Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Wednesday Update

We have been seeing a small number of comment spams recently. While there have been less than five in the past several days, that's way more than we ever have had in the past couple of years.

So, I'm going to turn on word verification for a time to see if that stops the spam. This will require that you type in a code that blogger will randomly generate before you are able to submit your comment. We'll do this for a few days and see how it goes.

The next step would be a requirement that folks register with the blog in order to comment. I'd like to not have to do that right now.

You regulars know my email, so feel free to let me know what you think of this. If it turns out to be just a pain for everyone, I can turn it back off.

Sorry for this.


New thread.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Monday #2

Update: warm day today. It's good to see the eagles "relaxing" a bit more after the weather the past couple of weeks. I know I've said this before, but we are getting very close to activating the live feed. There have been lots of technical challenges because of the addition of audio. Special thanks to the Eaglet Momsters and the Friends of the NCTC for their support. When things are ready you folks will be the first to know.


New thread.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Eagles and Habitat

Hi folks. I asked one of the Fish and Wildlife Service's foremost bald eagle experts for his thoughts on what is going on at the Norfolk Nest and other places around the region.

Over the past decade, biologists and naturalists alike have observed an increase in the number of incidents of bald eagles involving agressive behavior during the nesting season. The Service's Office of Law Enforcement and Ecological Services Chesapeake Bay Field Office have received numerous eye-witness accounts of eagles dropping from the sky and succum injury due to fierce combat. During the 2007 calender year, the number of injured eagles received at the Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research Center had significantly increased (possibly trippled) in the number of eagles requiring treatment.

I really do not have a definitive answer to the mate-stealing behavior noted in the eagle pairs in Norfolk and the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. I do, however, believe that the dramatic increase in the number of eagle pairs in the Chesapeake Bay has resulted in eagles fighting for "choice" habitat near the optimal feeding areas.

At the U.S. Army Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland (northern Bay) nesting eagles are clustered closer together due to undisturbed forested shoreline habitat and a high number of fresh-water rivers creating a paradise for eagles. Currently, there are 44-48 nesting pairs established on the 72,000 acre installation. There have been several accounts of territorial fighting between eagles at the installation too, and likely, it will become more common as the Chesapeake Bay eagle population reaches it's natural carrying capacity.
So recovery is a double edged sword--we've got the numbers back up, but due to human development (in some areas), the amount of habitat has decreased, causing competition for the best nesting areas, and sometimes that competition is violent.


Another ice storm day. Frozen thread.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Norfolk Eagles

Here's a link to a story on the doings at the Norfolk Nest for those who haven't kept track.
But what has brought such intense attention to the NBG eagles is the Web cam which streams a video image of the nest around the clock over the Internet. Thousands of online eagle watchers in the U.S. and abroad monitor the progress of the eagles every day. The Eagle Cam has also been widely used as an educational tool in classrooms.


New thread

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Day Journal

Got this from Randy Robinson today, thought you'd like to see it:

Ma eagle braved the wind storm Sunday and the snow and ice today....90 ft.up in her sycamore tree.
She is setting on 3 eggs....night and day.
I saw the eagle pair mating this least it looked like that....hard to tell from 300 yards.
Maybe for insurance.... if the current clutch of eggs don't hatch.
This is the 3rd year in a row that she has laid 3 eggs.
Pretty unusual...eagles mostly lay 1 or 2 eggs.

A few minutes later she tucks her beak under her chickens, ducks and other birds do when they sleep. This helps conserve the heat that they loose through their beak.

Well, it's nearly 8pm and quite dark outside. The infrared beam of the nest cam
makes it appear that light is shining on the nest.....but infrared light is not visible to the human eye.
We see this image only because the camera can 'see' infrared light.
Don't know if science has determined whether eagles and other birds can see infrared.
If they can, the infrared light has never seemed to bother the NCTC eagles.
Ma eagle is still resting with her beak tucked under her wing.
If all goes well, the first egg should hatch @ the first week in March.

