Late Saturday in Bird World

05 March 2022

There is snow falling on Big Bear Valley. While Shadow and Jackie have over 7000 feathers in various layers to keep them warm and dry, our little chick doesn’t. It has only its soft natal down. Jackie and Shadow will both have a brood patch. It is an area between the breast bones. When egg laying is imminent, the feathers begin to fall off leaving an area of skin. That skin will keep the chick warm as the body temperature of an eagle is 105 degrees F. Eagles do well in cold snowy weather, possibly better than in the heat of summer – except for the wee ones.

The chick has already been fed at 07:45 by Shadow and by Jackie at 09:57. This feeding appears to be the third and began roughly at 12:50.

beautiful image of the parent looking down on the wee babe.

I often have trouble figuring out who is on the nest unless they are standing beside one another. Jackie is so much bigger but Shadow is inclined to have to move the sticks around. Is this Shadow on the nest?

Having moved the stick to the edge of the nest bowl – to keep the chick from running out? It is actually a good idea. Last year, the chick ran out from under Missy at the Berry College Eagle nest and perished in the cold. Smart to put that there!

You will see that the snow is falling and gets worse towards the end of this this short feeding.

The little one is alert and the adult is working hard to make sure that every bite counts. It doesn’t always with the newly hatched.

This baby is adorable balancing itself with the tip of its wings. I cannot see any indication that anything is happening with the second egg. In some ways it would be better to have only one in this weather. As they get bigger it is always easier to fit one six-week old chick under the adult than two. They have to be kept warm and dry.

The snow is really starting to come down. The chick must be chilled. Look at its tiny pink feet. It has managed to get some nourishment and there appears to be a tiny little crop.

Here is a look at Shadow delivering that large fish with its head entirely in tact. Looks like Shadow and Samson both like to wear skinny black jeans.

Safely tucked under its parent it will dry quickly from the little snow flakes that stuck to its down and will be toasty warm.

This is the forecast for the Jackie and Shadow’s nest:

There is a huge piece of fish that you can see in the image below. Lots of food for this week one and some for the adults, too.

The preliminary test results have been released on the Hilton Head Island eaglets that fell out of their nest. Their deaths were caused by the highly pathogenic Avian Flu that is spreading, sadly, to other parts of the east coast and Florida. It is believed that a duck brought to the nest was the carrier. The parents may not get ill as they are larger than the wee babes. This is very sad news.

Far away in Australia, OGK flew in last evening to find that his Quarry Track chick had been left alone by the Mum, YRK, the previous night. It is the beginning of what is known as the post-guard stage. The chick is left alone and both parents are out foraging to be able to meet all of its food requirements as well as theirs. No doubt QT chick slept much better with Dad guarding it the following evening.

Here is an extremely short video clip of the trio at the Dale Hollow Bald Eagle nest on the border of Tennessee and Kentucky. The adults are River and Obey. It is cute – shows how those little ones can really move around the nest when they want to!

Dale Hollow also posted a 5-minute video of on of the feedings. These three are so cute. It is so nice to watch them move about the nest and, just think, in about a week and a bit, this will be happening at Big Bear!

At the end of Ferris Akel’s tours, he always goes through the Cornell Campus looking for Big Red and Arthur. He has found Arthur hunting along the 366 highway.

Ferris looked and looked for Big Red and he found both her and Arthur on top of their favourite building, Bradfield. Big Red is doing a lot of preening. This is getting so eggciting. There is already a lottery on the Cornell Red Tail Hawk FB group for when the first egg will be laid.

Andy has brought a late Saturday fish onto the nest at Captiva. It was 16:47.

Lena is feeding her three chicks, each more ravenous than they have been as they are in super growth stage. Little Bob has pushed himself right up there so he will get some. No worries about anyone being hungry tonight.

It is the end of a good day. All of the nests that I regularly keep track of are doing well. Port Lincoln is, of course, a lonely site of a nest. It would be good to see Ervie. But, enjoy the birds. We cannot take anything for granted. In a blink something can happen. So enjoy the moment.

It is -4 and grey on the Canadian Prairies. Sharpie has been in and around the garden looking for lunch several times today. I am always glad to see him. Little Woodpecker – both Mr and Mrs – have been eating suet and there are lots of European Starlings and House Sparrows. I have not seen the three Grey Squirrels today but Little Red has been in and out.

Take care everyone. Thank you for joining me. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: Captiva Osprey Cam and Window on Wildlife, Friends of Big Bear Valley, Ferris Akel Tours, Dale Hollow Bald Eagles, and Cornell Bird Labs and NZ DOC.

2 Comments

  1. Thanks for this report too, Mary Ann. I feel a little more reassured about the Big Bear nest – your reminder that adult eagles do fine in the freezing temps. And they’re doing a great job keeping the little one warm.
    Good to know all’s well on most of the other nests too!

    1. I was also worried and then looked back in some old notes when someone so wise told me not to worry about them in the cold. There are more eagles up in Alaska! It is the heat that is really bad for them. That said that little eaglet is not equipped for that cold. Jackie and Shadow are doing a great job juggling everything.

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