Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Wed. May 31

In DC all day and just had time now to check in. Big storms this early AM, and the weather is supposed to moderate.

Sorry for the continued issues with the live cam. I'll be at NCTC tomorrow, so I'll pursue a better fix. Next thursday night is an evening lecture series program at NCTC. If you come out for the show, this time on Green Infrastructure, featuring my colleague Mark Benedict at the Conservation Fund, you'll be able to get a great view of the nest. More info at then click on events and Conservation and Community.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Tuesday May 30

A hot one today. Live video feed should be up shortly.

more later.

UPDATE 1:13 PM: Live feed is back up

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Sunday May 28

Summer's here and the live cam is staying up. Hope everyone gets out and does something this holiday weekend.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Friday May 26

Lots of speculation on the comments about first flights. I'll ask Karen here for her thoughts.

more soon.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Tuesday May 23

It is an amazing day here weatherwise--truly a bluebird day in West Virginia. A deep blue sky, 53 degrees and a 35 degree dewpoint! Was in the 30s this am!

Our eagles are very active.

A few questions from Sunny:

"A couple of questions: Are the adults still beak-feeding the eaglets? And since the adults aren't on the nest very much any more, is one always in sight of the nest, or are they 'out and about' all day? Thanks for educating us!"

The eaglets tend to be helping themselves nowadays. About 9:15 this AM one of the adults brought in a fresh fish, and they all started in on it. The other adult even came in for a minute or two to get a few bites. Regarding the adults, there does always seem to be one within a few seconds of the nest. Often they are perched in the sycamore nest tree or in an adjacent tree.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Monday 22 May

Lights, Camera, Action.

Back from NE and see that the cam is on. Great work NCTC Folks.

More later.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Friday May 19

Hi Folks,

Here's the latest on the webcam problems:

From: Karen Lindsey
Sent: 05/19/2006 12:49 PM
To: Steve Chase
Subject: Eagle Cam

Hi Steve,

It appears that there is some problem with the camera at the tree end. We
went to the bottom of the tree today and could not get a video signal on
the portable monitor. John and Mike are thinking on it, and if they come
up with any ideas, we'll give it a try.


Folks, we will do everything we can to get this thing going again. Please bear with us.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Wednesday May 17

Here's a late Post from our Land Manager:

"Our eaglets are 9 weeks old this week. As you can see, they have replaced
most of their downy feathers with the darker juvenile body and flight
feathers. This transition between the down and the juvenile feathers must
be complete before the eaglets can be successful in their first flight.
Bald eagle research suggests that this transition takes place between 10
and 12 weeks, depending on the eaglets themselves, their general health,
and their diet up until this time. The NCTC eaglets have had very loyal
and attentive parents who have brought ample food for all three eaglets to
survive and develop. A good sign that fledging is nearing is the increased
activity by the eaglets--flapping their wings, jumping up and down, moving
about the nest, sitting on the edge of the nest, etc. However, they won't
attempt flight until their feathers are ready. At that point the parents
will begin a behavior of enticing the eaglets out of the nest. They will
do this by not bringing food to the nest for the eaglets, but rather flying
nearby with food in their talons and calling to the eaglets. Soon, the
eaglets, out of hunger and in response to the parent's call will begin
flapping vigorously and take their first leap into the air. Most eaglets
fly a short distance and make a clumsy landing either in a nearby tree or
on the ground. Wherevery they land the parents will reward them with food
immediately, and continue to feed and encourage them to fly. If an eaglet
lands on the ground, it is important to get back in the air as soon as they
can so they can be safe from other predators on the ground. Our eaglets
have been demonstrating lots of wing flapping and jumping, so they are
nearing the time of fledging. However, the last two broods from these
parents have been fairly close to the 12 week mark. I don't expect them to
fledge for another couple of weeks, but it could happen. Keep your eye on
them, and if anyone sees the first fledge, please be sure to let us know
through the website email or the eagle cam blog."--Karen

Also, I've been looking at the web statistics for the cams and they are impressive. More than 1,000,000 visitors and over 17 million hits on the sites. Folks from 50 countries have looked in on our eagles including Peru, China, New Zealand and India.

