Florida Baldies

There are a number of Bald Eagle nests on streaming cams in Florida: Captiva, NEFlorida, SWFlorida, the WRDC, and Osceola to name five. Three of the nests have eaglets who are getting their blood feathers and beginning to look like gorgeous dark espresso juveniles. One nest did not have viable eggs on its first clutch and NE Florida has eaglets who are, on average 14 days old.

Gabby and Samson really had a weekend of bad weather. Rain and high winds rocked the nest but it did not rock this great eagle couple. Samson piled the fish on the nest so the entire family could eat regardless of the weather and Gabby did an amazing job of keeping NE26 and 27 dry and fed. This is an incredible team!

NE 26 is 15 days old and NE 27 is 13 days old today.

The eaglets at NEFlorida are in the process of losing their natal down and getting the thermal down. At that time they will be able to more regulate their own temperature.

At the WRDC nest of Ron and Rita, the eaglets are getting their blood feathers or juvenile feathers. I say the word ‘blood’ feather because the middle area of the feather – often called the quill – is full of blood. If it should break, the eagle could bleed to death. Just this morning Rita stepped on R2’s wing and there was concern.

R1 is 37 days old and R2 is 36 days old today.

That is R2 nearest the adult. Note the lovely thermal down and the dark feathers. They are growing in through the follicles where the natal down was (or so I am told). What is interesting to me in terms of eaglet behaviour is that R2 is beginning to walk. He is not fully steady but he will move from one side of the nest to the other on his feet.

There he made it. You can see that R1 has more juvenile feathers than R2. It is a good way to distinguish them.

Here is some information on the stages of development.

https://journeynorth.org/tm/eagle/annual/facts_nestlings.html

The eaglet at the Osceola Bald Eagle Nest is ahead of the eaglets at the WRDC in terms of its plumage development. There are three Bald Eagle nests with only one hatchling so far: Osceola, Kistachie National Forest, and Berry College. The single at Osceola is actively looking over the edge of the nest to the world beyond. An adult is providing security on a branch to the left.

It might look like E19 and E20 are alone on the nest but just like the eaglet at Osceola, they aren’t. Harriet or M15 or both will be up on the higher branches keep guard over their nest and their territory.

The plumage development on the SWFlorida Eaglets is between that of Osceola and WRDC it appears with Osceola being the most developed.

The Captiva Bald Eagle nest on Santibel Island of Connie and Clive did not have any hatchlings from the first clutch of eggs. It is unclear whether Connie and Clive will try for a second clutch. They each worked burying the egg yesterday and placing palm leaves over it. Surely a means of closure and new beginnings.

Other Bird World News:

Richmond continues to come to the Whirley Crane and spend time waiting for Rosie’s arrival. Today he stayed for over half an hour. Normally Rosie arrives right around Valentine’s Day. To get you in the mood for baby Ospreys, here is a compilation from last year and the triples: Sage, Poppy, and Lupin. It is nice to remember that Ervie was once this small! Oh, they grow and leave us way too fast.

Ervie is on the nest crying for Dad to deliver him a fish at the Port Lincoln Osprey Barge. The last fish delivery was yesterday at 15:07 so Ervie is very hungry this morning.

And breeding season has started at The Campanile Peregrine Falcon nest of Annie and Grinnell!!!!!!!!! Oh, how exciting!

I went to one of our local nature centres for my walk and to check on the little woodpecker that had a beak issue today. The temperature was only -7 C but the breeze off the lake made it feel much more colder.

The food in the feeders was almost gone. The Nuthatch was trying to get thee last of the suet.

There were a pair of Black-capped Chickadees feeding on Black Oil Seed.

The little woodpecker was not at the feeders when we departed the centre or returned.

It is hard to describe to anyone how much snow we have had. Here in the park it is almost at the top of the picnic tables.

We walked across the frozen lake and back. It was so quiet. The snow is dry and it crunched under our feet.

It was a lovely day despite the chill to be outside. I felt blessed.

If you are interested in what is happening on the high seas in terms of fishing, I will provide you with a link to the Sea Shepherd site. Paul Watson is a Canadian and he is intent on bringing to justice those who fish the seas illegally. Sea Shepherd also works with countries helping with illegal fishing in their waters. In September I had a friend taking photographs on the Faroe Islands when the largest pod of Dolphins was forced on shore. That report with images and why it was considered an illegal hunt is on the Sea Shepherd site under News. The fishing impacts the sea birds like the Albatross. If huge illegal trawlers continue to harvest 24/7 seven days a week, the fish stocks in the ocean will be depleted. That along with warming waters is a huge threat to the Albatross and Petrels.

Once you go on the site, to find the latest news you have to click on Media and then news.

Thank you so much for joining me today. There is so much happening with the Bald Eagles that my mind has to stop and focus on a few at a time. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: NEFlorida Bald Eagles and the AEF, WRDC, Osceola Bald Eagles, SWFlorida and D Pritchett, Port Lincoln Osprey Project.

4 Comments

  1. Mary Ann, thank you for this report and those of yesterday. (The weekend got away from me and I didn’t get a chance to write comments. Am always frustrated when that happens!)

    It’s always so much fun to see your photos and to hear about your birds and critters at home. And wow, that’s a lot of snow!!

    I continue to love hearing about Ervie and hope he’ll soon become more confident when it comes to fishing. He certainly has a dedicated dad!

    As for all the eaglets, I’m so glad they made it through the storms okay. My highest admiration goes to all the eagle parents who seem to know exactly what to do. Talk about dedication! And yes, they’re growing up so fast. (Thanks for explaining about blood feathers. I didn’t know they could bleed to death when one gets broken. That’s certainly a scary thought. Is that true of just the young ones, or is it also true for the adults?)

    Thank you again for all you do, Mary Ann.

    1. You are welcome. I will put this in tomorrow or later today because if you are wondering so is someone else! Once the feathers are fully grown – by the time the eaglets fledge – there is no longer any blood in the quill like part of the feather – the calamus – . Then no fear. Last year on the Captiva nest the last one (I forget if it was Hope or Peace) actually bled to death because of the rodenticide poisoning thinning the blood and not allowing it to coagulate. Terrible stuff. It has to bet banned. Or people stop buying it and so no demand, no product. — Yes, they will bleed to death if the blood does not coagulate but, it will on a normal eagle just like on a person. They are all good parents – some are great – just like humans. I adore them. Ervie. What can we say? He is a very loud character that is adorable. LOL.

  2. Linda Kontol says:

    Thank you Mary Ann for all these updates and photos! It is really nice to see the little Chickadee s and nut hatch there on your walk. I do hope the little woodpecker is ok.
    I hope Dad brings Ervie a fish soon! It’s so good to,know the eagles and their families made it through the storms. I kept them all in my prayers.
    Have a great evening Mary Ann and take care!
    Linda

    1. You are so welcome. I was so hoping that the woodpecker would have come. I wonder if it might be because the suet was almost gone. It would have had a hard time getting anything from that little piece. I will check every time I am out there…and yes. I must see if Ervie got a fish!

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