Thursday, April 30, 2015

Springtime in My Preserve


Virginia bluebells and violets on a fence line
The Bald Eaglets nesting in my preserve have hatched two chicks.  Both of the eaglets seem to be doing well.  The parents have switched from feeding on roadkilled deer to fish taken from my creek - most likely hatchery-raised trout that our Fish and Boat Commission stocks for anglers.

There's a camera that takes still images every two minutes trained on the nest; the camera is about 500 feet from the nest, so the image resolution isn't always great, but some of the images clearly show two rapidly developing eaglets.  These are the first eagles nesting along our section of the creek in at least 160 years (other eagles have nested at the mouth of the creek adjacent to the Delaware River over the last few years, but they aren't nesting there this year).  If you enlarge the image below, you'll see the female to the left of the upright trunk and one of her offspring to the right. 
Bald Eagle mother and one of the eaglets

11 comments:

Carolyn H said...

Wow! The bluebells are gorgeous. I don't have any at Roundtop, but they are all over the place at Pinchot just 2 miles away. I hope your eaglets continue to thrive. I love that they are eating stocked trout--easy pickings!

packrat said...

Having Bald Eagles nesting there is just so cool, Scott. I know how I'd be spending most of my time if I were visiting your preserve. Amazing!

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

How exciting! And proof that you're doing a good job too. Are both Eaglets likely to survive or, like many birds of prey, does only one usually make it?

robin andrea said...

Love seeing that eagle nest. And, spring looks quite beautiful there.

Scott said...

The bluebells are gorgeous, Carolyn. Kali and I are going to make our annual pilgrimage to the Schuylkill River Trail at Valley Forge National Historical Park this weekend; the 3-mile trail is lined, virtually end to end, with bluebells. It's always spectacular, and this is the height of the bloom.

Scott said...

Good to have your comment, John! When we first learned that the parent eagles had hatched two chicks, experts warned us that eagles usually only successfully fledge one offspring. But, so far, both eaglets are about the same size, and both seem to be doing well. I'll keep you posted. I think there's plenty for them to eat here.

Scott said...

Packrat: Kali's route home from work takes her past the prime viewing location for the eagle nest, and there's almost always a small crowd observing the birds. You wouldn't spend all your time there, though; most of the time, the eaglets aren't visible, and it's only the head of the protective parent, sitting on the nest, that visible.

Scott said...

Robin Andrea: We're at the very apex of spring right now, so everything is beautiful. Plus, we're having great weather, so everyone can be outside enjoying the spring wildflowers and the flowering trees.

Our "resident" eagle expert (a professor who studies sea eagles in Siberia every summer) says that eagles do not remove decomposing food and feces from their nests, but instead bury the offal under more nesting material. This is to prevent ground-based predators (especially bears) from finding the nest location by smell. It's probably a good thing that birds generally have a poor to altogether lacking sense of smell! In any case, the expert says that as a result of adding nesting material, the bowl shape of the nest over time flattens out as the bowl fills with twigs, etc. Soon, the eaglets should be visible all the time.

Mark P said...

It's really cool to have eagles nesting where you can see them easily. We have some nesting at Berry College, whose property we actually drive through to get down the mountain, but the nest is a good drive from us.

Scott said...

Mark: I think that the eagles at Berry College have a live-action video camera trained on them. I've actually seen the feed.

Scott said...

Mark: I think that the eagles at Berry College have a live-action video camera trained on them. I've actually seen the feed.