Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Indian Ford Eagles, Crows, a Red-tailed Hawk and the Sheepskin Pond Nest Gets an Update.

 Sunday at Indian Ford and Slick the male stares at a pair of crows walking across the ice.

And here are the Crows walking on the ice, there is  a third in a tree of course doing sentinel duty.  They appear to be foraging and not the least concerned about Slick who appears to be staring intently at them.  Come to think of it why aren't they mobbing him like they do Red-tailed Hawks?

A few minutes later Slick looks upstream with what appears to be interest.  Not knowing eagles deeply yet it is a bit difficult to tell definitely when an Eagle is utterly interested unless he or she leans.  Then the cawing starts upstream and can't see anyone.  I look downstream and the ice crows are no longer there.  I point the camera upstream approximately where I think the sound is coming from and click.

When I got home I downloaded the shot I took during the cawing episode in which I couldn't see who was being mobbed and maximized the picture..  And there she was, a Red-tailed Hawk that had been drawn to the area where I was told earlier was a mystery carcass down on the ice.

So we are back to the question, why do Crows mob Red-tailed Hawks and appear to utterly ignore Bald Eagles?  Perhaps something to do with food preference? 

 I'm open to suggestions.

 While I'm looking at the Crows upstream Slick disappears.

Before long I see a pair of extremely big wings on a large Bald Eagle, (Mrs. Slick?) riding the air currents  upstream toward where the Crows and Red-tail had been.  Currently there is no cawing.  In fact when it came to predators, or even Crows,  I didn't see one in sight just the geese and waterfowl.

The do tend to disappear in the middle of the day so I decide it is time to go see the how the Edgerton Eagles are doing. Besides I can no longer feel my fingers so some time in a heated car wouldn't be remiss. 

 Remember we monitored them a couple of years ago?  They were the pair with the nest that was quite difficult to get at all close to.   They had the nest  near Sheepskin Pond where the pelicans put in during migration.

I got a little lost as I'd not been here for some time but after a little backtracking I looked at the skyline and woooo hoooo, there they were and YES!, both Eagles were perched above the nest at least a quarter mile away but still visible.

I pulled in to the power station which in winter appears to have a snowmobile track that runs past it to the middle of the field and then the track turns and bisects the field.  It is the first time in my life I wouldn't have minded access to a snowmobile.  A slow snowmobile, a snowmobile with a muffler and a lot less varoom varoom to it.  But after setting up some magnification the pictures aren't stellar but you can see what they are up to at any rate. There is quite a bit of sexual dimorphism going on when it comes to these two.  Handy to figure out which nesting chores are done by males and which females as I really don't know when it comes to Eagles.

Mr. Eagle makes his way into the bowl of the nest and appears to be doing a little upkeep and renovation.  Then he flies off the nest into the tree line.

He isn't gone long before he comes roaring back to the nest again at top speed and gets back into the bowl.  I couldn't see if he had a remodeling twig with him but I'm betting he did.  He does something for awhile in the bowl and then climbs back up with the Mrs.

Then they both stare at me.  I suspect it is because I'm the only one not roaring by on a snowmobile so I stick out as suspect.  It's below zero out here and my fingers are becoming quite excruciatingly painful.   Perhaps only a small dose of a suspect human might be the way to go today.   

I wonder if the female eagle does any nest building at all?   A question to be perhaps answered on the next visit.

It is good to have a plan.
Happy Hawking!


Sally said...

My opinion on eagle nest building- from what I have watched of eagle pairs online doing nestorations, the male seems to bring in the sticks and place them while the female usually rearranges his work :)I have seen them work together to place particularly large or long sticks. How fun that you can watch! Hopefully the weather will be more hospitable soon.

Donegal Browne said...

Hi Sally,

I figured the female would have the last word. As to weather, today and tomorrow are reputed to be above freezing..get my heart pills.:) Certainly a break for wildlife and the rest of us.