Posts Tagged ‘eagles’

More Nestcams!

Friday, May 27th, 2016
More Nestcams!

arctic_tern_chick_nestcam


‘Tis the season!
Birds are still nesting, and this month, there are a few new nestcams including

Atlantic Puffins, Arctic Terns, Allen’s Hummingbird, Peregrine Falcons, Osprey and Double-crested Cormorants.

atlantic_puffins_nestcam

NEW nests with lots of chicks and behavior to watch!

CATCH UP on what’s happening with the chicks:

More Nestcams!

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016
More Nestcams
long-eared_owlets
We can never get enough of nestcams! Nesting season continues with new great views of nesting condors, lots of Great-horned Owlets, and this nest of seven seriously adorable Long-eared Owlets.

NEW nests with lots of chicks to watch!

CATCH UP on what’s happening with the chicks:

NESTCAMS!

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016
NESTCAMS!
It’s that time of year again!allens_hummingbird_nestcam_explore
Get a front row seat and the best view of these early nesters from across the US and  Hawaii  — hummingbirds, albatross and some very cool raptors:

Tuesday, October 27th, 2015
Looking For Hawks on Migration
Watching hawks migrate can be done anywhere along their migration route. There are well known hotspots where hawks can be seen in great numbers on migration. But you don’t need to travel far to see hawks on the move.  If you are on a flyway, you can look up to see them wafting south on currents, or using the front end of a cold front for a push of speed.  Food is also on their minds and some of the best views of hawks migrating are when they come down out of the heights to hunt.

Check out communications towers for Peregrine Falcons.  They often use the towers both for a vantage point and also peregrine_tower because they can position themselves at the same height as migrating songbirds.  They will look like a tiny dark speck as they sit perched (see the bird perched in the middle of the grid?)…just waiting for a flock of small shorebirds to fly by during the day or songbirds at dusk or dawn.

Peregrines can also be seen perched on beaches – sometimes on fences or posts, or even just sitting on the sand.  Small shorebirds like Sanderlings or Wilson’s Plovers are their target here, and you can watch them herd the flock into a tight ball and then break one bird free hoping to nab it for a meal.

I was watching a Coopers Hawk the other day worrying a flock of starlings into a tight ball, which he then flew through.  He was unsuccessful in the hunt, which was a surprise, but then again, even the best hunters don’t always score.

Look for migrating raptors in the sky of course, but also wherever there might be easy prey.  Sometimes you can get even better views of them hunting than riding the winds above.

Where To See Bald Eagles Now

Sunday, February 15th, 2015

Where To See Bald Eagles Now

What kind of birds are around in February?

Bald_eagle_winter There are always beautiful ducks still pairing off for the season, but often the water is frozen over and they are offshore in the open ocean making it difficult to see them. But February can be an ideal time to see Bald eagles as at that time of year they are in every state in the US except Hawaii. When it is really cold and the fresh water freezes, Bald Eagles comes from all over to visit spots that have open running water so they can fish. It’s one of the few times you can see a bird which was once an endangered species, and often considered a solitary and shy bird, congregating in sometimes pretty large numbers. You can see Bald eagles perched along the water’s edge in the trees watching for movement in the water so they can grab a meal. Sometimes, they are floating on chunks of ice down the river. While it is always a wonderful surprise to see any Bald eagles, if you want to see them in numbers, look for open water in a frozen wooded area and you may have the chance to see multiples of this majestic bird.

If you’re up for a trip outside, here are a few spots in the US to view Bald eagles:

The Klamath Basin, on the California-Oregon border, has the largest number of wintering bald eagles in the continental US with as many as 1,000 eagles during January and February. Many of the birds are visible from the Lower Klamath and Tule Lake auto tours. Call the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge at (530) 667-2231

Nelson Dewey State Park in Cassville, Wisconsin, where there are a lot of Bald eagles December through February on the open water below the locks and dams. Visit the park and head for the bluffs.  Call them at 888-947-2757.

New York’s Hudson River And Sullivan County is less than 2 hours outside of NYC, but is a great place to spot wintering eagles. Blinds are located at Mongaup Reservoir and at Minisink Ford locations. Contact the Hudson River Foundation, (212) HUDSON. For information about Sullivan County’s eagles, call The Eagle Institute at (845) 557-6162.

Watching eagles means being respectful of them. Winter is a time when food is hard to come by, so here are some things  you are encouraged to do for the eagles’ sake:

* Remain in or near your vehicle at roadside viewing locations.
* Move quickly and quietly to observation blinds, where you can remain hidden from view while watching the eagles.
* Avoid loud noises, such as yelling, car door slamming, horn honking and unnecessary movement.
* Use binoculars and a spotting scope instead of trying to get “a little bit closer.”
* Don’t do anything to try to make the eagle fly.

Source:  Delaware Highlands Conservancy

Big Big Bald Eagle Nests

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

Big Big Bald Eagle Nests

Bald Eagles are the largest raptor in North America and are seen throughout the continental US, Canada and Alaska.  With a wingspan of over 7 feet, everything about this bird is oversized.  From a lifespan over several decades to their overall size of up to 14 pounds for females in the northern latitudes (females are larger than males and size increases the farther north they live), Bald eagles are the epitome of a really big bird.

bald_eagles_nest

Bald Eagles start to breed when they reach five years of age and they pretty much mate for life.  This means the nest they leave at the end of the first breeding season gets repaired and reinforced with more sticks when they return every year and can attain amazing weight and proportions.  A typical Bald eagle nest is about five to six feet in diameter and around three feet tall. But there are nests like one in Ohio which was used for thirty-four years.  It measured nine feet in diameter, was close to twelve feet tall, weighed almost two tons and was active until the tree it was in blew down.

A pair usually builds their large stick nest close to water in a tree taller than the forest canopy.  The nest shape depends on the shape of the fork in the tree where the nest is built, so there are nests that are flat, round, shaped like a wine glass…you name it.  To make it more comfortable for the chicks, they first line this sturdy nest with soft grasses and moss and then often have downy feathers as a final lining.

bald_eagle_chicks
Dave Menke, USFWS

After working diligently on maintaining or building a nest, the female will lay one to three eggs and incubate for about thirty-five days.  The male will take some incubation shifts, but he is usually busy hunting to feed himself and his mate.  After the eggs hatch, the parents closely care for them day and night.  Five weeks after hatching, the fluffy chicks are able to stand on their own and eat the food delivered by their parents.

Baby Bald eagles are a big investment for their parents.  It takes around 11 weeks for these chicks to fly from the nest.  After fledging, the young birds take their time learning how to hunt and fly, during which time their parents stay close and continue to provide them with food and instruction.  As the summer comes to a close, most young birds will take off and spend the next several years roaming the country from coast to coast until they are ready to breed.

If you live near any large, open bodies of water, there is a likelihood a Bald eagle may be nesting near you.  This is a dramatic change from 1960’s and ’70’s, when they had a huge drop in population due to DDT and habitat loss.  With tremendous effort from state and federal wildlife authorities, these birds have made comeback in the last thirty years, and in 2007 the Bald Eagle was removed from the United States’ federal list of endangered species.

 

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