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Bald Eagles Fact of the Day

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Imprinting has five main parts to it: imprinting on parents, imprinting on siblings, development of fear response, imprinting on a future mate, & imprinting on the type of nest style, and habitat.
Imprinting occurs within the brain of the eaglet as it focuses on its food source (the parent eagle). The eaglet recognizes another of its species and learns to recognize itself as an eagle. 

Innate behavior is also called inherited behavior or instinct.  All raptors are genetically programed to react certain ways in particular circumstances in their life.  Interactions of various instincts (characteristic of the species), individual temperaments, & biological drives determine what reactions will be.  Each bird also has a different capacity for storing information in its memory. 

Examples of instinctive behavior (innate behavior) include, but not limited to: courtship behavior, copulation, nest building, incubation, and rearing of young.

LEARNING:  Involuntary learning leads to involuntary response or lack of response through the non-conscious part of the nervous system. This behavior is prompt, automatic, and unthinking.

Voluntary learning produces conscious voluntary responses.  They are not automatic and are not necessarily immediate. Once it is learned, it can't be unlearned.

A fairly higher level of learning is when a bird learns a behavior through watching & trying the behavior for itself. Learning enables them to adapt to a the ever changing environment by acquiring new behavior patterns.  Most behavior has both innate and learned components. 

Bald eagle chicks are hatched with natal (or primary) down.  Down feathers typically lack a rachis and do not form a vane.  At about 10 days of age the secondary (or thermal) down will begin to emerge.  The natal down will eventually be pushed out by contour feathers.   

Nestlings @ 2 weeks
From 9-twelve days old, the nestling's cere (the fleshy covering at the base of the upper mandible) is a pale olive color. The legs are a pale yellow color with areas still a pink-yellow color. Within certain boundaries, the nestling can thermoregulat by 15 days, having thermal down to keep them warmer.  The parent Eagles can be absent from the nest at a slightly longer periods of time. They are close by at all times, protecting their young.  The nestlings also have unique calls that prompt adults to bring them food.


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