Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Here's some info from Bent's on Bald Eagle plumage and molting:

Plumages.--When first hatched the downy young eaglet is completely covered with long, thick, silky down, longest on the head; it is "smoke gray" on the back, paler gray on the head and under parts, and nearly white on the throat. When the young bird is about three weeks old this light gray or whitish down is pushed out and replaced by short, woolly, thick down of a dark, sooty-gray color, "hair brown" to "drab." The plumage begins to appear on the body and wings, scattered brownish-black feathers showing on the scapulars, back, and sides of the breast, when about five or six weeks old; at this age the wing quills are breaking their sheaths. At the age of seven or eight weeks the eaglet is fairly well feathered, with only a little down showing between the feather tracks, and the flight feathers are fully half grown.

In fresh juvenal plumage the young eagle is uniformly dark colored "bone brown" to "clove brown" above and below; the flight feathers are nearly black, but there is usually a slight sprinkling of grayish white in the tail. This plumage is worn throughout the first year without much change, except by wear and fading, the under parts fading to "hair brown."

After the first annual molt, the next summer, the plumage becomes paler and much mixed with white in very variable amounts. Individual feathers on the back, scapulars, and breast are more or less extensively white, those of the breast and belly being largely white in some specimens. I am not sure whether this is a second or third year plumage, or both; if the latter, the third year is whiter than the second. The tail is more extensively mottled with white than in the first year, and the feathers of the crown and occiput are broadly tipped with pale buff. After the next annual molt the plumage of the body becomes darker, much like that of the adult, but lightly tipped with white below and mottled with white on the rump and upper tail coverts; the latter and the tail are now quite extensively white; the head is mixed with white above, about half white and half brown, or nearly clear, dirty white below. This is probably the third year plumage. At the next annual molt, early in the fourth year, the bird assumes a plumage that is practically adult, with a pure-white head and tail; but usually remaining signs of immaturity are seen, such as a few brown feathers in the head and some dusky mottling near the tip of the tail.

The length of time required to assume the fully adult plumage does not seem to have been positively determined, and it may take longer than I have estimated. Adults and immature birds have one complete annual molt, which is very gradual, and prolonged through spring, summer, and fall. The flight feathers are molted mainly during July, August, and September.

Wednesday November 29

Mid week thread.

Saw both eagles on the nest last night.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Wednesday November 22

Wednesday thread. Sorry about blogger yesterday, it was all bloggered up for me in the AM.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Thursday Nov. 16

Here's some news you folks have been waiting for:

We met yesterday on getting the cam going.

We are going to outsource the web access this year to allow the still cam a much better refresh rate than the 30 seconds that our network folks afforded us last year. I've mentioned to a few folks that we face significant hurdles regarding network security and bandwidth limitations, and we believe this approach gets us past these issues. We are working through the contracting now, and have targeted Dec. 6th as the start date. We will strive to hit that target.

We will also experiment with a wide shot camera along with the existing cam. We recently got a brand new microwave receiver which should help with cam reliability.

The live video will start on or around February 1, and will stay on through the end of July.

We are also looking now at technology for next season that will improve the cam, and add audio. Based on the behavior of these eagles, we figure we only have a couple of weeks window in August to make the improvements.

The cam has been on here for a few weeks now, and we have watched the eagles slowly preparing the nest with new sticks.

I know that this has been a long haitus, but hang in there and we'll be up soon.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Monday 13 November

New thread. Sorry for the slowdown in new threads. Back from CT, and had to deal with a breakdown saturday on the highway more than 100 miles from home. Loads of fun :>).

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Wednesday November 8

New Thread.

Had a visit from Mission Wolf today, with their ambassador wolf, Maggie.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Sunday 5 Nov

Still at NCTC this am for the film festival. Both eagles spent the night in the nest last night. The guard could see them in the moonlight.

fresh thread.

Friday, November 03, 2006