Meet David. Less than a month old, he's the latest addition to a nesting family of bald eagles on Hornby Island, the focus of a popular webcam run by Doug and Sheila Carrick.
David's snowy-white head might not have grown in yet, but bald eagles are one of the most recognizable birds of prey. They're found across North America but are especially numerous in Canada and Alaska. They prefer to settle near large bodies of water (Hornby Island sits in the Strait of Georgia) where they have easy access to an abundance of prey: fish.
While he might not look like much now, he and his sister, Alexandra (after the marine biologist Alexandra Morton), will eventually weigh anywhere between three and seven kilograms with a six- to eight-foot wingspan that will dwarf an average man. He'll reach speeds of 48-70km/h in flight and dive for trout and salmon at up to 160km/h.
David and Alexandra, who hatched around the beginning of May, aren't the first of the brood. Their parents are believed to be around 26 years old; the average lifespan of wild eagles is around 28-30, although they live much longer in captivity. In that time, they've hatched 18 eaglets, although sadly not all have survived. Mom and dad will probably be around a while longer, though—bald eagles mate for life and usually return to the same nest year after year to raise new offspring.
The webcam was first set up in 2004 after Doug Carrick became curious about the pair's nest in a Douglas fir in his backyard. Since then, millions have tuned in and formed a sizeable online community, including a non-profit organization established in 2009 to support the webcam and encourage appreciation and stewardship of wildlife and the environment.
Tune in to watch David and Alexandra in the nest!