Monday, June 26, 2017

Wildlife Around The Nests

Great-blue Heron

I take a number of non-eagle pictures around the eagle nests.  All the nests are on prime real estate on the rivers and streams around the Capital Region of New York.  These areas that attract eagles to nests also attract other wildlife.  I have been trying to figure out how to post these pictures.  I guess, I will let them speak for themselves with a little commentary...

Right after, the heron took off to find a more private spot.

I have seen a lot of Beavers this season.  Off course, these guys love the water.

I almost tripped over this Snapping Turtle sunning itself in the grass.

Other birds are nesting and raising their young too during the long breeding season of the Bald Eagle.

White-tailed Deers are a common viewing at the nests.

This Northern Mockingbird was very cooperative and posed nicely on the top of a lighthouse lawn ornament.

Colorful birds like this Baltimore Oriole help to pass the time when the nesting season isn't particularly exciting.

Happy Birding!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Feathers on Friday for 6/9

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Happy Friday!  It's been a rainy few weeks here in Capital Region of New York.  It doesn't seem to have bothered my backyard birds though.   The pair of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds don't seem to mind the rain either.  I noticed an interesting behavior that the above male was doing.  He was constantly sitting on the the railing of our back deck near the feeder in the rain.  At first, I thought he might be sick or injured as I have never seen a hummingbird stay in one place that long.  I pulled out my binoculars for a closer look.  He was actually drinking the rain water.  I could see his little tongue going in and out as he caught the raindrops falling.    

Here is him sticking out his tongue and flapping his wings.  Now that the weather has gotten drier, I just see him at the feeder.  I feel like there is always something new to learn in the world of birds.

Here is the female perched on our feeder.  

Have a great weekend! It looks like finally, we will get some decent weather here so enjoy it! 

More Feathers on Friday Post:

Friday, June 2, 2017

Feathers on Friday for 6/2/17

Tree Swallow

Happy Friday and first weekend of June!  On a recent trip to a local state park, this Tree Swallow was perched on top of it's nesting box.  It's beautiful blue coloring shining in the sun.  

Here is a zoomed out view of the guy on it's Audubon Society of the Capital Region's built bird box.  The chapter has put a lot of these bird boxes at the park and around the Capital Region.  

Happy Birding and enjoy the ongoing nesting season!

More Feathers on Friday Post:

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Nesting Season is Here! Part 2

House Wrens and Broken Eggs

The nesting wrens were doing well and working towards laying eggs.  Here is a shot of the female(I think) who protects her territory from anything including me with a camera.  She is a very active little bird and very vocal.

They had packed the nest box with all sorts of leaves, sticks, pine needles and other stuff.  I checked periodically but they hadn't yet laid eggs.  One morning this weekend, I noticed the bird box wasn't hanging up.  It was on the ground and the glue had given way that was holding the top with the loop to hang the box.  When I picked it up, I noticed two little wren eggs inside.  The female was close by and very upset.  I placed the nest on top of my compost tumbler to get it off the ground and away from potential predators.    

Later on, I went to check on the nest box and I noticed the eggs were smashed on the ground.  The female had probably disposed of them.  I have seen and heard the wrens still in the area so hopefully she will lay more eggs.  It is still early in the season and wrens do sometimes have two broods so we'll see.

Update: No new eggs yet in the nest box and I'm starting to wonder if they might have changed locations.  That is not good news for the other cavity nesting birds around since House Wrens are known to take nest spots and dispose of the eggs/hatchlings that are inside.  It's just amazing that this little cute birds is so aggressive.

Here is part 1 if you missed it.  Happy Birding!  

Friday, May 12, 2017

Nesting Season is Here!

House Wren

A few weeks ago, I hung up a birdhouse in our yard that I had found in our basement.  I had no idea if anything would use it.  Almost instantly,  I began seeing activity around the birdhouse.  There was some Black-capped Chickadees that checked it out.  The other was a wren that I later discovered was a House Wren.  Well, it looks like the House Wren has claimed it!

It has filled the box with sticks as you can see from the above picture.

The House Wren is known to be a very fierce little bird.  They chase off much larger birds from nest boxes and sometimes drag out hatchlings or eggs too.  This is it staring me down for getting too close to the box.

What a fun little bird and they have beautiful songs.   Here is it singing away from above it's new nesting box.  I'm looking forward to checking in on it's progress during the season.  Happy Birding and enjoy your nesting backyard birds!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Eagle Report for 5/4

Two Nests and Two Differing Reactions

I have always been fascinated by wildlife behavior especially in raptors.  How will they react to a certain situation is intriguing.  While monitoring Bald Eagle nests, I have seen many defenses of the nests by adult pairs.  Sub-adult Bald Eagles are a large portion of the intruders.  They have not yet reached adulthood to have a nest of their own and they are always looking for an easy meal.  They will take anything from an unguarded nest including an eaglet and any food left in the nest.    

Two nests separated by a few miles took a very different approach to the nuance of sub-adult Bald Eagle intruders.

If you have read the blog for awhile, you might have remembered this drama from last season.  The first nest seems to constantly have intruders around the nest.  The above pictures is of one of the adults chasing off one of the young eagles that got too close to the nest.  The adult hit the sub-adult 4 or 5 times while chasing it.  Obviously, the intruder had angered the pair and they wanted to make sure they proved their point.   The other member of the pair was back at the nest protecting the eaglets while this was going on.  They are a well tuned machine when it comes to defending their nest and nest territory.  No intruder goes by the nest without at least being warned to stay away.

At the second nest further downstream, the above young eagle soared and circled near the nest.  The adult perched nearby paid no attention to the intruder and it didn't even call out to warn the other eagle.  There was no sign of alarm at all.  The below picture was the reaction of the adult eagle.

Why would two nests close to each other and most likely dealing with the same group of young eagles react so vastly different?  It is hard to say for sure but it is very interesting.  We will see if the reaction from the past weekend by both nests is a consistent behavior or if they react differently in different situations. I am excited to see more... Stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Eagle Report for 4/11

Eaglets are Here!

The eagle pairs in the Capital Region of New York are busy tending to their young eaglets.  I finally got a glimpse of a fuzzy head this weekend!  This is one of the most critical times in the nesting season.  The small hatchlings are too young to regulate their own temperature so the adults continue to incubate them similar to the what they do for the eggs.  The difference is a slightly higher position that allows the eaglets space to breathe.  While one of the adults is incubating, the other is hunting for food for the rapidly growing eaglets.  They return to the nest and rip off smaller pieces of the prey and feed them to the eaglets.  During one of the returns to the nest on Saturday, the male got a face full of eaglet poop! When they are older they poop over the side of the nest to keep the nest clean.  Oh the wonders of parenthood!

At this stage, there is an adult on the nest typically at all times.  The eaglets are too small to defend themselves and can be taken by other birds of prey, Raccoons, and other predator that can access to the nest. Here is an story of a nest defense from last season.

Quick update on the Red-shouldered Hawk pair

I have not seen much from the Red-shouldered Hawk pair lately.  I have heard some calling from the woods so I think they have eggs in the nest and the female is busy incubating.  In about a month they should have hatchlings.  More updates coming as their season continues.

Happy Birding and enjoy the more Spring-like weather!