3 April 2022
One of my favourite White-tailed eagle females is Milda. I have mentioned her before in my blog. Her nest is in Durbe County in Estonia. It has been a rough year for Milda since her long-term mate was missing and presumed dead in late March of 2021. Milda heroically tried to incubate the eggs without food for 8 straight days to the point of starvation. Several males offered hope and then didn’t. As if with a miracle the two chicks hatched and we all celebrated only for them to perish because of one of the males taking the food off the nest and then not covering them. But, that was last year, and there was hope for this one but again, disappointment when the eggs laid were broken by an interloper.
The females on the nests need a good strong partner who is working with them cooperatively!
The White-tail Eagle is so rare in Eastern Europe. Latvia, Estonia, and Poland are doing what they can to encourage breeding sites.
The White tail eagles are Haliaeetus Albicilla. They are the largest raptors in Europe and are located from Greenland to Asia. The Eagle Directory describes the plumage like this, “White-Tailed Eagles are almost entirely brown. They have a yellow-gray head, neck, breast, and lesser wing coverts, and the belly, thighs, and rump are dark brown. The flight feathers are close to black and their wedge-shaped tail, as their name would indicate, is white. The tibia are feathered, though the tarsi are not, and the legs and feet are yellow. The eyes, beak, and cere are yellow.”
As you can seen from the images of the White-tailed Eagles below, the plumage can vary and of course, we have to take into account the lighting and settings on these streaming cams. These eagles grow to be from 74-92 cm long with a wingspan of 193-244 cm. The females are larger than the males as in most raptor species and weight between 3.7 and 6.9 kg. The males come in at 3.1 to 5.4 kilos. Their life expectancy can be up to 36 years. They eat mainly fish but also hunt mammals such as rabbits and birds. I have seen them also be opportunistic and bring some carrion to the nest. Indeed, it was a crane brought to the White-tailed eagle nest last year that killed two wee chicks because that crane brought with it the highly pathogenic Avian Flu, H5N1. While the birds are listed as not being under threat in some areas, they are very rare in Eastern Europe and the UK is trying to reintroduce them. While they may lay 1-3 eggs, it is most typically 2 eggs that will be incubated by both parents (as you see below) and hatch within 34-46 days. Fledging typically takes place between 77-90 days after which the fledglings are depending on the parents for 4-6 weeks while they learn to fly and hunt.
In older White-tailed eagles, the head and neck can be almost white.
The adults in the images are in a nest in the Woziwoda Forest District. It is a special project of the Eagle Conservation Committee, the Woziwoda Forest District and Polish Radio promotion both old forests and the White-tailed Eagles. The nest is highly protected. There can be no activity within a radius of 200 m. Setting up the camera were problematic and the workers who installed it had to do this cautiously when the eagles were away.
The nest you are looking at is on a 140 year old pine tree at a height of 25 metres. This nest has been occupied for four years. It is known that there was one fledge in 2021.
For transparency, I do not know any of the history of this nest so I do not know whether to give you caution or not. I am attempting to find out. The setting is simply beautiful and if some of you have been watching this nest in the past, please let me know. The chat is in Polish and I understand eggs are being incubated but it is not clear how many or when they were laid by the information provided.
Here is the link:
Just an update on 2 other nests: The adults at Dale Hollow have brought in a teaser 2 bite fish and a small sucker early in the morning. Big ate both of them. No other food has been provided to the eaglets up to 18:30 this evening. I sure wish they would bring a whopper on the nest tonight for both. That said, Little Middle ate well yesterday and is OK. Sadly, Little Middle continues to pull that monofilament line. Thank you to ‘CA’ from Belgium who sent me this 15 second video clip. I could not see him dragging the nesting material, my mistake.
Annie and the new male continue to bond in the scrape box. I have caught him incubating a few times today. I sure hope he is a good guy to our Annie! I don’t think any male will ever fill Grinnell’s shoes – he was a huge character in every aspect of a raptor’s life but any bird who will care for Annie, Grinnell’s eggs and now on of his own is gold in my books!
Karl II has spent his 4th night in the Ukraine not far from Kyiv. Anne7 posted this image of where he was hunting for food this afternoon. I am so grateful for the Looduskalender Forum and their English pages and to the tirelessness of Anne7 to inform all of us of Karl’s whereabouts. I wish him to replenish his energy and get to Estonia! Fast.
You may find yourselves spending too much time looking at the Dale Hollow nest hoping for a miracle. I had to begin to pull back today. It is mentally exhausting. We cannot make the adults bring in more food and legions of you have contacted enough people to get help. ‘L’ has had a promising conversation with Al Cerere who asked the important questions. If help can come, he is the guy to make it happen. We simply have to wait and hope. My heart breaks for both of these eaglets but, of course, most especially Little Middle.
Our weather is set to soar to a high of 8 degrees Celsius. We will all be outside in our summer clothes! Well, not quite but it will feel like that. It was a damp day, cold to the bones British type weather today. Birds are arriving and I really hope to get out to see some of them in the morning tomorrow. My post will likely arrive late in the afternoon.
Thank you so much for joining me this evening. Please take care. See you soon!
Thank you to the following for their streaming cam where I took my screen captures: Cal Falcons and Bieluki On line Bory Tucholskie.