Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Pale Male and Octavia and Rats, the Edgerton Eagle Nest, Another Feather Pulling Eaglet, Interspecies Raptor Nest Toleration, and a Fried Chicken Eating Crow

 photo courtesy of http://www.palemale.com/ 
I find this scenario extremely worrisome.

 Today I had to deliver some eagle photos I'd taken at Indian Ford to the Edgerton Reporter, the newspaper in the town near, obviously, the location of the Edgerton Eagle nest.  After the drop off I zipped off to see how that pair was faring.
This nest is fronted by a large open area, part field and nearest  to the nest, a frozen marsh.  It was 20 degrees but with the wind chill the "real feel" was 5. 
I didn't see any eagles on the nest when I arrived, and though I was at least a quarter of a mile away, just off the road, before I'd gotten the tripod and scope out of the car to digiscope nor turned on my regular camera, both eagles came from behind me, out of the sun, and hot winged it for the nest.  

 The first eagle is just in the frame, top center.

 The second which has also come in from directly behind me then swung wide to the right and disappeared into the trees.
While I was looking for the eagle who'd gone into the treeline on the right, when I looked again at the nest they'd both managed to land on it unobserved.  See the two white heads?
 Then Dad gets up on his observation branch while Mom appears to be doing something with the nest.  Yes that is Dad up on the branch.  He is remarkably smaller than Mom.
 Mom's tail sticks up mid nest.  No question she is doing some twig work on the nest.

Then Mom gets up on some perpendicular branches and peers down looking into the bowl likely critiquing her previous rearrangement of twigs.  
 Then I must have been fiddling with the camera, one can't really see anything on the nest with the naked eye, except an occasional bump of something against the sky.  In this case I see one blotch of white so either the other is invisible in the bowl or has flown off while I was distracted.

The Eagle Saga continues but we've got lots of contributor input and insights concerning the last few days adventures and conversations....
Jackie of  Oklahoma sent a clip from a 2008 eagles' nest--

She wrote:  

I ran across a similar incident, this one at the Delta 1 nest in 2008. Looks like the same sort of thing took place, with the youngster clamping down on the adult's feathers and getting "flipped." (Just after the 3 minute mark)

Also, I'd thrown the question out asking if anyone knew what the rough distance of toleration might be between a Red-tailed Hawk nest and that of  of Bald Eagles.  Sally of Kentucky jumped on the case and here is what she found out....

I was asking the folks on the IWS.org eagle cams chat about hawk and eagle nests, and they have not heard of one closer than 1-2 miles. Rurals hawks would defend a mile or so anyway, wouldn't they? So it seems reasonable that they would be at least that far apart. Can't find out how close eagles will nest to each other when the space is saturated but they seem to think several miles apart.  Perhaps that helps? How close is the "hawk nest" to the eagles?

 Yes those figures definitely help Sally.  Thank you.  I really had no spatial idea as to even a ballpark figure.  I would guess that RTs would defend at least a mile or as you suggest two depending on the amount of space needed for hunting.

I'm not sure about the distance between the two  but will try to get a better idea next time I'm there.  

Tough going as there is a meandering river and not much in the way of public access, as it's all upscale private land so one has to stay on the public roads.  Dicey to do any "as the crow flies" walkabouts. :)  

And from Robin of Illinois,  the link for the Blackwater Eagles who have just hatched their first egg of the season.


And a miscellaneous winter sighting...

 A Crow up in the Ponderosa Pine gleaning any leftovers on what appears to be a fried chicken bone.  Perhaps part of a wing?



sally said...

I cringe every time I see Pale with a rat, especially in the daytime. I hope he has some instinct to sense poison in his prey and not eat those!

Donegal Browne said...

You and me both Sally. Some people think he is just extraordinarily lucky. I can't quite believe he's gotten through 20 plus years on just luck. I think and dearly hope he's figured it out somehow. I was told a story once by someone on the Hawk Bench and I do not know if it was apocryphal but supposedly one day Lola had a rat and Pale went over an begged for some and when she wouldn't give him any he got hostile and weird and he got one bite and flew away as if he was testing it out somehow. Though that behavior if true might have saved some of his many poisoned mates.