Will be out of the office the next few days, but will be checking in.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Tuesday May 16

I'm trying to get the status on the live cam. Still not working...

Update 5:00 PM--Still not working, my apologies...I'm in DC the next few days, but will still try to track down the problems.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Monday PM

Things have dried out a bit here. Lots of speculation as to when the oldest eaglet may finally fly. I too have seen him lift off a little in the nest, but I still think we have a few weeks to go for a full flight. It will be the oldest's 8 week birthday on thursday.

Wet Monday May 15

Live video is on, and the rain looks like it's moving on, although the forecast is for showers through Tuesday. Seems like our eaglets are getting used to the rain.

Tried to get a picture posted but blogger is all clogged up. I'll try again later.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Friday, May 12, 2006

Friday May 12

I have been out of the office again today, so I just took a quick look at the site and caught one of the adults bringing in more twigs with leaves. I know that folks have asked if we could explain that. My only guess would be that it is just normal maintenance of the nest and that leaves are easier to get now than dried grass.

On other questions--we do track how many hits we get on the eagle cam site and the live video site. I don't track the blog stats, but that's really secondary. I'll get the cam data and let you folks know how many people are watching. I think that number is a large one.

We'll also get a status report from our land manager next week.

Weather is pretty good right now, but more storms may be headed in tonight.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Heavy Weather Thursday

Wow. The cold front came through about six this evening, with wild winds and heavy, heavy rain. One of the adults got down in the nest and helped the trio ride out the storm. As said in the comments, they did look like a bunch of drowned rats. I too was worried that one was missing for a time, but by 8:30 or so you could again see all three.

Thursday May 11

Three wet, but tough, little eagles.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Tuesday May 9

Another cool wet day. Be down in DC today so here's an early breakfast shot.

Monday, May 08, 2006

May 8 #2

A late breakfast just got delivered. The Live cam is back on.

May 8

Wet day today. Here's a shot of eight week old eaglets up at Lake Umbagog NWR in New Hampshire, photo by Bill Hanson .

Friday, May 05, 2006

May 5

We've gotten some questions on first flights. Here's a description, again from Bent:

"At last the day comes for the eaglets to leave the nest. Sometimes they do so voluntarily; but in some cases it seems necessary to use persuasion. In Dr. Herrick's (1924c) "first season with the Eagles the young seemed disinclined to leave their eyrie and were finally starved out and lured away." After two days of scanty feeding and two days of fasting, "as the old Eagle with the fish was circling just above the nest the Eaglet was jumping with legs rigid and flapping frantically; suddenly it leaped into the air, and for a second seemed to hang, as if poised over the eyrie; at that moment the circling Eagle began to scream, and swooping down at the hovering and now screaming youngster passed him within six feet; a minute later the Eaglet, still holding to the air, drifted fifteen feet or more beyond the margin of the nest; with vigorous wing-beats it began to move eastward, following the mother bird with the fish and made a full mile in its first independent flight; it finally landed in the branches of a tree on the edge of a strip of woods and doubtless was there allowed to feed on the tantalizing fish."

For some time after they leave the nest, probably all through their first summer, the young eagles associate with their parents in the home territory and frequently return to the nest or their favorite perches. But they are eventually driven out to earn their own living and seek new territory. They are never allowed to establish a breeding station near their parental home."

Update: Watch when the eaglets spread their wings. There's still a lot of down there, thus we need to see a bunch more feathers growing in before these critters are ready to soar.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

How Big are They Now?

One of our blog readers, Jo from Maryland, sent me this photograph from the Blackwater NWR eagle site. She asked are our eaglets this big now?

It is tough to gauge their size on the cam. Our eaglets are a bit smaller than the one pictured, we're guessing this Blackwater NWR bird is a week or two older than our oldest eaglet.

