Sunday, December 25, 2011

Sunday

Christmas thread.

My very best to you all in this holiday season.  Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thursday

Hope everyone has had a great Thanksgiving with family and friends.

New thread.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Monday

New thread.  We are working out the streaming video problem, hopefully will get back online ASAP.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wednesday

Looks like the nest visit will be Friday morning, weather permitting.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Monday

New thread.

We will not be going up in the tree on Wednesday, but will do it before Thanksgiving.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Wednesday

New thread.

Our intent is to get the still cam back up as soon as we can manage it.  Tree work/maintenance is being scheduled now, likely will happen in early November.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Tuesday

New thread.

Update:  I have a bit more time now so I thought I would fill you in on the cam issues.  First off, the power supply issues were cased by a combination of losing our standard power feed and having to rely on the solar panels that have not been charging up the batteries well.  With all of the rain and cloudy weather, that was causing continuous problems with the cam feed.

Second, we are in a major finance system transformation at NCTC.  This means we have not been able to do procurements for more than six weeks, and will not be able to get rolling again for several more weeks, or longer, if we don't have a permanent funding bill for the year.  This is why we could not get up in the tree in August, as we usually have.  We now have to plan to go up in the tree in early November, and we are hoping it can be done in the normal way this year without a crane; the tree looks healthier than it did last year.  Once we get up the the tree we can work on the sound and clear any suckers that have grown (and blocked the cam).  By then we should also have a fully dedicated power source from the barn.

I cannot speak for The Outdoor Channel folks, but I believe their decision to go offline for now was due to the frustrating amount of signal outages.  Can't blame them.

The other variable still is whether or not we get a more normal nesting season.  Only time will tell that one.

So hang in there.  We are thinking about the cam issues, but as I've said many times, the work being done on the cam is beyond the day jobs that our tech folks have to tackle.  We're doing the best we can.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sunday

Today is post number 2,000 for this blog.  Thank you all for your support, and here's hoping we have a happier, more active eagle season next time around.

Fresh thread, number 2,000.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tuesday

Was in DC yesterday.  Saw a big adult eagle over Goose Creek on the drive into the city.

New thread.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Tuesday

There is a power supply problem that has not been resolved.  This is keeping the cam down.  Unless we get some sun this week, the cam will not be operational until we have our hard wired power fully installed.

New thread.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tuesday

Muggy Day thread.  Am involved in a big conference this week, thus the sparse posts.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tuesday

Sorry, the tornado and subsequent power outage stalled my posts.  Power cam back on at 2 AM.


Fresh thread.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Friday

Still working on the cam...microwave is the problem du jour.


New thread.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Thursday

New thread.  The cam hopefully will be back up tomorrow.  The original problems were caused by a huge carpenter ant infestation in the box that had all of the electronics.  It has taken some timw to get the system stable after the ants were dealt with...

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Saturday

New thread. 

Thanks to Blogger for their superb software, which failed so miserably in automatically posting the new posts I had prepared for the week.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Thursday

I am headed up to NW Maine for the annual canoe trip.  Updates will be automated for the next week or so.

New thread.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Saturday

First time posting from 35,000 feet on the way to Huntsville.

Weekend thread 1.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Thursday

Saw swallows this morning, first time this year.  Spring is here for sure.

New thread.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thursday

Was out yesterday. 

We have additional news that could relate to our missing resident male.  A few days ago, our land manager found the remains of a bald eagle near the waste water treatment  plant.  The bird was not in good shape, so performing a post-mortem on it is not really possible.  The degree of decomposition and proximity to the nest indicates to us that there is a good chance that this is our missing bird. 

We will never know for sure though. 

Wanted to let you folks know about this as soon as I could.  It has been a rough season for bald eagles around the Region.

Everybody please take care.

New thread.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Monday

Sorry to relay that the eagle we brought to rehab died at the vet's.

New thread.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thursday

New thread.

Update:

The eagle we brought over to the rehab center in MD on Monday is still at the Vet.  No broken bones, but blunt force trauma (hit by a car), that caused some internal injuries.  We are told that the eagle is being fed by a feeding tube right now, and will likely be moved back to the rehab center tomorrow.  We'll keep our fingers crossed that it is recovering.

Also, a Pittsburgh paper published this article a little more than a week ago.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tuesday



















Here's a rather grainy and dark snapshot of the injured eagle yesterday.


New thread.

