Eagle Season 2020-21Posted by Diane Cook on 9/21/2020
July 19, 2021 On a rainy August morning, The Raptor Trust released H05 back out into the wild. His injury healed and was ready to release, and live like a wild eagle again.
I'm so happy this story had a happy ending!
Nesting season is over for the bald eagles in NJ. See you all next season!
July 7, 2021 We all love watching those cute little chicks grow and learn how to become an eagle. Sometimes when we follow the eagles, thanks to the live cams, we see things in nature we'd rather not. We are reminded that nature is hard and not always cute and kind. The first year of life is a hard one for young eaglets. They need to learn from hatch how to get along with siblings in the nest. Once they survive that, there is the sometimes dangerous business of branching (learning how to fly). Then there is taking that first flight. Finally if all has gone well, the young eagles must learn how hunt and feed themselves.
I am afraid I have sad news about one of our local eagle fledglings. (You can see H04 and H05 in my June 22 post below). After watching both eaglets "branch" on their home tower, and cheering when they both took that first flight, we noticed H05 was not seen on the live cam for a couple days. His brother, H04, was returning and waiting for that free meal. Where was he?
The Eagle Project nest monitors received an email on July 4th that H05 was found on the ground on property near the nest. He couldn't fly. He is at the Raptor Trust and in good hands. Click the link to read the report yourself on the CWFNJ website.
H05 is where he needs to be. Now it is up to him to stay still and calm to allow his broken bone to heal itself. More updates will be provided in a couple weeks. Here's to hoping he heals, and will be able to fly free with all the other eagles!
Here are a few screen shots of H05 before he was grounded.
H05 sits on the perch, watching his brother H04 fly into the nest.
June 22, 2021 Hello eagle watchers! There is another bald eagle nest close to home. This is the nest I have been invited to banding since 2015. It sits on a power line tower.
We were all worried about the eagles this year since the tower was very old and needed replacement. PSE&G worked with state biologists to be sure the eagles were safe. We volunteers worried about the eagles. They watched the work being done, and remained in the area. We hoped they would come back, and they did!
There were 2 more eagle chicks hatched and raised at this nest again this year. It was hard to see into the nest. It was placed in a specilly designed platform. There is a live cam on the nest, but it was not working until May. It has night vision and SOUND! You can actually hear talons clicking on the metal surface of the tower.
There was so much action the last 3 days, and I captured it on video. I created a web page of the videos. Click on the picture below to visit.
June 19, 2021 Both siblings have been in and out of the nest since fledging. They do not spend much time there, mostly dropping by for a meal. This visit both fledglings fly onto and off of the tree branches, one at a time. The first to arrive stayed for a while before taking off again.
One came back to the branch.
The other one landed on the nest.
Soon it was joined by its sibling. They spent time poking around the nest floor. No food was to be found. Still they remained.
They laid down and looked very relaxed. One began some allopreening to the displeasure of the other who kept turning around and nipping the groomer. They quieted down and laid down in the nest for some time. It's hard to see them in the shadows.
June 3, 2021 The eaglets at Duke Farms have been flying in and off of the nest. They both look to be flying well. The parents will continue to feed their young while also teaching them how to hunt and fish for themselves. The cam is focused on the nest and the few big branches nearby. We do not see all the action that takes place out of that area. Parents will deliver prey to a branch on which the eaglets are perched. They will learn how to eat while perched on a branch. There are so many lessons yet to be learned. Once they disperse, or go their own way, the eaglets still have much to learn. The first 5 years are hard ones for young bald eagles.
This morning I caught both youngsters on the nest. I watched a bit of allopreening. #1 was grooming the feathers of #2. #2 is the first to get up and flies to the branch. The landing was great, but when he took off, he slipped or missed the branch he was aiming for, and fell into the leaves below. No worries, though since we do see him flying again later. #1 stayed on the nest for a while. Watch the video for that early morning peek at the nest. Watch carefully towards the end. #2 is on the sleeping branch, gets all excited, and flies off. A few seconds later watch for the adult flying by with one of the young eagles following closely behind.
May 29, 2021 We haven't had rain in some time, and it sure came in strong yesterday. There were heavy downpours and lots of wind overnight. I had to check to be sure all was OK. The eagle family spends less time at the nest as Mom and Dad teach their young eagles how to hunt and fish, eat while perched, and how to be a bald eagle. I was glad to see both eaglets visit the nest this morning. They look strong and healthy.
Eaglet #2 is the better and first flyer. While they are both flying now, he still looks to be more comfortable and agile than his larger sibling. Eaglet #1 was the first to drop down from a higher branch to the 12:00.
Eaglet #2 flew in from a distance, past his sibling on the branch, and made a nice landing on the nest.
Click to watch the video of the eaglets arriving at the nest.
Both eaglets poked around the nest looking for something to eat.
#2 was the first to leave, moving to the 12:00 branch first, then to the sleeping branch.
#1 followed, first to the 12:00 branch, then to the sleeping branch. She hopped around on that branch for some time, still looking unsure about flying.
Finally she followed, and flew off camera view in the direction of her sibling. Glad both survived the storm and wind.
May 21, 2021 Interesting lunch today. #1 was hanging out in the shade of the sleeping branch. The sun is hot today.
She sees something coming into the nest. It is Dad flying right past or over her head. That is an invitation to follow.
He makes a beautiful landing. Was #1 just given a lesson in how to stick a landing?
Right behind him is Mom. She lands on the sleeping branch right next to her offspring.
She does not stay for long. She needs to make a quick escape because right behind her is #2! He lands next to his sister. Oh how things have changed. Now he is the one to show her how things are done. He may have been picked on when he was the little guy in the nest, but he is the fledgling rockin' the trees and the sky right now.
Dad says goodbye to Mom, and calls the "kids" to the nest.
#2 doesn't need to be called again. He shows his sister how to float over to the nest and stick that landing.
Now who is first to eat? #1 wants to come over, but she is so unsure of herself.
She takes the leap, and makes another ungraceful landing.
That nest is crowded so Dad leaves the eaglets. He goes first to the sleeping branch, and then goes off.
#1 watches as her brother eats. She aproaches slowly but does not fight him. Has she gained a bit of respect for her younger sibling?
She retreats to the branch on her usual spot. It is not until her brother has finished that she comes down for her share, landing once more on him.
#1 finally eats lunch. #2 flies up to the branch. He is so comfortable taking off and landing, and does so with confidence and no hesitation.
He doesn't stay long. He flies to the sleeping branch, and is then gone.
With her fill of lunch, she returns to her perch on the branch. Don't you wonder what she is thinking as she sits up there alone. Is she watching her brother as he flies from branch to branch? Are her parents nearby? We don't have a wide view, and can only wonder and guess.
