April 15, 2006

New View

flapping9.jpgNest Update: As most of our cam watchers know, we had planned to have Craig Koppie -- a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service eagle biologist -- climb our cam tree to adjust our camera and to band and sex the eaglets. Craig's schedule has not allowed him a chance to visit, so this morning we had Ron West, our regular tree climber, make the trip up to fix the cam.

This was the first time that Ron had been near a nest that contained eaglets, so Craig gave him some excellent tips for calming the birds. After Ron climbed the tall loblolly pine tree, he did a great job reassuring the eaglets that everything was fine, and the eaglets were very cooperative. While Ron was at the nest, he moved our cam a bit higher so the eagles -- and especially the soon-to-be-flying eaglets -- will not hit it. He also placed it under a branch with the hope that this will keep the birds from landing on it. After he left, the mother -- which had been flying around -- returned to the nest.

Ron said that when looking at the birds, the youngest eaglet is just a bit smaller than the oldest. He also said they both look like they're the size of big roosters.

Our eaglets are now seven weeks old. To get an idea of what they would look like up close, here is a photo taken at another eagles' nest that shows a young eaglet that is close to flying age.

The only drawback of not having Craig visit our nest is that we will not get to see the eaglets banded and sexed. But otherwise everything went well this morning, and we are very thankful to Ron for making such an adventurous climb on our behalf.

In the coming weeks, we hope to see the eaglets flapping their wings more and eventually making short hop flights around the nest. Then as they get closer to flying, we would expect to see them sitting in the branches -- an activity rightly called "branching." After that, we will be on the lookout for any cam images that show one of the birds clearly gone from the nest.

First flights are not only an exciting and momentous moment, but also a potentially dangerous one. Some flapping eaglets are blown out of the nest prematurely, and some do not survive their first flight due to crashes or dangerous landings.

In the next web log, we'll talk more about the hazards and rewards of the eaglet's first flight.

We thank Ron again for his terrific job this morning. And I also want to thank all our cam watchers for their patience as we worked on our camera mount problems. We appreciate your continued loyalty to our cam and to our website. We'll update the Gallery next week.

Until next time,
Lisa - webmaster

Posted by Webmaster at April 15, 2006 06:25 PM