Update:  The bird was sent to the Vet last night. No news today on it; the folks at Trego said "no news is good news."

Monday, April 18, 2011

Monday

New week thread.

Update:  This morning a gentleman dropped off at the NCTC gate an injured adult bald eagle.  The bird had been hit by a car near Harper's Ferry.  We brought the bird over to a wildlife rehabilitator in Keedysville, MD.  The bird stayed calm in the car, and was able to hop out of the transport carrier.  Looked like a leg injury, but it could not fly.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Saturday

Rain thread.

Looks like the eagle found across the river will be examined by some FWS folks from Chesapeake Bay Office.  We'll let you know what they come up with.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday

New thread.

Update:  The bird found at Antietam did not have a brood patch, confirmed now.  We will do our best to still get the bird "sexed" once it is in Denver.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Thursday

Update.

There is a new update up on the NCTC Eaglecam site.

Yesterday we were contacted by the National Park Service at Antietam.  They recently found a dead bald eagle near the Burnside Bridge parking lot and wanted to let NCTC know.  We went over and examined the bird, which had been dead for about two weeks , they are estimating.  We took a series of measurements, and those show that this could very well be a male bird.  Final identification is not possible without a necropsy.  The standard procedure for this type of thing is to transfer the bird to the FWS Eagle Repository in Denver.  This will happen very soon.

We will never know if this bird is our missing male, but it could be.  I will post more as we get more info.

Thursday

Fresh thread.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Saturday

To answer the comment "Do we have and eagle expert at NCTC?"

NCTC has several bald eagle experts, as does the Fish and Wildlife Service Region, which NCTC is in. 

The Service has a long legacy with this bird, including the Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge, south of DC, which was the first National Wildlife Refuge established for an endangered species--the American Bald Eagle.  Also the Bald Eagle Repository in Denver, that helps prevent any trade in bald eagle feathers.

Fresh thread.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Friday PM

Latest message from NCTC, should be posted on their site soon:

April 1, 2011
This morning we confirmed a sighting of two adult eagles in a tree located near the nest tree.  While we do not know the current whereabouts of the original male resident eagle, he was seen on March 21st and was not injured.  We have not seen the male resident since. 
The new eagle, we now believe to most likely be a male, has been making trips to the nest on a daily basis.  This indicates to us that the resident male eagle has either moved on or is not willing to come within a certain radius of the nest because of the new bird. 
The resident female is still occupying her territory and is keeping quite close to the nest site.
It is very difficult to determine whether an adult eagle as male or female; typically the female is larger (we initially assumed the new adult eagle was a female because of its large size).  Without capturing the new adult to examine it- which would pose a potential risk to eagle - it has been difficult to confirm whether it is male or female.  One method we’re exploring is listening to the eagles’ calls:  some females have a much lower pitch relative to males.
We will continue to provide information as the situations changes.  Meanwhile, we encourage those of you who are interested to learn more about eagle biology.  (For example, this Cornell University Web page is a good resource:  http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/species/506/articles/introduction.) 
We have a fascinating piece of eagle biology playing out at NCTC.  We are glad that you are able to experience this along with us. 

Fresh thread.

Friday

New thread.  Rob continues to work on the cam picture.  Thanks Rob.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wednesday

from the NCTC Website today:

Shepherdstown, WV – Since 2006, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Conservation Training Center (NCTC) has connected people to nature by streaming live video of a pair of American bald eagles to viewers across the country and abroad via a camera placed near the eagles’ nest.

The NCTC eagle cam serves as an educational tool to showcase eagle biology, including mating behavior, egg laying, incubation, and in a successful year, rearing eagle chicks until they are old enough to leave the nest. Although the NCTC campus is closed to the public (with the exception of the annual open house and occasional special events), the cam records video year round can be accessed online anytime at: www.fws.gov/nctc/cam/livevideo.html.

After many years of viewing the same pair of eagles, this year we have witnessed the process of natural competition within a species. Recently a third eagle, believed to be a female of breeding age, has been sighted near the nest and appears to be asserting control over the nest and surrounding territory. This is typical eagle behavior in a robust, healthy population and likely indicates that the eagle population near NCTC has increased in recent years.

In response to this behavior, many eagle cam viewers have expressed concern. It is important to highlight to our public viewers that the eagles residing on NCTC’s land are exposed to natural environmental pressures, including the presence of other eagles. At times the camera may be difficult to watch. While NCTC provides the opportunity to view live video of wild eagles, our position is not to interfere in any way.

