April 18, 2006

Cam Watcher Questions

A Gallery note: In case someone didn't read my last post in the Osprey Cam Web Log, I am now asking cam watchers to send their cam gallery photos to a different email address. Please send all cam gallery submissions to blackwatercam@gmail.com

You can read the Osprey Cam Web Log if you'd like a full explanation regarding the change in addresses. The old address will still work, but I prefer you use the new address now.

flapping11.jpgCam Watcher Questions

I had planned to discuss "first flights" in this web log entry, but I realized I had received quite a few questions in the last week, and I should post the answers in the web log. So I'll save the discussion of flying for the nest post, and instead talk about some of the questions we've been getting.

Why do the eaglets perch so close to the edge?
While we're enjoying our wonderful new view from the Eagle Cam, several cam watchers had commented on the rather alarming way in which the eaglets have been clinging to the edge of the nest lately, sometimes out of our view.

As we get closer to fledging time, we're going to see more of this activity and also some branching, where the eaglets may sit in the branches of their home tree.

Up until recently, the eaglets have been sitting and laying in the nest almost the entire day and night, but they have to develop their talon strength and perching ability, and that is what they are practicing now. You can see in some of the shots how their talons are grasping the sticks, especially when they flap or cling to the edge. These are important exercises, since perching will be one of the most common activities for them as adult eagles. So while it makes our heart stop to see them suddenly clinging to the edge, this is normal behavior for a developing eaglet that will be leaving the nest very soon.

Here is a close-up photo showing how a pre-fledgling eaglet wraps its toes and talons around sticks to remain in place.

Will Craig Koppie still band and sex the eaglets?
I had a couple folks write in to ask if Craig Koppie -- our FWS eagle biologist -- is coming to our nest at all this season. Sadly, the answer is no. Craig really wanted to come so he could band and sex the cam chicks, but his schedule is not going to allow him to come before the eaglets fledge. There is a chance that Craig might come to Blackwater Refuge later this month or early next month to take several of our eaglets for the last year of the Vermont Bald Eagle Restoration Initiative project. But Craig will not be taking any eaglets from our cam nest -- he will likely only be taking eaglets from three-chick nests on the Refuge property.

What happened to Martha?
Another question I was asked about was the status of Martha -- the mother eagle that was violently attacked by another female eagle near the Woodrow Wilson Bridge in the Washington, DC area a couple weeks ago. We hear that they have decided to hold her at TriState Bird Rescue for a little while longer to be sure she is fully recovered. Now that she no longer has chicks to rush home to, they're going to give her a little more time to heal.

Is it normal for eagles to attack other eagles?
After hearing about Martha being attacked by another female bald eagle, one cam watcher asked me if eagles violently attacking other eagles was common. To be honest, I had not heard of such a thing, but then the Washington Post ran an article this week discussing the fact that the Chesapeake Bay bald eagle population is rapidly reaching a saturation point, and this type of behavior will become more common as a growing eagle population begins to compete with rapid shoreline development.

So while the comeback of the Chesapeake Bay bald eagles is a wonderful event, it means eagles will have a harder time finding prime nesting territory that has not already been developed by humans or claimed by other eagles. Competition will increase among the resident eagle population and attacks might become more common. You can read the Washington Post article here: So Many Bald Eagles, So Little Room Left to Nest. You may need to register on their site to access it.

A contest? Nobody told me about a contest?
I want to give a final reminder that the Eaglet-Naming Contest will be ending on April 22. If you haven't already voted, please do so and help us choose names for our 2006 eaglets. You can also win an eagle prize through our random drawing after the contest ends.

By the way, the last day of the contest -- April 22 -- is Earth Day, and a wonderful time to recognize and celebrate all that the earth provides for us. You can find out more about Earth Day, as well as activities around the country and the world, at this website:

Earth Day Network

In the next web log, we'll talk about what can happen when eaglets take that first scary jump out of the nest, and how they go about surviving it.

Until next time,
Lisa - webmaster

Posted by Webmaster at April 18, 2006 09:40 AM