There was much excitement on Monday morning as the black eagle chick that hatched at the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens in Gauteng in June spread its wings and took to the skies for the first time.

According to Black Eagle Project Roodekrans chairperson Gerald Draper, the young raptor is the firstborn for mom Makatsa and her new baby daddy, Mahlori, which means "miracle".

It was earlier reported that Mahlori had made the gardens his home on 13 July last year. This after the previous male, Thulani, disappeared at the beginning of June, leaving Makatsa alone with a newborn chick.

The chick eventually died at the beginning of August last year.

Thulani had been living in the gardens since 1998, while Makatsa has been there since 2016.

"Our juvenile eagle fledged at 07:33 on Monday morning. Chances are it's a male as fledging was slightly earlier than usual. We had predicted fledging first week of September if a male and a few days later if female," said Draper. The eagle was 93 days old on Tuesday.

Johann van den Berg, who is part of the Black Eagle Project, rushed off to the gardens to take some pictures as soon as he heard that the young eagle had fledged.

"Rushed to the botanical gardens and got some shots with him showing off his newfound freedom. There was a stiff breeze blowing, but he managed very well indeed, and did several flights. Fly well, young one," Van den Berg wrote on Facebook.

Joburg's Roodekrans black eagle chick takes to the skies for first time

The juvenile black eagle eating breakfast delivered by mom Makatsa, 28 August 2020, in the Walter Sisulu Botanical Garden, Roodepoort. Picture: Facebook / Black Eagle Project Roodekrans / Jimmy Kuys

Draper said members of the public and wildlife enthusiasts are invited to send in their suggested names for Makatsa and Mahlori's new chick, and stand a chance of winning some prizes.

Submissions can be made by email, by clicking here. The closing date is Friday 4 September.

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