Photographer catches historic Horan Area eagle fledgling pre-flight

The first fledgling eage to hatch at the Horan Natural Area in at least 30 years is shown in this photo by East Wenatchee resident Julanne Burts. She staked out the eagle nest in spring 2019 upon hearing a mated pair had begun to roost. (Photo: Julanne Burts)

WENATCHEE — When a juvenile bald eagle got ready to leave its nest in the Horan Natural Area, Julanne Burts might have been the first human being it saw.

After the Chelan County PUD in March announced the appearance of the first new eagle nest in the park in at least 30 years, Julanne, an East Wenatchee eagle enthusiast with a new digital camera, decided to stake the place out.

“They’re pretty amazing to watch them fly over your head,” Burts says. “Pretty massive wingspan, pretty incredible to see. …  To have them so close to town and just be able to go to the park and see them is wonderful.”

Julanne started documenting the mated adult parents around the nest after their eaglet hatched sometime in April. By late June, the new bird was ready to fly, and Julanne watched through her lens as it explored the area around its nest.

 “It’s just really awesome to watch them so close, and watch their behaviors,” she says. “After you watch them for a long time, you get to know where Mom sits, where Dad sits. … The last time I saw the baby, the juvenile eagle, it was sitting up in a tree over my head for two hours.”

Julanne says the fledgling bird vanished from the park, but the parents, who mate for life, returned to the nest this fall. She’s anxious to see if any new life appears next spring.