Happy weekend eagle watchers!
May 20, 2121 After all the excitement of the last few days I was hoping things would quiet down. They have somewhat.
When I looked early this morning I could see both "kids" on the branches where they spent the night. The screen shot is dark and hard to see but they are both there.
Then it was time for an early morning snack.
And another food drop. While the younsters fight for it, the adult stays out of the way.
Both chicks were home in the early afternoon. #2 goes up the branch to hang out.
His sister has ideas of her own. My first thought was, didn't she learn her lesson a few days ago? This looked like trouble about to happen and history to repeat itself. From the look on his face, I think #2 might have been thinking the same.
She kept pestering him too. She was in his face.
He finally had enough. To get some peace, he took off for the sleeping branch. He stayed a short time before taking off again. Being able to fly has its advantages.
May 19, 2021 Great news today! We saw BOTH eaglets flying into the nest and both are eating. It was worrisome to all the cam watchers whether both were getting fed. Eagle parents are very good at their jobs. They do take care of and feed their young until they can do it for themselves. If they leave the nest early, parents have been seen bringing prey to the branch where a youngster may be perched. The adult will feed its offspring right there on the branch.
Early morning visit to the nest. Crying for breakfast to be served, this eaglet waits.
Dad to the rescue! That is some mantling by the youngster.
Dad offers some help, and feeds his offspring.
It was difficult to see what was going on so far away and off cam. Today there was no doubt. One eaglet, #2 I think, was on the nest with Dad. He had a great landing, with much control.
Both began looking around.
Out of the trees above them the other eaglet, #1, came flying towards the nest.
It was a most ungraceful landing, and right on its sibling, but home are both eaglets! Dad flies off, leaving both young looking. Who is going to feed us? Will more be delivered? Stay tuned.
The video shows all the action better than screen shots can. Enjoy!
Once things settled down, the siblings were together once again on the nest and branches of the nest tree.
Both eaglets return to the accident site. They are in the same positions, #2 is at the top.
After #2 gets a bit restless, #1 moves down to the nest. She finds a new branch for her very own.
The video is fun to watch.
May 16, 2021 Update!
Because I volunteer for the state's Bald Eagle Project, and this is my nest to monitor, I know where this nest is located. Duke Farms is private property, and not even I can tresspess to see the eagles. I do know an spot that is public land that lets me see the area where the nest is located. I cannot see the nest, and the woods where the eagles are is very far away. I rode to the river this afternoon to see if I could spot both eaglets. Thanks to the cam, we know where the one was sitting, but what about the other. I was very relieved to see BOTH right away. The one we see on the cam was moving, but not flying. They other was high in the trees, and flying from branch to branch. I reported what I observed to the state biologists and Duke Farms.
May 16, 2021 I am up early thanks to the backyard birds enjoying the early morning. They were singing up a storm today.
A first check of the live cam this morning showed #2 already out on the branch. Chat says one of them, no ID, went out last night and appears to have spent the night on the branch. Chat reported the eaglet on the branch at midnight, again sometime after 3am, and I first checked at 5:30am. Later I watched #1 join the other on the branch. #2, either feeling adventurous or trying to put distance between itself and sibling, moved further out on the branch!
He moved so far out, I lost sight as he was out of cam view.
So thankful a cam operator adjusted the view.
Both eaglets are out on the branch as I write this report at 9am.
You could see both eaglets watching and following someone above them. While there is no sound, I could just imagine hearing the noise as I watched both mouths moving.
These 2 are eager to go.
#2 was getting impatient to get back to the nest. You could see he wanted to fly but didn't know how to get over his sibling.
Finally he jumped, but landed on the back of #1. They both lost their balance and over the side they went.
#2 seemed to turn and fall/fly towards the right side of the "Y" branch of the nest.
#1 seem to fall straight down.
One eaglet could be seen flying to the left side of the screen into all the green leaves.
They other flew straight and landed on a low branch.
The cam operator zoomed in to look at the one we could see. The eaglet seemed unhurt, but confused.
I'm not sure who is who. I keep trying to figure it out, rewatching the video over and over. When I think I got it, I change my mind and then change it back again.
You can see all the action in real time. I made a video of the event. You decide who is who.
May 15, 2021 A light wind blew up this afternoon and the eaglets were loving the feel of it under their wings. They took turns standing into the wind, wings up. I wonder if they are feeling what it must be like to fly?
#1 spent most of the afternoon on the branch. Her balance is really getting good. Once that wind started, she gave a flight down from her perch. Lots of flapping followed. The wind helped to lift her into the air above the nest. I held my breath hoping it didn't blow her off. Here is a video of the action.
May 8, 2021 Many nest watchers were worried this year about the lack of prey being brought into the nest. In comparison to other years, yes perhaps, there was less laying around in the nest for long periods of time. I noticed 2 things that did not cause me to worry. Most importantly, both eaglets were growing and developing right on target. The agressive #1 taught the younger #2 he had to learn some strategies to be able to get enough to eat, and he did. He waited, and then when he did feed he did so with lightening speed grabs. On occassion, he also got in a couple bonks on his older sibling.
The 2nd think I noticed this year, were the number of visitors near or on the nest. Back in December, remember the young eagle who landed on the nest? There is much we don't see on cam view, so I watch the behavior of the eagles. There were many times when I believe the adults were followed back to the nest when they were delivering prey. I don't think they wanted to attract visitors to the nest with their young eaglets there. Food was delivered when needed, and fed to the young in one sitting.
As the eaglets continue to grow, withholding food becomes a strategy of the adults to get them youngsters to fly.
This morning both eaglets were up early exercising. They played tug of war with a stick.
Their wings are getting strong with all the flapping. Their legs are also getting strong which will help them take off and land.
#1 got a big jump in the middle of the nest, catching some serious air under her.
They do love standing on the edge of the nest. This stage makes me so nervous. If they are not yet ready for flight, it is a long way down from that nest.
#2 made a couple "flights" from one side of the nest to the other. It is hard to get a nice screen shot without the blur of motion. I made this video instead.
The eaglets catch sight of Dad. He comes flying into the nest with a fish. The eaglets are excited! They both rush Dad wings up ready to mantle and hide that fish from the other. #1 wins the race and drags the fish away. Watch the video to see them in action.
