As Bald Eagle season quickly approaches, I am reminded that everyone has a few favourite eagle nests. Some like to cheer Jackie and Shadow at Big Bear while others like Harriet and M15 at the Southwest Florida nest or Samson and Gabby at the Northeast Florida nest. Others love Mr and Mrs North at the Decorah Eagles, the Pittsburg-Hayes or the new couple, Anna and Louis, who had the first eagle fledge from a nest in Kisatchie National Forest since 2013, last year. I could list so many because there are so many streaming cams on Bald Eagle nests in the United States. It is their National Bird and there is a lot of patriotism surrounding some of the nests! Some individuals do not like to watch birds eating birds and mammals but, did you know that the diet of the Alaskan Bald Eagles is almost exclusively salmon? the same will apply to many of the Bald Eagles out in British Columbia. Bald Eagles eat what is in front of them; they are opportunists. So the diet will vary regionally. Sadly, they also eat carrion, dead animals, many of which are on the highways and the eagles get hurt or killed flying down to get the food or the remains left from hunters full of lead shot.
I caught up with a few of the Bald Eagle couples recently. Anna and Louis have returned to the nest they used in the Kisatchie National Forest. Cody and Steve have really worked on the camera situation and there is now sound, too. You have a broken screen showing the landscape and then another view looking directly down into the nest. Cody and Steve are part of the forestry staff. They also ‘man’ the chat. I am terribly grateful for their active involvement in the nest. They have worked hard to make it a fabulous viewing and learning experience for all of us. It was a real joy to watch the first time parents figure out how to parent a growing eaglet last year!
Samson and Gabby have been working on their nest for quite some time. It is comforting to wake up in the mornings and see them roosting on the branch together.
I use that word ‘comforting’ because at any moment something could happen to one or both of the adults. That is certainly the history of Samson’s parents, Romeo and Juliet, who raised their young in this nest. So for both of them to show up every morning and every evening is simply – well, it takes a lot of weight off the mind. Of course, the same applies to all birds on all nests.
Here is a very short slide show that someone posted showing various stages of Legacy’s development last year. Legacy was such a sweetheart. Samson and Gabby did not hold back on the teaching. They had to be parents and siblings, too, so that Legacy would learn how to live in the world beyond the nest.
You may also remember all of the worries over Legacy’s survival when she got Avian Pox. It was a mild case and she not only survived but, also thrived. Legacy became a gorgeous strong fledgling.
Harriet and M15 are getting ready for another season. Harriet has been bringing in monstrous size sticks (someone referred to them as logs) to the nest in Fort Myers. I am so excited.
E17 and E18 were riots last year. I originally thought 17 was going to kill 18. You might recall they were sent to CROW for their eye infection and 17 had ‘time out’. I think the two of them in care for those five days melted everyone’s hearts. Harriet and M15 are old hands at raising chicks and when the pair got into too much bonking, both parents stepped in and fed one or the other. By the time the pair fledged, they were inseparable, best buddies.
Lady Hawk catches one of their first ‘rock’em sock’ems’.
Here they are as fledglings battling over a prey drop. There was not a dry eye in the house when these two finally flew away to find their own territory.
Harriet and M15 have been at the nest since September working on it for another year. What a beautiful couple!
If you have been watching the territorial battles going on at the Captiva Nest on Santibel Island in Florida, word has come that the former male adult, Joe, has reclaimed his nest. I cannot confirm this as none of the eagles have leg bands. That is what someone posted on the Bald Eagle 101 FB page.
I will have lots more Bald Eagle news in the days to come. There are also other birds beginning to get their nests ready for breeding season. Jack and Diane have been at the Captiva Osprey Nest in St Petersburg, Florida and the Royal Albatross are arriving at Taiaroa Head, NZ. There are now 80 adults there. One of the founders of the colony was Grandma and this is a lovely video on the importance of her to the present and future of the colony.
A quick check on the Australian falcon nests show that all are doing fine. The Collins Street Four run up and down the gutter. As a result their legs are getting really strong. Diamond continues to get Yurruga to stretch for food so that she will strengthen her neck. At the 12:23:40 fish drop on the Port Lincoln Osprey Barge, Little Bob didn’t think he wanted any food at first. Then he changed his mind and went barreling in between Middle and Big so he could get to Mum’s beak. Neither of them blinked. This nest is so civil! Ringing will take place sometime during the first week of November and one or all three will be fitted with a GPS satellite tracker. (I was told all three awhile ago).
For those who want to see the Season of the Osprey, this is a reminder that it is showing in the US tomorrow. Please check your local stations for the correct time in your region.
Take care everyone. Thank you so much for joining me. Have a great day wherever you are.
Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: the KNF Bald Eagle Cam, NEFlorida and the AEF, SWFlorida and the Pritchett family, and the Port Lincoln Osprey Project.