Yesterday's bad weather turned worse. Freezing rain started last night
and continues today. Everything is covered in a layer of ice, including ma eagle and her nest.
In the picture below, she is spreading her wings ..... the only way she can attempt to keep the nest somewhat dry.
But, when she spreads her wings like this, she looses her own body heat faster.
She is now depending on the male bird to bring her food to maintain her energy and body heat.
After a night and day of freezing rain, her feathers are soaked and she will loose body heat even faster.
This is similar weather to March 2007, which resulted in last years eggs not hatching.
The wetter the nest gets, the harder it is to keep the eggs warm enough to incubate.

It's mid afternoon....still no sign of the male eagle, and no food.
The rain has tapered off but the wind is picking up.
Sun is 'trying' to shine ..... maybe tomorrow will be a little warmer.

By late afternoon, the wind picks up and the male has finally returned.
But......where's the fish ?
Maybe just enough light to catch one before dark.....


Ice storm thread.
One has to give great admiration for the dedication of these two birds in protecting their eggs.

Monday, February 11, 2008


New thread.

Update: Here's a photo from Janet showing the three eggs:

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

PM picture, off the egg for a moment.

More info from the Delaware Valley Raptor Center:

Bald eagles usually lay two eggs, and both eaglets usually survive into adolescence. They help to keep the nest hygienic as they grow older by defecating over the rim. The central hollow that the adults created by wriggling their bodies from side to side begins to fill up with prey remains, pellets ejected by the young, and with green sprigs brought more or less constantly to the nest site by the adults. Some researchers theorized that the greenery, some of which contains natural insecticides, may help keep the nest free of insect pests. I also think the adults are strongly attracted to greenery as part of their nesting/breeding cycle, and have a strong need to handle them during this period. The adult birds may also snap off twigs from the top of the nest tree in order to get a better view of their surroundings.


New thread.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Monday #3

Seeing it's that time again, with an egg in the nest, here's some info on Bald Eagle nesting and eggs from Bent's.

Eggs.--Two eggs almost invariably make up a full set for the bald eagle, sometimes only one, and rarely three; in two or three cases four eggs have been found in a nest, but these may have been the product of two females. The eggs vary in shape from rounded-ovate to ovate, the former predominating. The shell is rough or coarsely granulated. The color is dull white or pale bluish white and unmarked, though often nest stained. Very rarely an egg shows a few slight traces of pale brown or buff markings.

The measurements of 50 eggs from Florida average 70.5 by 54.2 millimeters; the eggs showing the four extremes measure 78.8 by 56.2, 71.1 by 57.6, and 58.1 by 47 millimeters. The eggs are ridiculously small for large a bird. (Compare the relative sizes of the eggs of the ruddy duck, the sandpipers, or the hummingbirds.) Consequently the little eaglet requires a long time to develop.

Young.--The period of incubation is about 35 days, according to the most careful observers, though it has been otherwise estimated. Both parents assist in incubation and in the care of the young. Mr. Nicholson tells me that at every nest he has visited after dark he has found both birds at the nest, one incubating or brooding and one perched near it. In one instance the incubating bird remained on the nest until the climber nearly reached it. Usually an eagle will leave its nest as soon as an intruder is seen approaching it, but occasionally one will sit closely until the tree is rapped. The food of the young seems to be about the same as that of the adult, to be referred to later. The behavior and development of the young will be discussed under the northern race, on which more information is available.

Monday #2

Here's the latest picture.

So I walk into entry this AM and there's an eagle sitting in the nest. After mentioning last Friday that we still had a week to go for eggs, I should have realized that after seeing robins in January and moths flying in my headlights last night, that the eagles would also have some timing issues in this winter "that wasn't".

Please send me pics of the egg and I'll post them.


New thread.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Cam trouble

OK, the cam is down--has to do with all of the icing and the transmitter. None of the tech guys are here today, so there's a chance that the cam may be down until Monday morning. We still have 7-10 days before eggs, we're figuring, so don't worry.

I'm apologize for the outage.


Icy, rainy day thread.