April 28, 2021 April is almost over, and the eaglets will soon be ready to fly. They are exercising to build strong muscles that will help them during flight, as well as when feeding themselves. Early this morning, I caught both wing flapping, doing jumping jacks, and it seems, showing off to each other. Rather than screen shots, I captured some video for you. Watch how they take turns flapping those wings, sometimes hitting each other. No, that is not snow you see, but down feathers. When Mom flies in, Eaglet #1 thinks she has breakfast, and begins to mantle grabbing for the special delivery. Unfortunately there is no prey, but the young eagle has grabbed Mom's foot instead. She gets her foot back without injury, and soon flies off. Both eaglets watch. It looks as if they are wondering why she left without bringing them breakfast. I didn't see, what I'm sure they ate later. Enjoy the video.
April 15, 2021 Each day brings more special events for the chicks. They spend more and more time alone on the nest. This morning both spent some time preening (fluffing, straighening, and cleaning the feathers).
Dad flew in with a snack.
Both chicks fed, and even made a grab to feed themselves.
It doesn't take long for #2 to drag the leftovers across the nest to feed itself.
Snack is over, the 2 eaglets hang out together on the nest.
April 7, 2021 This early morning check I observed Dad feeding both chicks what little was left of something - a fish I believe. Can you see his bands?
Mom flew in and watched. I wonder if she was thinking about how small the leftovers looked.
Both adults flew off, leaving the chicks to themselves. There was no fighting.
Those new feathers are growing fast and covering up the thermal down.
The female returned with a small fish. She attempted to feed the chicks, but they weren't that interested.
Rain was on the way so she settled down trying to brood 2 large offspring. They covered their heads under Mom. That is all that would fit.
We got a great view of their stubby little tails growing in. The white part near the body, the feather sheath, is filled with blood and the new growing feather. The sheath is made of keratin, like our fingernails. These emerging feathers are called pin feathers. Soon those feathers will open, and the eaglets will have a beautiful brown tail.
Lots of interesting behaviors observed this afternoon. Both eaglets are beginning to stand more on their legs. They are beginning to take a few steps too. Their feet are enormous!
We got more great views of the pin feathers growing on their wings and tails.
I watched 2 feedings this afternoon. The first was a great example of the feeding strategy chick 2 has developed. Being smaller and younger, there was and still is sometime, much sibling rivalry. Chick 2 learned early on to bow down and let its older and bigger sibling eat. Chick 1 is very dominate, and even once stuffed would still go after chick 2 when it attempted to feed. Chick 2 did try to fight back, only to be beaten down by the older chick. Chick 2 needed to develop another feeding strategy. It watches and waits for the sibling to get a big bite. It takes a while to take the big bite in and swallow it. This is when chick 2 strikes with lightening speed at the next bite offered. I have observed this behavior more in the last 2 1/2 weeks. Today, it was funny to watch their interaction with each other. Chick 2 was feeding with lightening strikes. Each time, chick 1 turned to watch. After a short time, chick 1 began to use the lightening strike strategy too! At one time both went after the same bite and caught Mom by the tongue! She tried to pull away but couldn't until both chicks let go.
Both chicks are becoming very interested in their surroundings. Today I watched both standing and looking around. They both become very excited when one of the adults arrive.
At the 2nd feeding, the female arrived with a fish in her talons. As soon as she landed, both chicks bowed their heads and stayed low.
She dropped the fish, and began yelling.
She took off. Someone must have followed her back to the nest, wanting to steal that fish. The chicks remained low in the nest for a couple minutes while she was gone. Chick 2 was the first to look up.
Both chicks nibbled on the fish, but did not really take any pieces to eat. They waited and watched for "mom" to return.
They tracked her coming back. They have good eyesight now.
She did, and they greeted her eager to eat.
March 30, 2021 Early morning check today showed Dad feeding leftover fish to both chicks.
He flies off, and in less than 10 minutes returns with a rabbit for breakfast.
Both watch him as he de-furs the rabbit. Chick 1 is beginning to stand and take small wobbly steps on feet instead of legs.
Dad does a nice job of feeding both chicks.
Eaglet 1 still keeps an eye on Eaglet 2. There is less "bonking" these days, but it still can happen. These 2 are well fed chicks.
March 25, 2021 It was a wet start to the day here in the nest. With warm temperatures and thermal down growing the chicks are left more on their own in the nest, even early in the morning. One of the adults is nearby, but out of cam view.
Mom comes back to sit with her young. They try to get under her but just don't fit very well anymore. They are about the size of chickens now.
She spent some time foraging around the nest looking for something to feed her chicks. There was not much left, so off she went. Yesterday I talked about the crop that birds of prey have in their neck. It looks like Chick 1 is yawning, but instead, it is moving food from the crop to its throat to swallow it.
Before you know it, Dad comes home with a fresh fish! The chicks must still be full because they don't jump up right away. Eventually they do both eat.
First Chick 1.
Then Chick 2. It seems there is no need for fighting over who will eat first. They have reached the age, where that part of life is over, and there can be peace in the nest during meal time.
Snack over, it is time to stretch out and nap. Look at the size of those feet!
Chick 1 is getting strong. It is beginning to stand straight up, resting on feet instead of legs.
It is getting warm today. When eagles get too hot, they pant just like a dog. They are both becoming very aware of their surroundings these days too. They spend time sitting up, preening, and looking around.
March 23, 2021 The chicks have now lost the natal down that covered their bodies when they first hatched. The thermal down has replaced it. These feathers will help to keep the chicks warm. They are also old enough to hold onto their own body heat. The adults will begin to spend more time off the nest. The nestlings, as they are called are about the size of a chicken. Beaks and feet grow fast. At this age, those feet look like clown feet. They are hard to walk on too.
Dad spends some time with the kids. These are some well fed nestlings! Look at the size of those crops. Remember the crop is part of the digestive system. It is a pocket in the neck that holds food. Eagles and hawks, eat all they can when food is available. When the stomach is full, extra food is stored in the crop. They use muscles in their neck to force strored food out of the crop and down into the stomach.
Speaking of food, look what Mom brought home! More fish. The state has begun stocking the river with fish just in time for fishing season to begin. People aren't the only ones able to catch fish released into the river.
With full bellies and crops, it is naptime for the nestlings.
Night comes, and everyone is tucked and ready for night. The nestlings are so big, they don't fit under Mom anymore. She stays close.
March 12, 2021 Quick early morning check found the chicks alone for a short time. Chick 1 already has a feather change.
There is a big size difference between the chicks. They look like best friends during this check but that is not the case at feeding time. Chick 1 eats first and often.
March 5, 2021 Even though the cold wind is blowing, we have enjoyed lots of sunshine. That has melted lots of the snow and ice we have had for the entire month of February! The nest is full of prey. Lots of fish is being caught too.
These chicks will keep Mom and Dad busy. They grow fast, and will eat many times a day.
