It is minus 12 with a steady wind and as the nest is at least a quarter mile from where I can currently stand to watch it I have to digiscope in order to photograph the behavior. Digiscoping consists of taking photographs through the cameras own lens plus the lens of a birding scope.
At minus 12 the camera I use for digiscoping looses it's ability to keep track of time and the chromatic aberration, the lurid purple on the edges of things and the distortion of overall hue, a product of the variable light having to go through so many lenses to actually record the objects, becomes a major issue.
Add the variable winter light, the moving trees....
Therefore once again we are talking documentation of these particular eagles and not beauty shots by any stretch of the imagination.
When I appeared on the scene Mom and Dad appeared to be standing on the nest and looking at each other intermittently.
I began to think they were somehow conferring.
Then one might look away scanning the area.
Then the other and then they appeared to be looking at each other again.
Mom turns in my direction.
They do something in tandem. ? And interesting attribute of Bald Eagles, which I have not seen in Red-tailed Hawks, is that they are capable of working together on a single task at the same time. If for instance, a stick is too unwieldy
Dad looks West.
He looks North.
He jumps onto his viewing stick, pans, and flies North.
Mom arranges twigs. In fact at this point Dad's errand may well be a new twig or stick.
Mom pauses. She looks.
She disappears into the nest.
See the white of her head and tail through the twigs?
He watches the placement.
He stands on his viewing stick, head outstretched looking focused and not a little pugnacious.
The Saga of Twigs will continue....
While back at the ranch, Quicksilver and Squirrel the little Tom cat are sitting companionably watching the feeder birds.
I turn the light off so perhaps they'll be able to see out better but Silver says, "BAD", so I turn it back on.
Then I get this look from him. Not at all sure what this one means.
But I do know what this look means. Squirrel is in the throes of kitty birdwatching excitement and he has begun to twitch his tail. Silver is about to go for it. This would be bad, very bad. So Silver and I go to the kitchen to find some apples and peanut butter. Squirrel does not miss us.
In the meantime....
Photo M. Albright
Occasional blog contributer Mike Albright a former farm boy, sees a large bird tearing at something way out in a field. He stops and waits until he can make out the white head and tail of a Bald Eagle. He attempts to take a photo of the event, above, with his phone that just happens not only to be near dead but plugged into the dash besides. Can you see the eagle?
Look at the far horizon, the dense tree row which gets shorter as your eyes travel left. Almost to the end where it disappears if you come back a bit there is a rounded orangey brown lump with a flatter something before it. That's the eagle and the flatter dark spot is whatever she is eating. Mike's quess was that perhaps a calf had died birthing and the farmer had brought it's corpse out into the field with the spreader.
Photo M. Albright
A better photo by Mike after the eagle had finished the meal.