprey many Blue Herons. One or more herons have been hanging out in our very tall trees. They have been dropping many beautiful feathers. I wondered why but hadn’t realized it is molting season.
    Thank you again for sharing. I am mostly an ancient watercolor painter and teacher. I haven’t painted the birds for many years. Maybe it is time to get my students painting them. I’m teaching them via ZOOM these days and thought I would have them paint the 3 large crow feathers with a lovely white shell I found on our beach today.

    Sent from my iPad

  3. Romeo didn’t know the surprise you got – guessing it fell onto the surface of the water and floated. It would be difficult to see at sunset so you’re lucky you had your left eye looking around. When I got the point-and-shoot compact, I had a difficult time getting used to it, as I had always had a viewfinder and not holding the camera to my eye and peering out the viewfinder seemed odd to me. I don’t know how you do it – but it works for you and you get great results.

    1. When I operated surveying equipment I always looked through without closing my left eye. Training your mind to do that helps in being able to separate yourself from your subject matter! Not being caught up in the moment allows me to think quickly and clearly!

      1. I am thinking I’d not be able to concentrate as well as I’d be distracted by what my left eye was seeing. My right eye is my dominant eye too. Going to try it next time I have the big camera out – betcha I forget and close my left eye as usual.

      1. Guess who slept through it?! I’ve been sleeping badly, need to get back into a regular pattern…
        Good period of weather coming up – will you be heading out?

      2. What dictates whether I go out now or not are the clouds. If I get Goldi-Loks clouds I’m out there but If it’s simply a clear sunny day…,and If it has too much cloud …..not a chance Lance!

  4. Amazing photographs Wayne, how beautiful he is. I never knew much about molting until the last few years that I have been photographing birds. Being he lost a primary feather, they must grow back fairly quickly? It is an amazing thing they go through this time of year. I try to keep both eyes open all the time also when shooting. But when they are in flight I do tend to close the right eye. I went for a drive today and was pleasantly surprised by all the Ravens I saw everywhere along the roads. I only see the two around my place. They sure know how to get out of the way on the roads way before you get close to them. I saw a couple just hop off the road. Such a large bird, :)

    1. So your a lefty eh. That means your right hemisphere is dominant.
      During molting I don’t think they lose every feather? I’ve noticed they have two rows of growing feathers. One more advanced than the other. Kind of the same way sharks have teeth coming in all the time.

      1. Yes, I am a lefty. And I notice all of my photos lean to the left. I have to crop most of them especially if there is a horizon line on the photo. I always have to tilt them to the right. I was wondering about that with the feathers. If they only lose certain ones or if they are just old or damaged and they fall off. Just amazing how that works.

      2. your level is influenced by the weight of your left hand.
        I have the same thing happening to me but with the right.
        Very rarely are my shots level. I always have to correct the horizontal level. Fortunately all my shots almost always have water in them! So the horizontal angle is real easy to find!

      3. I was wondering if anyone else had the same problem. You confirmed my thoughts. I even use the level line in the camera and the photos still lean to the left..

      4. Yes, it can be difficult to hold a camera level. I have been starting to take my tripod everywhere with me now, I use to think it was to much to carry. But, I use it as a walking stick also, dual purpose. So much easier using a tripod.

      5. Hmm, :) that is like the measuring cups. Do you know that the glass measuring cups are made for right handed people. I go to pick mine up, with my left hand of course and the numbers are on the wrong side. :)

      6. I know you were joking Wayne, that is why I brought up the measuring cups. They actually make one for left handed people though. I love a sense of humor, I don’t take anything to serious. I love to laugh, 🙂♥️

    2. thought you might find this interesting Sandra………….Q. Do eagles molt annually, or how frequently do they shed their feathers?
      I have seen references that state they do not molt annually. All chicks grow early feathers, which last during their adolescence. They molt into adult plumage after breeding, and according to Coles B H. (Avian Medicine and Surgery. Blackwell Scientific Publications, 1985) large birds in adulthood such as eagles molt bi-annually. Another reference states that all adult birds molt annually, in a gradual process through spring, summer, and fall, while flight feathers are molted only during July, August, and September. This claim is not substantiated. What is the truth?
      A. Believe it or not, this is not an easy question to answer; even with all the years and people studying eagles, the molting process is still not precisely understood. Prior to reaching sexual maturity at about age 5, we need to think of molts in terms of different plumages.

      Young eagles go through four different plumages until they reach their sexually mature, adult plumage, which would be the fifth plumage type. These are (as described by Clark and Wheeler in Hawks of North America):
      Juvenile, White-belly I, White-belly II, and Adult transition plumages.

      So, you might think, ok, 5 years to sexual maturity, 5 plumages, one molt per year, right? Not exactly. Molt can be affected by a variety of biological and welfare factors (such as food supply, density of other eagles, and others), and not all molts are always complete molts.

      Once they achieve their final “adult” plumage, it is likely that bald eagles molt their flight feathers just about every year, primarily in New York from summer through fall. However, some evidence of molting can be seen at almost any time of the year.
      This flight feather molt is not simultaneous; rather, matched flight feathers are generally lost at separate times, so the birds are never left flightless.

      1. That is just amazing to think about. And yet it is so unique that they really can’t come up with a definite answer. Nature is a wonderous thing. But yet geese can’t fly at all for a time. If the Eagles did like the geese do. They would not survive, not being able to catch their food. Thank you Wayne, that is very interesting to know.

      2. I will have to look up about Ravens also. Or do you know? Maybe that is why I did not see any all last month and now this month my two regulars are back and they are literally all around the roads when I go for a drive.

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