Eagle Seems To Be Trying To Convince Mate 'It's Time To Let Go' Of Nonviable Eggs

Two bald eagles whose Southern California nest has been the focus of a widely watched livestream now seem to be coping with the reality that their eggs are apparently nonviable.

Jackie, a female, and Shadow, a male, are mates who persevered through intense rain, wind and snow to protect the three eggs Jackie laid in January. Their relationship, and the promise of adorable eaglets, had tens of thousands of viewers tuned in to the live feed of their nest, located high in a tree in the San Bernardino Mountains.

Jackie and Shadow are shown in their nest in an image released by Friends of Big Bear Valley.
Jackie and Shadow are shown in their nest in an image released by Friends of Big Bear Valley. Friends of Big Bear Valley via AP

Last month it became apparent that the eggs would almost certainly not hatch after all, though the pair continued to take “dedicated care” of them, Friends of Big Bear Valley, a nonprofit that operates the nest camera, said at the time.

Jackie seems to have accepted that reality more quickly than Shadow.

As of Wednesday, she had not sat on the eggs in a few days, Friends of Big Bear Valley’s Sandy Steers wrote in an update. Not only that, but Jackie was also “trying every trick in her book to convince” Shadow “that it’s time to let go,” Steers wrote.

On multiple occasions, Jackie was seen displaying a stick for Shadow. When he would go after the stick, Jackie would wait until Shadow flew away and then she would immediately leave. Another time, she brought a fish that lured him off the eggs.

On Friday, the eggs’ nonviability became even more obvious ― one of them broke, and Steers noted that it “still had yolk and albumin inside, so it had not developed at all.”

Since the breakage, Shadow has been less attentive to the eggs, and Steers speculated that the broken egg may have “had some kind of impact” on him.

Last year, the two eagles also had eggs that never hatched, and ravens eventually ate them.

Despite the most recent nest failure, the pair’s relationship appears to be strong. The two of them “have been seen or heard mating nearly every day this week,” Steers wrote, and on Friday, they fell asleep in a tree “snuggled side-by-side on the same limb.”