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!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Hawk Report for 3/23

Still No Eggs yet...

Yesterday, The Red-shouldered Hawk pair was perched together. This morning, The pair was perched again together for a short time.  The nesting season for them still hasn't started.  It should be soon though.  I believe that they got started last season in late-March or early-April.  Once the female lays eggs, she will be incubating for about 30 days.  A little bit shorter than their larger cousin the Bald Eagle.  While a lot of Bald Eagle pairs share the incubating duties, Red-shouldered Hawk females do about 95% or more of the incubating.  The male will be busy getting food for both them.  She likes to "scream" at him from the nest and I have heard this a number of times overt the nesting season.  

I have always been a little hesitant to name nesting raptors.  I know it's pretty common on the nest cams but I just haven't ever done it for any of the Bald Eagle pairs that I have watched.  Should I name the Red-shouldered Hawk pair? What do you think?

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Hawk Report for 3/16

It's Almost Nesting Season

I have been seeing a lot of the Red-Shouldered Hawk pair of late.  Especially, the female has been perched in a tree in the sun almost every morning. Right after this shot,  I saw them copulating so it shouldn't be too much longer before they have eggs.  When that happens, the female is rarely off the nest and I usually hear her calling for her mate from deep in the woods where the nest is located. 

After the 2 feet of snow in the recent storm, the pair was perched together.

Luckily, They haven't started their nesting season but it might be tricky to locate prey in all this snow. The Bald Eagles aren't as lucky.  All the pairs are incubating eggs and it had to a difficult few days for them.  I'm hoping they all made it through and will have eaglets soon.  Stay tuned  for an eagle report soon.

Happy Birding!  

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Florida Trip Part 2

Pelicans and Dolphins

The weather is warming up lately and it makes me think about our Florida trip.  On our last full day in Treasure Island, FL, I had my best beach walk ever.  The Brown Pelicans were very busy fishing along with the Ospreys and terns that I wrote about in one of my last posts.  This bird has a special spot in my heart.  The Brown Pelican was another one of the poster child for the effects of DDT and just like the Bald Eagle, they have recovered amazingly well.  

Then I noticed something, The pelicans seemed to be attracted to a certain area where I caught one glimpse of a dorsal fin and then another, and then another.  The Bottlenose Dolphins were fishing too.

I think there was about a half dozen dolphins hunting right off the beach.

The pelicans were using the dolphins to locate fish and round them up.  Then they would....

SPLASH DOWN!!!  It was really fun watching these two kinds of animals fish and indirectly work together to catch their breakfast.  Treasure Island beaches are one of the best spots to view Bottlenose Dolphins in Florida.  Who needs to take a boat tour when you get up early and get a little lucky walking the beaches?

Happy Birding! 

Friday, February 10, 2017

Feathers on Friday for 2/10

Snowy Egret 

Happy Friday!  It is pretty ironic that I found a bird named Snowy Egret in Florida while trying to get out of the snow and cold of New York.  But this smaller egret does migrate south and is a common site around the beaches of Florida all year-round.  

Showing of it's yellow "socked" black feet

I had a lot of fun watching this guy forage in the surf.  It kept running away from the waves when they came in.  

Then in between waves, It looked for something to eat.

Have a great weekend and I hope all those in the Northeast have gotten dug out after the big storm.   Happy Birding!  

More Feathers on Friday Posts:

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Eagle Report for 2/8

The Eagle Pairs are Busy

Early February is an exciting time for Bald Eagle nest watchers like myself in the Northeast.   All the pairs at the nests that I watch are now busy getting ready for the season.   They are fixing their nests, reestablishing their bonds with their mate,  and removing younger eagles from their territories.  It seems that Eagles have a romantic side too.   Usually, most of the eagle pairs have eggs in the nest for Valentine's Day.  Who needs flowers when you can give little ones instead?

Eagles do have some time for some fun too!  The female in the above picture in particular was ready to take a ride.  At one point, The pair flew down on a thin ice sheet on the mostly unfrozen creek.  They loudly chattered at each other until the male flew off to perch in a nearby tree.  The female stayed on the ice sheet and like one of those "magic carpets" at airports rode the sheet up the creek.  She started out right under the nest and by the time she was done was at least a 100 yards upstream.  I guess this is public transportation for eagles.  Stay tuned for more updates throughout the nesting season.  

A male perched by one of the other nests.

Here are someone of the highlight from last season:

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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Florida Trip

Hovering Style of Hunting

We took our annual trip to Treasure Island, FL after Christmas to enjoy some beach time and warmer weather.  Our two boys battled illnesses for the trip but we still enjoyed the time there.  I got some time in the mornings to do some beach birding.   

Two types of birds that were very active fishing in the morning were the Ospreys,  and the Terns(Royal Tern and Common Tern).  They use a very similar hunting style.  Both hover over the water looking down to locate a fish.  

When they spot a fish, the terns lead with their long beak and dive into the water.   The Ospreys lead with their sharp talons and plunge into the water too.

The Bald Eagle uses a different approach.  Here is a Eagle perched by the Hudson River looking for a fish on the surface.  The much larger eagle uses the perch then fly when a fish is locate approach.  They usually just get their talons wet while the terns and Ospreys submerge most of their entire body into the water.  They use very different approaches but both are very effective in catching fish.