May 4

Lunchtime shot. I could see the biggest eaglet standing on the side of the nest as I drove in this morning. These critters are growing fast.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Wednesday May 3

Some great bald eagle life history info from Arthur Cleveland Bent's Life Histories of North American Birds:

On the growing eaglets:

"With the increase in size and strength comes an increase in activity, with more time devoted to play and exercise in preparation for flight. Activities begin by walking or jumping about the nest, which soon becomes trodden quite flat, picking up and playing with sticks, learning to grasp objects in the talons, and stretching and flapping their growing wings. With tail raised and head lowered the eaglet backs up to the edge of the nest and shoots its liquid excreta clear of the nest to form a "whitewashed" circle on the ground below.

"Later on the flight exercises begin in earnest, of which Dr. Herrick (1924c) writes:"

"After a while a simple routine is established--raising the wings until they seem to touch over the back, taking a few strokes and jumping; the flapping gradually comes to take their feet above the floor of the eyrie and at eight weeks of age they may be able to rise two feet or more in the air; this ability attained, they are liable to go higher and higher and in a fairly stiff breeze, which helps to sustain if not stimulate them, they begin to soar and hover. In 1922 we said "good-bye" to the Eaglets more than once before knowing the long practise they required to produce that perfect coordination of muscles and nerves which was necessary for confidence in the air. During the last week of regular eyrie life in that year they would sometimes rise to a height of fifteen feet, and soar for a full minute, going even beyond the confines of the nest and always with talons down to facilitate landing upon their return."

and on food:

"The large amount of food found in the nests of bald eagles containing young indicates that the eaglets, even when small, are fed on much the same food that the adults eat, or that the adults devour much of the food that is brought to the nest, or perhaps both. Mr. Pennock found in a nest with two very young eaglets, "certainly not over a few days old," an entire black duck, a headless black duck, and a headless mullet that had weighed 1 1/2 to 2 pounds. In another nest he found a partly eaten lesser scaup duck, and entire horned grebe, and three other grebes more or less mutilated. Mr. Nicholson says that the amount of food found in the nests is astonishing, and often much of it has not been touched. He lists rabbits, mostly marsh rabbits, other undetermined mammals, turtles, coots, Florida ducks, lesser scaup ducks, pied-billed grebes, little blue herons, snowy egrets, terns, killdeers, catfish (by far the most frequent species found and some up to 15 pounds in weight), black bass, seargeant fish, crevalle, pompano, and other fish. Under one nest he found between 40 and 60 skulls of mammals, about the size of rabbits. He has never found snakes in an eagle's nest, nor has he ever seen wool or bones of lambs, even in the heart of the sheep country. There is no doubt, however, that bald eagles do occasionally carry off lambs, as several good observers have seen them do it, and the bones have been found in and under their nests. Probably many of these were picked up dead, but sheep herders generally regard eagles as destructive enemies."

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Late Entry May 2

Thanks to all for bearing with us with our technical difficulties the past few days. Also, it was a really busy day at NCTC with no time to do much on the blog except to check on it for a few minutes. We'll get an update from our land manager soon, I promise.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Big Day--May 1

It's been a big day for the eagles. Not seeing the cam for the weekend makes the differences from last week, both appearance and behavior, even easier to see.

One of the adults brought in this afternoon what looks like a pigeon. The adult gave a lesson in plucking feathers, and then our youngest eaglet stepped up, put talons on the pigeon, and started trying to pluck.

In addition, two of the eaglets were helping themselves to the meal, without being fed. Combine this with the largest eaglet perched fully upright on the edge of the nest, and I think the kids are now adolescents. Hope they behave.

Cam Back Up

Update 1:05 EDT--Video feed is back up.

Monday May 1

We came in expecting to just reset things, but the technical issues are out in our Denver office, not here in WV.

So hang in there, once those folks get to work we'll get things reset and hopefully the problems will be solved and the pictures will be rolling.