March 4, 2021 After some warm temperatures, lots of sunshine, and melting snow it seemed spring was on the way. It seems winter is not yet done with us. The adult eagles have spent the last couple days sitting low in the nest, fighting the wind, and keeping those chicks warm. Chicks this young cannot thermoregulate, or control their own body heat. They still need their parents to brood (sit on the nest, and cover them to get heat from them), just like they did with the eggs.
The chicks white feathers they hatch with is called natal down. Slowly over the first 10-15 days, the fuzzy, natal down will be replaced with gray thermal down. Thermal down will help keep the chicks warm. It is not waterproof, so Mom and Da will still need to keep the chicks protected from the rain. Keeping 2 wiggling and hungry chicks covered is not easy task.
March 3, 2021 Good morning eagles watchers. Mom left for her break. Before Dad came in to stay with the "kids" we got a good look at both with the night cam view, as well as those fish delivered yesterday.
You can really see the size difference in these chicks.
Come on Dad, I'm hungry. It's time to eat!
Bald eagle adults will tear off small pieces of meat to feed to the chicks. The eaglet at this age does not have good eyesight. They see mostly shadows. The adults will hold the food close allowing the chick to grab at the shadow and catching some food. They are wobbly before their muscles get stronger, and can hold up their head. Chicks will compete for food. You may see one "bonking" (grabbing and wrestling) the other. It usually doesn't hurt but teaches the other who will be first to eat. Watch the video of this morning's first feeding. You can see the older bonk the younger. I also noticed the younger bonking the older. Is it fighting back, or just bad eyesight at only 2 days old?
March 2, 2021 The first thing I do when I get up for the day is to check the cam. The rewind feature is great! It lets us see what happens overnight. Just before midnight, Mom rolled the eggs and you could see chick 2 was almost out of the shell.
She was keeping everyone covered up, and did not give us many views. Finally about 12:39 she got up and stood off the nest! It was like she was showing us, "See, everything is OK".
It is hard to see at night. I've circled the new chick.
Just before sunrise, chick 1 wanted breakfast. Mom got up for a feeding. We were able to get a good look at chick 2 also.
Mom is getting better at feeding. Chick 1 is getting big and strong. The adults will need to keep that one well fed so it doesn't hurt the new chick. Chicks do fight over food, and will let each other know who eats first. Have you ever heard the saying, "pecking order"? This is what will happen. The strongest chick will be the first to eat. This does not always mean it will be the oldest. I've seen some littles stand up to an older sibling. We will have to watch and see what happens here.
Mom leaves, and Dad arrives. He gets his first look at chick 2. It is cold and windy this morning, he covers up quickly.
March 1, 2021 An early moring nest check showed lots of rain, and a very wet Mom. She had her umbrella up to keep her chick and 2 other eggs as dry as she could.
This afternoon Mom was feeding chick 1, and egg 2 was in the right position to show a good sized pip! Mom is getting better at feeding the chick. More is getting inside instead of falling in the nest. The chick is also getting stronger and not as wobbly. Eyesight gets better each day too.
The egg moved as the chick bumped into it, but I could also see movement inside! Look closely for the egg tooth in the center of the opening.
By late afternoon, the wind began to blow hard. The nest tree was rocking back and forth. Mom laid down low in the nest, and held on tight with her bill.
Dad came in to give Mom a break. She was not moving yet.
February 26, 2021 Here is how the day began. An early morning check gave me a great look at the egg when Mom rolled them. Instead of a pip, there is now a crack. Hatch is on the way!
As the sun is bringing light and the cam turns to daylight mode, we get a look at the chick almost out of the shell.
Can you see the little wing? It looks like the chick is waving.
An adult eagle will not remove the shell of a hatching chick, but after observing the cam for some time, I think all that turning and rolling helps the process. It is hard to see, but I think the chick is finally out.
Such an exciting day is ahead. There was lots of movement on the nest this morning. Mom was rolling and moving. Before the sun came up she finally gave us a look. Click on the link to see the first look video. More photos and news to come. Stay tuned!
Dad comes in for his first look. As usual, Mom is not willing to move.
They discuss it, and she gives in.
Dad checks out his new chick!
February 25, 2021 Mom can be so stubborn at times. She is incubating and looks comfortable when Dad flies in to take his turn. Nope, she's got this and lets him know.
She finally gives in, and there is an exchange.
When she returns, she gives him a look. She means to have her nest back!
She explains her point of view.
He sees her point of view and leaves the nest to her.
As she gets comfortable we get a good look at the eggs. That pip is getting big! Look carefully just above the grass, and in the middle of that pip. You can see the black bill with a tiny white spot on the tip. That is the chick's egg tooth! Remember that egg tooth is what the chick uses to break the egg shell during hatching.
She rolls the eggs, and that pip is gone.
February 22, 2021 Still waiting for a hatch. The waiting is hard! Between classes today, I glanced over at my laptop and watched as the cam ZOOMED! Yay, now we just need an incubation exchange to look at the eggs. Mom flew in, but would Dad move?
He talks to her for a bit.
He gives a look toward the eggs. She waits for her turn.
They have a bit of a disagreement using those bills.
Finally he gives in, and the incubation exchange happens. We get our first close up look at the eggs. It is not good enough to show if hatch has begun. We wait.
Mom settles down on her eggs just as the snow begins to fly again.
February 21, 2021 With the cam still not zoomed in for a close look at the eggs, we will not be able to see the "pip". Experienced eagle watchers may remember that the pip is the first break in the shell made by the chick. The chick grows a hard tip on the end of its tiny bill. It scratches at the inside of the shell until it finally breaks through. It continues to peck away at this opening until the shell finall cracks. Then it pushes to open it and free itself from the shell.
The volunteers who watch other nests do not have a cam to see what is happening. They need to look at the behavior of the adults. Some signs to watch for:
-Restless adults who keep moving around on the nest.
-More egg rolling than usual happens.
-Without sound we can't hear, but watch for the movement of the bill. Adults can hear the chick inside chirping and will "talk" back to it.
-Finally watch for prey to be delivered to the nest.
I had been seeing signs but the one that got me excited was when Dad brought prey into the nest today.
I could not identify what it was, but I think it was something furry. Fishing this time of year will be hard, so the eagles will hunt for rabbits, squirrels, and even ducks or geese.
I did not see anything, but the eagles looked nervous. Mom gave out a few yells which looked more than just, "hello" to Dad. He flew off. I wonder if he gave chase to whoever they spotted?
February 20, 2021 Beautiful first light on the nest and Mom this morning. Dad comes down ready for an exchange.
Of course she does her best to ignore him, but he pulls out all his tricks. He first scratches her back for which he receives a nip and a talking to.