Craig Koppie, regional eagle coordinator and raptor biologist at the Service’s Chesapeake Bay field office, is working closely with NCTC to monitor the situation. Koppe said, “there are times when intervention is not the correct course of action. Breeding birds are very sensitive to human disturbance, and interfering could result in abandonment of the nest.” Koppe also acknowledged that, “as hard as it is to watch an older generation of eagles potentially be displaced by a younger generation, we need to inform the public that the aggressive behavior we’re seeing is natural. The most fit individual will emerge as having control of the nest and surrounding territory, and this individual will go on to contribute to the next generation of eagles, keeping the species and the population strong.”

NCTC is committed to providing factual, science-based updates on current nest activity. To monitor these updates, please visit: www.fws.gov/nctc/cam.

New thread.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Monday, March 21, 2011

Monday

Here's the update from FWS:

March 21
Over the weekend, we were able to confirm the presence of a third adult eagle near the nest, and we are almost certain that it is a breeding age female.  Typically, the presence of a new female means she is competing with the established pair of eagles for the current nest.  Nest competition is a common occurrence in areas with healthy eagle populations, meaning the total population of eagles near NCTC has likely increased in recent years. 

We have also confirmed multiple sightings of the male eagle who is part of the established breeding pair.  The male does not appear to be injured, and appears to be in good health.  The eaglet which hatched on March 17th has died and the remaining egg is not likely to hatch given that it is not being regularly incubated by the parents. 

We do have biologists on staff here at NCTC who have been offering their expert assessments of the situation. In addition, our land manager has been communicating with another raptor biologist based in our Chesapeake Bay field office.  There is general agreement among our biologists that if the new female eagle is successful in chasing off the current female, the new female will then need to recruit a male to join her.  However, it is likely too late in the nesting season for success in laying, incubating and hatching any new eggs.

You may wonder why there is competition over this nest - and there are several potential factors.  Eagles prefer to nest in the tops of large trees located near rivers, lakes, and other wetlands.  The NCTC nest is located very close to the Potomac River, which is a plentiful source of fish for nesting eagles to hunt.  In addition, eagle nests represent a considerable investment of effort to construct:  they can be up to 10 feet in diameter and weigh up to 2,000 lbs.  And finally, as mentioned above, nest competition frequently occurs in areas with a significant eagle population.
All I can add to this is to thank you for your concern, passion and understanding that intervention in this episode was not the right thing to do.  Things don't always work out the way we'd like in nature, but I think we would all agree that we have gotten a rare glimpse, these past few days, into the world of bald eagles that most people do not see or will ever know about.  The fact that we have competition such as this is speaks well for the recovery of the Bald Eagle, a species that was nearly extinct fifty years ago. 

New thread.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sunday

New thread.

I have gotten inquiries from folks about getting more info on what's going on and also requests that the NCTC do something to assist the birds. 

I need to repeat that we all understand that this episode is unsettling to everyone, but it is one of the risks of having the cam in place--you get to see the wonderful things and the not so wonderful as well. 

Wild nature is not always a happy place...the best thing to do is not to interfere in any way.

FWS biologists have been aware of this episode since it began and I suspect there will be more information put out tomorrow on the official cam website.




 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Thursday Night

OK.  First off, I am on vacation.  I get very little time away, and am in hot water with my family because I have been checking email and blogs related to work and the cam too much today. 

From what I see on the blog comments, there's a lot of emotion going on with today's events, for which I do not have the facts.

If there was an intruder, that would not be an unusual event.  There is great competition now for nesting habitat in the region because the bald eagle has been very successful in recent years. This has happened in several places in the mid Atlantic over the past few years.

It would not be right to have any human intervention in matters concerning wild nature such as this.  It may not be pretty, but nature is not always gentle--it can be brutal.

Everyone please calm down. 

I understand why folks would be upset, but let's see how things work out.

Also, based on some of the things I have read in the comments,  I reserve the right to delete any comments on my blog that I consider inflammatory. 

Thursday

St. Patrick's day thread.  Hatch.

Thanks to Paula for posting.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Saturday

New thread.  Wind has already blown the power off twice this am.

Channel 25 had coverage on the eagles last night.  See it here.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Thursday

New thread.  There is a new report on the eagle cam produced by USGS in Ft. Collins.  See it here.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Wednesday, January 19, 2011