🐾 Maybe the reason I love animals so much, is because the only time they have broken my heart is when theirs has stopped beating.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Bond between chick and parent does not last

Black Eagle juvenile - Jabulani

Unlike in human beings, where many families share a lifetime of existence together, bonds between parents and offspring only last a for few months for many animals.     

Verreaux's eagles (black eagles) are no exception. The juvenile that hatched a few months ago at the Walter Sisulu botanical Gardens in Gauteng, South Africa, jealously guarded and fed by its parents, will soon be chased away forever to start a life of its own. The eaglet, dubbed Jabulani, enjoyed all the protection it needed to make it in life. It even had the dubious privilege of killing and eating its own sibling with the ‘approval' of its parents. After several months of learning how to fly and hunt, along with other survival skills, Jabulani's future now depends on her wings. 

She took her maiden flight on 13 September 2012 and has been seen taking plunges on some of the canopies. Although she has not yet mastered the art of hunting, all the other features she need have now fell in place - a sharp beak, strong feet with claws as sharp as daggers and wings that will give her total control of the skyline. Her parents will soon chase her out of their Garden territory and she will have to fly away to establish her own territory until she meets a suitable mate who, like her parents, is likely to become a lifetime partner.             

For now, her main concerns will be to learn and perfect hunting skills, and gain weight that will be needed for her battles ahead. Verreaux's eagles are capable of eating any small to medium-sized animals and typical prey includes guinea fowl, francolins and dassies (rock hyrax). 
Photograph: G. Heydenrych  


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