When that fails, he moves some sticks around the nest.
He goes back to her, actually lifted her wing and put it back in place, and together with some more back scratching finally got her moving.
Off she goes.
He settles on the eggs as the turkey parade begins below.
February 19, 2021 We had another snowstorm deliver 5-8 inches of snow yesterday. Later in the day, overnight, and early this morning a light, misty icy something continues to fall.
Early this morning I watched Dad come into the nest for an incubation exchange. It would be fun to watch a video of this one rather than screen shots. They seemed to have a conversation this morning. Were they discussing the weather? Have a great day eagle watchers, and stay safe and warm. Click on the link to watch.
February 14, 2021 Today is snow removal day. Earlier in the day the female had flown into the nest with some grass and a corn stalk. About noontime, the female sat on the eggs watching the turkey parade in the distance.
The male flew in with a new stick.
As he tried to place it, he continually hit her in the head with it. She was not pleased.
Something caught their attention.
Then there was an incubation exchange.
Dad takes his turn.
February 12, 2021 First check, before the sun rises, Mom is up and ready for an exchange. We get a great look at the eggs with the night vision cam. They almost glow.
Dad is on the nest and rolls the eggs.
Nature is tough on its wildlife. As if all the snow we've had and the cold temperatures to keep it around aren't bad enough, a young eagle is still hanging around the nest. Is it the same young eagle who has visited before?
No matter who it is, the adults were not happy. Dad gave his best bend his head over his back yell. Mom is on the branch, and you can see the other eagle flying away under the nest.
The young eagle must not have gone far. Even after 30 minutes, both Mom and Dad remained on alert, and vocalized their displeasure with the visitor. He continued to throw his head back and yell. Only Mom's back and tail were visible on the cam, but you could see she was vocalizing also when her tail and body shake.
Dad got up a couple times to check on the eggs. Mom continue to watch and yell, her tail bobbing up and down. All was well.
Finally she flies off to give chase. He remains with the eggs, and settles back down to continue incubating.
February 7, 2021 More snow falls in our area. It has stayed cold without much melting. The snow continues to pile up on the nest and around Mom. The eggs should be warm under her though.
I never did see the cause of her alarm. She did seem nervous, and her wings went up in a mantle position.
She finally settled back down. Nothing was seen on the live cam. I wonder what alarmed her?
A check later in the afternoon, showed Dad flying in with a new stick.
He tried to position it. They seemed to have a conversation.
Was he offering an incubation exchange?
If so, she wasn't interested. He flew off to leave her to continue incubating her eggs.
February 2, 2021 It looks like we have a repeat performance this morning of a NO incubation exchange.
Dad did fly down to the nest to take his turn. Mom was having none of it.
He did all his usual tricks - talked to her, back nibbles.
He finally gave up, tucked his head under his wing, and napped on the edge of the nest.
They stayed like that for short time, before he woke. He tried one more time to take a turn at incubation.
He finally gave up and flew off himself. She stayed behind with her eggs.
Later in the afternoon, I tuned in to about 3:30 to observe for a bit. Dad was incubating when Mom flew in with some new grass for the nest. They bring new nest material frequently in the bad weather.
There was an incubation exchange, and Dad flew off.
Mom stays behind to incubate.
February 1, 2021 So much snow from the storm, covers the nest. It looks like the snow plows forgot to clear it away. I think it is time I begin to call this 3rd female Mom. She is proving to be a good and dedicated one.
Dad flies down to the nest in the early morning hours. It is time for her to take a break from incubation.
She is not going to move, and lets him know it.
She ignores him.
He tries a little back scratch.
She is not moving, and explains it to him. Females have a larger brood patch than the male. A brood patch is an area on her breast that loses feathers when eggs are laid. This happens to both male and female birds. More body heat can reach the eggs this way. The female bald eagle, being a larger bird with a larger brood patch, can better incubate the eggs. She knows it and wants to stay.
Dad insists she take a break.
She finally gives in to his efforts, and gets up to take her break. As the incubation exchange happens, we get a peek at the eggs.
Dad settles in to incubate. Can you see the difference in size between him and Mom? He doesn't fill that space in the snow as much as she does.
While she did take her break, but returned a short time later. Her instincts to protect the eggs are strong. I will call her Mom, she has earned it.
January 31, 2021 January ends with a big snowstorm. The snow began just before 1pm, and continued all day. Bald eagles stay with those eggs, and protect them no matter the weather.
I checked at the end of the day and found a snow covered nest. Where's the eagle? Can you find her?
She pokes her head out of the snow. Even when covered in snow, a bald eagle's 7,000+ feathers keep the bird warm.
She stands and shakes off the snow.
The eggs stay dry and warm under the female's large body.
She hunkers down, and continues incubating her eggs no matter the weather.
January 24, 2021 Good early morning eagle watchers! DFF3 gets up, and calls to Dad to take his turn on the eggs. It is time for her to take a break and look for breakfast.
There is an incubation exchange as Dad flies in for his turn.
He is settled, tucks his head under his wing, and naps a bit longer.
The sun is up, and so is Dad. Hoping for a quiet day on the nest.
January 23, 2021 Late afternoon I tuned into the live cam and found DFF3 on the nest. She was looking a bit nervous. The cam was having difficulty keeping focus in the wind, but lots of movement could be seen below the nest. The turkeys were coming in to roost for the night. She was following their movement.
A few minutes later, she stood up in that funny position she takes when she is ready to lay an egg. Her wings went up a bit too. I watched more carefully, could she really be working on egg 3?
I watched for more signs, and they did come! The feathers on her back rose as she sat in the all too familiar position for laying eggs.
About 5:20pm, she stood up and looked. She did not give us a look, but I'm sure there was a third 3.
She settled down on the nest, while Dad sat on his sleeping branch.
Still waiting for a look at the eggs, she was not moving. She looked very comfortable on the nest, preening away. The cam switched to night vision which would give us a great view of the eggs, if only she would stand up!
Finally about an hour after laying, she stood up and cam watchers got our first look!
I couldn't help but notice all the 3s. This is the 3rd female at this nest. Each of the females has laid 3 eggs. The original female laid 3 in 2009. Female 2, the one we always called Mom in our classroom, laid 3 in 2014. Now in 2021, Duke Farms Female 3 (DFF3), laid her 3 eggs!
One last look for the night as DFF3 rolls her eggs. Eggs are rolled so that they can be heated evenly. Birds lose feathers on their undersides when eggs have been laid. This lets more body heat come in contact with the egg. Eggs must be kept at a certain temperature for the baby to grow. Both male and female birds develop brood patches. Hers is bigger, which is why you will see the female spending more time incubating. Egg rolling also prevents the egg yolk from sticking to the inside of the shell, which could harm the developing chick.
