Saturday, February 28, 2015


New thread.

A young elementary school student that my wife teaches has set up a very cool blog called Save All Owls.  Check it out here and give her some love and support for her excellent work.


Thursday, February 26, 2015


Just missed the snow in Shepherdstown, way more 40 miles south where I live.

New thread.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Sunday Update

Second egg just after 4 today.

Here is Deb's video, if you have not seen it...

New thread.


What a wind storm we had last night and continue to see today. 

New thread.

Thursday, February 12, 2015


First egg thread. 

From our biologist Dr. Jim Siegel:

The egg laid today is likely to hatch after about 35 days, around March 19.   One or 2 more eggs are likely to arrive over the next 4 to 5 days, with accordingly later hatching dates.  Although  the female will likely do most of the incubation, both sexes have developed a brood patch and will continuously incubate the eggs, turning them every so often for even warming and to maintain a healthy relationship between the embryonic membranes and shell. The eggs must remain covered to avoid cooling.

Friday, February 06, 2015


Here's a note I got from Dr. Jim Siegel on my staff about the nest visitor yesterday.  Jim has studied sanderlings, scrub jays, great blue herons, brown creepers, hermit thrushes, and a few others pretty intimately,  including their territorial, reproductive and feeding behavior. Observing eagles is a hobby for him, so here are his thoughts:

"Birds are instinctual creatures.  If the male is bringing in fish without young in the nest (Feb 4) , he is provisioning the female - feeding her as if she cannot leave the eggs or young and making sure she is fit and healthy to reproduce.  The fish may have attracted the sub-adult (Feb 5) 

I am not convinced the sub-adult is a fledgling from 3 years ago just hanging out and visiting its parents.  Fledglings of long-lived predatory birds have to disperse widely from home or  they will be constantly competing with their parents who may live for decades in the same place.  Every young born cannot stay home and wait for their parents to die; they may end up waiting for years.  They will compete with their parents (and the new nestlings) for food and space every year. And every year more young competitors are reared.  The gene line loses in that case. 

Eagles don't live in family groups - none of the predatory birds do.  But jays and crows do and these birds try to live at the borders of their parents territory, hoping someone will either die or they find another unoccupied territory nearby that they already know well due to its proximity to their natal territory.  Longevity: 6-7 years for jays and up to 20 years for crows.  Most small songbirds only live 3-4 years at most.    

If the sub-adult bird (I don't know perhaps 2-3 years old?) acts juvenile enough, the male or even the female may act as if the sub-adult is the bird they, in their tiny bird brains, are thinking (?) they have hatched out of the eggs that have not even been laid yet.  They may feed him or tolerate him as if he was their 2015 fledgling! This before those 2015 fledglings even exist.  Its hormonal not rational.

That is why you get chicken hens brooding kittens, and songbird feeding gaping goldfish mouths in a backyard pond. And lions that try to care for young antelope. Maternal and paternal Instinct takes over and strange things happen.

The other possibility is that subadult is trying to displace the adult male or female bird. It is not likely, but it is possible, that the sub-adult is in better physical condition than one of the adults, and although sub-adult in plumage, it is masculine or feminine enough in its genetic fitness to convince the rival bird and its opposite sex, that it is a potential viable territory holder and mate.

I am learning stuff from these birds all the time."

New thread

Thursday, February 05, 2015


Lot happening on this windy February day in the nest.  Check the webcam page for an update. 

We have not observed this before at this nest, and while things were civil today they could get rough for the juvenile soon enough.  Time will tell.

New thread.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015


We are watching the goings on at the nest.  If an egg was laid this AM, the fact that there has been no incubation for this many hours is not a good sign for this particular egg (if there is one).

We'll be preparing an update and will continue to watch.

New thread.

Monday, February 02, 2015


New thread.  Did you hear the cam mentioned on This American Life (#545) last weekend?