When Crowned Eagles reach the age of 5 months they behave like bored teenagers and look for things to do to pass the time. This afternoon the San Lameer juvenile did her after-lunch gym routine. This consists of hooking herself by one leg on to a branch that runs horizontally above the nest. She then swings theatrically, as a trapeze artist might, back and forth with exaggerated variations of up and down movements facilitated by the vigorous flapping of her wings. The action is not one of exploratory scientific research.
She already knows all about gravity and Newton's apples. Her activities are entirely playful, executed with a smile on her face and with a clear intention of performing for the camera. The movements are quite vigorous and those two white spots on her left wing are not from dust in my camera. They are dislodged feathers from the down on her chest. In Afrikaans one might say: "Sy swaai laat die vere waai!" This little ritual can last for 60 seconds at a time and often it finds a sequel on another branch of a different tree. She also has her own lego set in the nest (three pine cones) which she tosses into the air and then catches them as they fall. That image I'll post on another day.
Article & Photo Credit: Jacques Sellschop