January 20, 2021 Wow, what a day! Woke up to a cam that was not working. Thankfully it was reset and back up. I checked before school started to find the DFF (Duke Farms Female) in her signature position covered in a dusting of snow. Can you see the flock of turkeys on the ground. They are at the top of the photo.
Do you think she was watching them? She sure is big. Look at how much room she takes up in the nest.
Just before 10, she got up, stretched, and left.
Dad flies in from another direction. Look carefully, can you see his green band?
He settles down on the egg.
He had been looking nervous, constantly looking around. Then he began to mantle.
He was hiding and protecting that egg, but from what? He cries out, now very upset.
More mantling and then it hits! Could it be the same young eagle that visited the other day? This one seems to have more dark feathers than the other.
I was worried about that egg. The eagles just grabbed at each other and bounced around the nest.
It seemed to go on forever, but it happened so fast. Dad flew off the nest, but returned less than 1 minute later. He landed on the intruder, grabbed hold of it and pulled it off the nest. They flew off and away from the nest area.
About 1 minute later, Dad returns. He looks things over and returns to incubate the egg. He is still on high alert.
After about 30 minutes of quiet, the weather begins to change. It gets dark, the wind picks up, and snow begins to fall again. Dad sits.
Just when I think the excitement for the day is over, Dad gets low in the nest and starts yelling. A shadow passes over him, and the intruder if back!
In the scuffle, Dad is flipped over on his back. This other eagle is big. I wonder if this is another female, remember they are bigger than the male.
In less than a minute, Dad is flying off the nest. The intruder follows.
The intruder returns to the nest. She pokes around the nest. I worry for the egg. She seems to be rearranging the sticks and grass. She finally moves. She has buried the egg, and off she flies.
Dad returns about 10 minutes later. He checks the egg, and returns to incubation.
About 1 1/2 hours after all the drama, DFF returns to the nest. They appear to have a conversation, and off he goes. She takes over incubating. It is not long before we catch that interesting sitting position.
It is now about 2:45 in the afternoon. The weather is sunny but it is getting windy. DFF stands up in the swaying tree. I recognize this position. I think egg #2 is on the way.
Sure enough. She sits and I watch her feathers rise up on her back. This is a sure sign she is laying that egg.
She stands and I see another flash of white. I only see 1, but I believe it is the new egg.
She does a quick egg roll, and covers them up again.
After a rest, she is up again, changing positions, and rolling those eggs.
Finally all is quiet on the nest. Just before 5:30 Dad returns. He is back for another incubation exchange before night settles in. We get a great look at the eggs! All looks good.
DFF is only gone for a short time. She returns to the nest for a final exchange for the night.
She settles down to incubate her eggs. Dad flies to the sleeping branch. Look carefully under the branch on the left side. Can you see his white head? Good night great eagles. I'm hoping for a quiet day with no drama tomorrow.
Good night eagle watchers!
January 17, 2021 From a visitor, to the first egg this afternoon. This was a busy day! Both adults were on the nest, poking around in the grass. The male left. Soon after, as the female lay in the nest, an immature bald eagle lands on a branch below the nest. She watches but does not move.
The immature eagle did not stay long, and soon after the female showed signs the first egg was on the way. Her wings were slightly up and body feathers raised.
Finally she moved, switching positions, head down several times. She appeared to be rolling the egg. 35-40 minutes later she stood and gave us a good first look.
About an hour later Dad came in for his first look, and an incubation exchange. The female flew to the 12 o'clock branch before flying off.
As the sun began to set, turkeys came near to roost for the night. Turkeys spend the nights roosting in the branches of trees, safe from ground walking predators like fox and coyote. Look inside the circle, one flew to a branch below Dad who was a bit nervous. The turkey soon flew further away, and Dad calmed down.
The female came back, and it was time for another incubation exchange.
Time to settle in for the night.
January 14, 2021 The female was sitting on the nest, looking around. She got low, looking at something.
Another eagle flew into and landed on the side of the nest. Its head was white and spiky, but the tail still had dark feathers in it.
She mantled a bit, the visitor bowed its head. She continued to cry out (body language and shaking tail). The 2 eagles appeared to have a conversation. From the size, this visitor looks to be a young female.
The female was not happy about this other bird in her nest. A few minutes after asking the other to leave nicely, and then twice with more force (throwing her head back), the female flew to the 12 o'clock branch.
I wondered why she would leave her nest to the other eagle. The younger bird flew into the nest and looked around very briefly until the female charged.
Was that where the line was drawn, entering the nest? Did she fly to the branch to bet in a better spot to chase off the visitor? It was interesting to watch this visit.
January 13, 2021 At the start of this observation, I saw an empty nest. Within minutes, an immature eagle flew into the nest.
I sure looks to be the visitor I watched on Christmas Day, from the plumage colors. This bird makes itself quite at home. It first began poking around in the grass in the center of the nest. It found some kind of food, as I watched it picking small bits.
It then moved on to arranging sticks along the sides of the nest. It stayed for close to 15 minutes. At times it seemed nervous, stopping its actions and looking around.
It flew first to the 12 o'clock branch before finally flying off. Almost 10 minutes later the female was the first to arrive, looking around.
Only a few minutes later the male flew in too.
They spent some time surveying the nest, while also looking around the area. He was the first to sound the alarm. He was so upset, he threw his head back over his body.
She also let out a few yells (noticing from the open bills and body posture and shaking.
Dad left the nest twice during the observation, returning each time. The female never left while I watched.
January 9, 2021 Ah life in the nest of a bald eagle is never quiet, not even in early morning hours. This video shows a quick flyby of an owl. One of the eagles is perched on the branch just above the Duke Farms logo.
January 7, 2021 The past few days I've watched more nest material come into the nest. There are feathers left over from lunch Dad brought in on New Year's Day. I also notice some corn husks too. It's hard to see in the dark, but they are in the nest. This morning I caught both of the eagles on the nest together. Dad is standing in back of the female who is laying down.
Dad flies off first.
December 26, 2020 I checked on the nest today, curious after seeing the immature eagle there yesterday. The female was on the nest early. What did she see?
Dad flies off. Did they see something or is it time for breakfast?
December 25, 2020 The snow melted, the rains came, and the wind blew all through the night before Christmas. By morning, the nest tree looked as if it rose up from a lake.
Just before 1pm, Dad flew in for a short visit.
Later in the day the female flew in, but did not stay long. A short time later, things got very exciting. An immature eagle flew in and landed on the nest. It poked around in the middle of the nest material for a while. Cam operators finally saw it and zoomed in for a closer look. What a beautiful bird!
