Sunday, February 28, 2010

As the Eagle grows

As the Eagle grows from Jane Patterson on Vimeo.

Paid another visit to the Ramah-Maringuoin Bald Eagle nest today. A fitting end to Eagle Expo weekend, even though that was held down near the coast in Morgan City (LOTS of eagles down that way!!). Michael Seymour with LDWF and his wife Kim and son Gavin arrived not long after I got there to see the nest and take some pictures and video as well.

This video features a few minutes of the chick being fed by Dad. You can see how much he's grown in the 3 weeks since the last video I posted. He's nearly as large as the adult now. He'll probably be larger than his parents them by the time he fledges, since they're working hard and all he does is eat, sleep, and poop.
Speaking of which, at about 3 minutes into the video you'll be treated to a shot of that. Then Mom arrives and Dad leaves after a minute or two. The nest is buzzed by an Osprey, which doesn't seem to bother her too much.

As Michael and I watched, a 4-wheeler approached the nest tree. It seemed to deliberately head for the tree, and when it got too close, Mama Eagle bolted. Another 4-wheeler followed the first, along with 3 or 4 tagalong dogs - 4 guys altogether. They parked under the nest tree for several minutes, which kept Mom from returning to the tree. It was not clear what their intention was, but it was clear they were bothering the eagle and keeping her from returning to the nest. Because there are laws bothering eagles (Eagle Protection Act, Migratory Bird Treaty Act) Michael called LDWF enforcement, but the guys left the tree area before enforcement arrived. I also left before enforcement got there, but as you can see in the comments Michael left, they did talk to the guys and let them know what the rules are. I'm not sure how the landowners feel about the eagles nesting there, and they may not appreciate the attention directed toward their property, but the eagles are just trying to make a living and hopefully they'll respect that.

Monday, February 15, 2010

I have my eye on you, woman

and I will kill you if you threaten my young'un

A friend recently told me about a Great Horned Owl's nest in the middle of Baton Rouge. I looked for it last weekend, but I was operating under the impression I should be looking for a nest in a cavity. There was a great hollow tree at the proper location, and I saw an adult owl, but if there was a nest there, I wasn't seeing it. I did see a stick nest high in the tree....but owls don't use stick nests, right? Wrong! Apparently Great Horned Owls are opportunistic nesters -- they don't construct their own nests but will use the abandoned nests of other birds. Since they actually nest in the winter time, before other birds nest, this may actually be more of a "time share" deal -- although something I read said that GHOwl nestlings basically make such a mess of the nest there's not much left of the abode once they're done with it!

So I went back today to see if I could see any sign of baby owl life in the nest. Since there's an adult owl hanging around, it stands to reason that there are offspring there. It appears the young owl is getting self-sufficient as the adult is not "sitting" on the nest. Instead it perches some 100 yards away in a pine tree, at a height that must be appropriate for keeping a sharp eye on the little guy in the nest. I set up on the road under the nest -- not too close because I didn't want to be directly under the nest. Unfortunately, because of the lighting, while I was taking pictures of the nest my back was directly to the adult owl -- and I gotta say, this was making me VERY nervous. I kept imagining him or her swooping in on silent wings, talons extended, taking off a good chunk of my scalp. ::gulp::
Fortunately, I must not have seemed to threatening, as I walked away in one piece.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Glimpses into the Eagle Nest

A Glimpse Into the Eagle's Nest from Jane Patterson on Vimeo.

Composite of video clips featuring action at the Bald Eagle nest. Includes the female eagle doing nest maintenance and calling, the male joining her on the nest, the female feeding the chick (is that a flounder??), and a few seconds of the chick alone on the nest. Be sure to stay for the finale :-)

The nest is located on the east side of the Atchafalaya Basin levee near Ramah & Maringuoin, LA. Video taken on 2/7/10. The chick appears to be about 3-4 weeks old.