Eagle Cam Is Back, First Egg Due In Few Weeks

(Should we assume this is a sign the economy is getting better when new nest construction is on the rise?)

The first egg of the season will be seem sometime in the next few weeks!  Spring is coming!

Last year CP promoted an eagle cam from Norfolk, Virginia.  It was a most remarkable experience to watch the process unfold from getting the nest ready, laying eggs and waiting for them to hatch, and then the wonder of watching the younguns’ grow…and GROW…until they took their first tentative flight to a near-by branch.

This year the eagle cam is back, and will be featured throughout the summer on CP.   Please be aware that you may need to install Adobe to your computer to see this cam.  Adobe is safe, and will allow for this web cam to bring a daily adventure to your computer.  If you get an ‘error’ box when viewing the cam please just refresh the page.

This web cam can be checked into at all times, though the pattern of eagle behavior varies. For now the best time (but not the only time) to see the parents are in the early morning.  That will all change in time.  Once the eggs are laid there will be constant activity. 

There are some night-time hours when the cam is off, and at times here and there when adjustments to the camera or such are being made.  For most daylight hours the cam is up and making folks go “aaawww” all over the planet.

There is also a moderated forum on the right side of the cam that allows for insight into these birds. 

Nuggets such as this can be found in the forum….

 I don’t think the cold weather will keep them from mating. I remember last year when the female laid the first egg on January 31st, in snow that had accumulated in the nest. There was a great deal of concern, but it was actively incubated & the eagles added nesting material underneath it, and all turned out very well!

and…

A female bald eagle’s body length varies from 35 to 37 inches; with a wingspan of 79 to 90 inches. The smaller male bald eagle has a body length of 30 to 34 inches; with a wingspan ranging from 72 to 85 inches. Their average weight is 8-15 pounds. An adult’s wingspan is approximately 6-8 feet wide.

Norfolk Botanical Garden is the site for this nest and the future home for this year’s eaglets.   The pair built a whole new nest this year, which is quite a feat when one considers the size of the nest, and the complexity of it.  The male is the ‘adjuster’ and is often seen removing and replacing a stick or branch to make it perfect.  Old nests are often used over and over after some repairs, but this year these two decided on a new location to raise their eaglets. Eagles will have a number of nests they call home and for whatever reason use different ones from season to season.

The parenting pair had three babies in 2010 and has successfully raised 15 eaglets in their eight years at the Garden.  The nesting season typically runs from mid-to-late summer.

Here are a few photos of what has taken place so far, and gives a tone for what follows as the season progresses.

 

Is it any wonder that teachers use this site for educational purposes and folks like me are drawn to it daily for updates on these amazing birds?

Why Did Birds Drop From Sky In Arkansas?

UPDATED…BIRD MYSTERY SOLVED

My aunt and I spoke of this story tonight.  I love to provide information like this, and since she had not heard of the birds falling in Arkansas, and was interested, it made for a good conversation all around.  Back when I was in radio I could have used this story for days.

The reason for the thousands of birds dropping is still a mystery.

Times Square had the ball drop, and Brasstown, N.C., had its descending possum. But no place had a New Year’s Eve as unusual, or freakishly disturbing, as Beebe, Ark.

Around 11 that night, thousands of red-winged blackbirds began falling out of the sky over this small city about 35 miles northeast of Little Rock. They landed on roofs, roads, front lawns and backyards, turning the ground nearly black and terrifying anyone who happened to be outside.

“One of them almost hit my best friend in the head,” said Christy Stephens, who was standing outside among the smoking crowd at a party. “We went inside after that.”

The cause is still being determined, but preliminary lab results from the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission revealed “acute physical trauma” in samples of the dead birds. There were no indications of disease, though tests were still being done for the presence of toxic chemicals.

Karen Rowe, the bird conservation program coordinator for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, said the prevailing theory was that the birds had been startled by New Year’s Eve fireworks and suddenly dispersed, flying low enough to run into chimneys, houses and trees. Pyrotechnics are used to scatter blackbirds for bird control, though only during the day, given the birds’ poor vision.

Beebe (pronounced BEE-be) is a congregating spot for blackbirds, and one witness told Ms. Rowe that he saw the birds roosting earlier in the day and heard them again at night just after the fireworks started.

“It was the right mix of things happening in a perfect time sequence,” Ms. Rowe said.

Pictures: Lunch Time Not Often Seen On Madison Isthmus

I just happened to be outside when I heard the ruckus.  Just a few yards away our neighborhood cooper hawk had swooped into a bird feeder, clanking it loudly as it grabbed lunch.    I must admit I love this large bird of prey, and feel that I am its official photographer for the number of times I have followed it around this area over the past months while snapping pictures.  I always feel humbled to be near this amazing creature.  I sense that he knows I am not threatening.  The little birds that he has for lunch, however,  can not feel the same about him.

Today the hawk allowed me rather close access for a scene that was not as gory as I would have imaged.  A few feathers were removed and then lunch was consumed, bones and all, in a few large bites.  I was standing only a few feet away, and was quite captivated by the whole scene.

In the first picture you can see lunch underneath his feet.

 

I am walking closer and am amazed he did not fly away or move to a more private area for the actual consuming of the small bird.

For Christmas this year I think Santa is bringing an even sweeter lense for the camera.  I hope that this cooper hawk is ready for a true close-up in 2011!

Pictures: Neighborhood Hawk Spreads Its Wings

Today the hawk was hunting from a power line.  Every move the hawk makes conveys a powerful, commanding, graceful tone.  Just mighty impressive.

I am glad he is a part of the neighborhood.

When the hawk took off for better hunting grounds I was in a prime location for these photos.

Cooper Hawk Starts Sunday With Big Smile

This morning James and I  awoke to a Cooper Hawk sitting on our lawn chair.  It then flew to the iron railing on our front stoop.  The power and grace of these birds are known to all, but to see one first thing in the morning as a welcoming to the day is quite a gift.  It reminds me again that being rich should never be measured in money alone.

I grew up in Hancock, Wisconsin with lots of rural land where animals could roam and live.  There were wild turkeys in the field and countless deer.  Every now and then a racoon would be seen up in one of the large oaks in the back yard. But in all the years of growing up the animals were always at a distance.

It has only been during the last three years in Madison I now have a more close proximity to animals.  From the red tail hawk that hunts in the tree right out the window, the eagles that ‘fish’ on the lake, or the loons in the spring and coots in the fall, I am awed by the beauty of Mother Nature.

So it was again this morning. 

By the time I grabbed my baseball cap and camera and slipped into shoes…no time for a coat in spite of the cold air….I was able to follow the hawk as it lifted silently off the railing in search of food.   Down the street it went.  I actually lost it for a time and only when I looked back over my shoulder and up into some trees did I spot it.

Perched.  Waiting.   Hoping. 

The hawk was facing into the wind and you can see the wind ruffle his feathers.  (This was when I wished I had my coat!)  In the picture below the end of the tail feathers reach below the tree branch.  A large and amazing bird.

At some point when I was about frozen in the wind the wonderful bird lifted off for another perch to look for food.  I was able to capture it in flight just after it lifted off the branch.

When the hawk had moved on I looked down at my feet for the first time in about twenty minutes.  There at my left shoe on this gray, cold, and cloudy morning, was the color of happiness that I felt inside.  What a great day!