After the sunset and it got dark, guess who came back? Yup, the young eagle came back to the nest again. This time, as it moved around inside the nest, it even moved a few sticks around before flying off again.
December 17, 2020 The first big snowstorm of the season hit. It snowed hard overnight, and filled the nest.
She left the nest to sit on the branch.
That is one snowy nest!
She didn't stay away for long. She came back to the snowy nest and stayed.
She is all tucked in and asleep.
November 27, 2020 Just before 9am, Dad flies into the nest and does some fine tuning of a branch. He struggles to move it just where he wants. Can you imagine building something using only your mouth?
How about here?
Maybe on this side?
November 21, 2020 This early morning nest check found both eagles had spent the night on the branch together.
She was the first to stir, flying down to the nest. He remained on the branch. She poked around for a bit in the grass and then settled down.
He took off first, but in a short time she followed. Good day eagles and eagle watchers!
November 18, 2020 I did another nest check a little later in the afternoon. I saw Dad fly in and try his best to help with nestorations. He pushed his way under her. She did her best to hold her ground.
He gave up and flew to the branch, acting as lookout. Something was in the area and caught his attention. He watched from his perch.
He watched while she rearranged sticks.
He flew back to the nest. It looked like they talked about something before he took off. She stayed on the nest.
I could not see Dad, but the female spent the night on the branch near her nest.
November 18, 2020
The eagle cam is back online! The eagles are back, and so am I. Thank you to everyone at Duke Farms who worked together to get it fixed.
It looks like the eagles have been busy while we were away. The nest is looking great!
It looks as if DFF3 has mastered landing in the nest. Last year, she came in fast and almost crashed! This afternoon she came in for a perfect landing right in the center of the nest!
She looked around the nest for a short time, before settling in to give it try. She looks comfortable!
September 27, 2020
Using the rewind feature of the live cam, it looks like both adults stayed in the nest tree for the night. Bald eagles only use the nest during breeding season. It is early in the year for that. There are many bald eagles in the area, perhaps they were staying close by to claim their territory.
In the past, we have seen Great Horned Owls checking out the nest in the middle of the night. These owls would love the chance to take this nest for themselves. The eagles will defend their territory.
The eagles will spend this time making their bond to each other strong. They will defend their territory together, and work on rebuilding the nest.
September 21, 2020
The Duke Farms live Bald Eagle cam is up and running. The cam was knocked out after a storm last year, and we missed the end of the season. The chicks were not banded last year because of the virus.
It has been repaired and turned on today, and the eagles have been seen already! I volunteer for the state of NJ as a nest monitor. This is "my" nest. I watch with lots of other people. It is my job, as a monitor, to write reports for the scientists who help to protect these birds. This nest was first discovered in 2004, and their have been 25 young bald eagles chicks raised and fledged.
This is "Dad". He is a banded bird. Look carefully, can you see one of his bands on his left leg? To be sure it is really him, we will need to see the number on his band. Keep watching to find out.
He and his first mate were both banded, and came from NJ. The band for NJ bald eagles is green, and they both had green bands. Just a few years later another female returned to the nest with Dad. She had no bands. Then last year, yet another female came to the nest. She acted differently, which was our first clue. Thanks to cam operators I was able to get some good close up photos of her eye. Duke Farms had close up photos of "Mom" from the year before. From those photos, the biologists and the special vet agreed she was new.
Did she return this year? She acted like the same female we met last year. Time will tell with careful observations.
Dad is on the nest, and watches another eagle flyby.
Part of bonding is to repair and build a nest together.
The female tries out the nest.
Let the watching begin!
Eagle Season 2019-20Posted by Diane Cook on 10/17/2019 1:00:00 PM
May 6, 2020 Duke Farms reports that there was more than the storm on April 30th and the power loss that came with it that stopped the cam. There is a problem near the nest. Since the eaglets are too close to fledging, but not yet ready, it will be too dangerous to them for Duke Farms people to go in to fix the cam. It is officially down for the season. The state biologists will not come to the nest to band the chicks this year due to the Covid 19 virus.
I will miss watching the eaglets take their first flight. Since all has gone well this year, I am hopeful both eaglets will fledge successfully. It was an intersting year yet again, with a new female, continued action from young eagles, a visit to the nest area from "Duke", and those pesky owls at the beginning of the season. See you next year.
April 30, 2020 Unfortunately yet another strong storm with heavy wind moved through the area. This one knocked power out to the area of the nest. The cam is down. My last observations showed the adults giving survival lessons to the eaglets. I saw adults hovering over food in the nest and ignoring their offspring. They were waiting for the eaglets to move it for the steal. I also saw adults fly in and sit on the branch next to the nest, rather than coming down to sit the nest with the eaglets. I believe a lesson and encouragement to branch was happening.
April 28, 2020 The eaglets were up and exercising those wings.
After some exercising, it's time for a morning snack on leftovers.
DDF3 flew in. It looked like she had something with her, and one of the chicks jumped on it. Wings were out in a mantle, trying to hide it from sight.
She watched as the chick ate.
She goes after some leftovers.
The female watches as wing exercises begins.
Then time for a little leftovers snack.
April 23, 2020 First look this morning at 2 very big kids in the nest. It sure is getting hard to tell who is who these days. Take a look at that wingspan!
The male flew in and perched on the branch. He did a lot of yelling at something unseen.
In the afternoon, the female was on the nest feeding both eaglets.
Dad flew in with a new fish. Both adults fed eaglets and themselves.
Both adults fed themselves, I believe a feeding lesson might have been happening. They also fed both chicks too.
April 20, 2020 The entire family gathered this morning for breakfast. Dad was with the eaglets first. DDF3 flew in a few minutes later. Sure is crowded in the nest these days.
Dad does some feeding.
DDF3 brought in some new dry grass for the nest.
The eaglets were alone on the nest and it was time for some exercise. The nest is a bit crowded. When you want to nap, but your sibling wants to exercise it can make for some interesting interaction between the 2 eaglets. Watch the video below. The video is on YouTube, so be a good Digital Citizen and be safe.
Later in the day, she was on the nest with the kids. Dad flew in. I believe the adults were giving the chicks a lesson in feeding. They were not feeding the chicks, but ate a bit themselves. Adults will do this as a lesson at this age. They are encouraging the chicks to reach in and steal the food away for themselves. This is something they will need to do for themselves in order to survive when they fly away (fledge) from the nest.
April 18, 2020 It has been hard to keep up with everything since teaching at home has begun. When I join a Zoom meeting, I show the students the nest and they sure are surprised at how the eaglets have grown!
When I first tuned in this morning, I saw 2 very wet chicks after more rain.
