Eagle triplets take flight: ‘They’re excellent flyers but terrible landers’

The eagle triplets at Carillion Historical Park have taken flight.

The trio, Aviator, Navigator and Pilot, the offspring of Orv and Willa, the park’s resident bald eagles, fledged from their nest last week.

Aviator was the first to fly said Jim Weller, founder of the Eastwood Eagle watchers and the park’s bald eagle expert.

Normally a young eagle will fly from the nest to a nearby tree on its first attempt, but Aviator took off, left the park and landed on the far side of the Great Miami River.

“It sat on the ground for awhile and then made its way back to the nest which is remarkable for a first flight,” Weller said.

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Navigator and Pilot followed their sibling out of the nest in the following days but not quite as gracefully. Weller witnessed Willa carry food to the juveniles which created confusion in the nest and one of the clumsy youngsters going airborne.

“Everyone starts moving around at once and someone falls out of the nest,” Weller said. “I don’t know if he intended to fly or not.”

The triplets hatched in April, the fourth year Orv and Willa, lifelong mates who are 8 years old, have started a family in the park.

Eagle triplets are not common and only occur 20 percent of the time, Weller said.

“It’s a real credit to Orv and Willa’s parenting abilities the three have made it to this point,” he said. “It’s at the point now where survival or failure is up to the individual juveniles.”

Even though the juveniles are full sized with six to seven-foot wingspans — traffic, electrical lines or a missed landing can lead to broken bones or wings for the young eagles.

“In a few weeks Orv and Willa will take the juveniles to the river and teach them how to hunt and fish on their own but they can get themselves in a lot of trouble in the meantime,” Weller said.

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The next few weeks are an opportune time to watch the juvenile eagles and their parents.

As they learn to fly the juveniles often land on the tops of buildings, benches and other structures in the park as Orv and Willa keep watch.

“They’re excellent flyers but terrible landers,” Weller said.

Though the eagles live in a park they are wild animals and should not be approached or fed, Weller said.

“They are not pets and they could lose their natural fear of humans,” he said. “That would be very bad for them somewhere down the road because not all humans can be trusted.”

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