Bald eagle Jackie tries to convince dad ‘it’s time to let go’ of eggs that won’t hatch

Bald eagles Jackie and Shadow’s three eggs should have hatched over a month ago in their Southern California nest.

But the little eaglets never emerged from their eggs in Big Bear, making it the second year in the row the mom and dad have been without babies to raise.

It seems Jackie accepted this fate days ago because she hasn’t been seen incubating the eggs since April 8, according to the Friends of Big Bear Valley and Big Bear Eagle Nest Cam daily log.

Shadow, on the other hand, was more reluctant to give up.

He took over nightly incubating duties and tended to the nest for 13 hours and 20 minutes on April 10. The day before that, he was at the nest for 19 hours and 12 minutes, the group said.

Jackie is always on night duty. In the past, she only allowed Shadow to stay on the nest overnight when she herself was losing interest,” the eagle group said in the eagle cam log.

So now Jackie is “trying every trick in her book to convince him that it’s time to let go,” Friends of Big Bear Valley Executive Director Sandy Steers said in an April 10 Facebook post.

Jackie schemes with stick

A nearly three-minute video clip shows one of Jackie’s tactics to get Shadow off the eggs. The video shows her fly into the nest with a stick where Shadow is peacefully keeping the nonviable eggs warm.

As she maneuvers into the nest with it, she pushes Shadow with her wings until he gets up and off the eggs. Eventually he flies away.

Jackie lingers in the nest alone for about two minutes, then leaves the eggs completely unattended to.

The video ends, but Shadow returns within a minute and sits on the eggs again.

Bald eagle mom has more ideas

The stick maneuver wasn’t Jackie’s only move.

She flew into the nest with a fish and “twerpled” at Shadow, another video shows.

But the fish didn’t win him over. He watched her tear it apart and eventually got off the eggs and left the nest.

Jackie found Shadow incubating the eggs again three hours later. This time she brought “fluff” in her talons, the video shows.

He had some interest in the twigs she brought and followed her to a nearby branch, but none of her tactics seemed to fully work.

One of the three eggs broke in Jackie and Shadow’s nest April 11.
One of the three eggs broke in Jackie and Shadow’s nest April 11.

One egg breaks

It wasn’t until one of the eggs deteriorated on April 11 that Shadow lost interest in incubating them.

“It seems that seeing the broken egg had some kind of impact on Shadow to keep him from returning as often as in previous days,” Steers said in another Facebook post.

He wasn’t seen on the eagle camera tending to the remaining two eggs again.

Jackie visited the nest at 7:48 p.m., hours after the egg crumbled, and moved fluff and sticks around in the bowl until the two remaining eggs were covered from the camera’s view.

Neither Jackie nor Shadow has been seen in the nest since then.

“While heartbreaking for them, and us, it’s a view into nature and all the things that can, and do happen,” one person commented on Facebook. “It’s always a joy to see Jackie and Shadow work as a team from beginning to end.”

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