Chick 1 was feeding on leftovers. Chick 2 watched, and finally went in for a steal.
And, there is a steal!
Chick 1 let it go, and both chicks had a bite to eat before a very wet adult came in to sit with them.
April 15, 2020 The chicks had been fed with nest-overs early in the morning. They were alone in the nest when the female flew in.
She carried a good sized fish with her, but made no attempt to feed either of the chicks.
Chick 2 had gotten up for a shoot over the edge. Why do they need to get that close to the edge? I hold my breath each time they step on a wobbly stick on the edge.
She left, and the chicks continued to sit. They must have been full. That is one big fish!
April 13, 20202 This check was done later in the day, using the cam's rewind feature. Events happened throughout the day. Timestamps can be seen on the screen caps. The day began before sunrise. The female was with both chicks on the nest. Both were trying to stay under her "umbrella" but they are just too big now.
Later in the morning all eagles were soaked thanks to another day of stormy weather.
Just after noon the male flew in and there was a nest exchange.
Later the chicks were left alone on the nest. There was wing flapping by both, as they attempted to dry off.
The day ended after dark with both adults yelling at something. Whatever had them upset, it was off the cam's view. They eventually settled, with the female on the nest with the chicks. The male remained on the "sleeping" branch.
April 11, 2020 All was calm, both chicks resting side by side. A shadow could be seen over the nest. Shortly after both chicks became alarmed, stood up with wings out, and began yelling. An immature eagle flew into the nest.
There were several fish in the nest at the time, and the immature eagle seemed more interested in the fish than the chicks. It only stayed about 30 seconds or so before flying off.
The chicks remained on alert. Chick 1 took up a defensive posture, with chick 2 under it.
It called for less than 10 minutes before the female showed up. She had a large stick with her. Chick 1 continue to vocalize while the female placed the stick.
She then turned her attention to the chicks. She also began looking around at that point, and began vocalizing herself. Chick 1 stood next to her his its head down. Chick 2 remained laying down in the center of the nest. She finally flew off. Chick 1 stood again, taking up a watchful posture. Both chicks finally settled down in the nest again a little over 10 minutes later. Adults did not return to the nest until later.
I made a video of the event. Intruder Video
April 9, 2020 Good morning! Who are those dark birds sleeping in the eagle's nest? In just a few short days, both eaglets have som many dark feathers!
Time for breakfast! Both chicks get fed.
Strong leg muscles are developing and allow the eaglets to walk around the nest.
Mom comes in with a fish delivery!
The eaglets are old enough that they are beginning to self-feed.
April 5, 2020 Wow, how fast these eaglets grow. Just look at those dark feathers growing in and covering their bodies. This is the time in their life, I get really nervous when watching. They are moving around the nest, and venture out to the edge. They look out over the nest territory, learning about their environment. Just look at chick 1 sitting on the edge!
Chick 1 stretching and flapping those wings. The wingersizing has begun, building strong muscles to fly one day.
Time for a mid day snack. Both eaglets get something to eat.
When a bite of food does not come, you reach out and nip your siblings foot. Check out chick 1 nipping chick 2.
March 30, 2020 We start this day in the very early hours. When I got up today and checked the nest at 5am, I was very surprised to see the chicks alone so early. I used the cam rewind feature to see when DFF3 left. I had to go all the way back to 1am to find out how long they were alone on the nest. Just before 1:30am everyone was on the nest and asleep.
She gets up to stretch, and then off she goes leaving the chicks.
I know the adults sleep on one of the big branches of the nest tree. With the cam zoomed in, we just can't see them. Still, I thought it odd that she left the chicks alone on the nest.
Time to get up. Chick 1 is standing on those big feet. The chicks get stronger every day. It was fun to watch some wing flaps too.
Dad's home, and it's time to eat again. Just look at those feet!
Both chicks feed peacefully!
I watched for a long time to try and figure out what he was feeding the chicks. It was huge! I could see something long that made me think of the long leg of a heron. I could see a long spine, but still wasn't sure.
Then as Dad moved it around, I finally saw the final clue. I saw him holding the tail of a raccoon!
Eagles do eat a variety of animals. Each different food source brings a different set of nutrients to the chicks, which are important to their growth and development.
DFF3 comes home. She feeds the chicks too.
March 29, 2020 Rise and shine eaglets and watchers! The eaglets are resting, most likely after their first meal of the day. I missed it. You can see chick 2 stretched out with its wing over its sibling.
Dad is with the chicks who are waiting to be fed once again.
Dad flies off, and leaves the chicks alone. We get a good look at those clown feet!
He returns and feeds again.
Both eaglets eat, and take turns well.
He seems nervous, or is he just calling for DFF3 to come back to the nest?
He continues to feed, but keeps an eye open to his surroundings too.
March 28, 2020 Today was another rainy day. I did not expect to see much since the chicks wanted to huddle under an adult. There was an alert of something (fishing line?) in the nest. Dad was in the nest and moved some part of unidentified prey leftovers. It was very stringy.
He pulled it up and over both chicks, and placed it on the opposite side of the nest, up on the rails.
He then continue to pull on a fine "string". At one point it seemed to be around or at least on top of chick2. He seemed to have removed it.
Later in the day, all seemed fine.
End of the day, everything looked good. This is why female bald eagles are so big. On rainy days they can put out those wings to help cover growing chicks.
March 27, 2020 It was so good to connect with some of my friends at school today using Zoom. I was asked more than once how the eagles were doing. This makes me smile to know my students are still interested in what's happening. I was asked about "clown feet", so today was the day to feature them and other milestones of the growing chicks. Enjoy the video that shows the chicks moving around the nest, walking on their legs. They are not yet strong and grown enough yet to walk standing on their feet. You can see some wingercising too - when chicks flap and stretch their wings. This helps to develop the muscles they will need to fly. Don't miss those clown feet either!
On this warm and sunny day, the chicks were out exploring the nest. I can see pin feathers growing on chick 1 (the dark spots on the back). These will grow into the beautiful adult feathers. Chick 2 is showing off a clown foot!
Today was warm enough up there in the nest, it had the chicks panting. They pant like a dog to keep cool in warm weather.
March 25, 2020 Hello eagle watchers. The chicks are beginning to show feather growth. Their muscles continue to grow and get stronger. It is fun to watch them scoot around the nest. Wing exercises begin now. Watch for stretches and flapping of those fuzzy wings. Look for tail feathers beginning to grow. They are playing with nest materials too.
Chick 1 sits with his mother. Chick 2 is trying to keep warm on a chilly morning.
Dad brings in breakfast. He is known for bringing fish with no heads. That must be his favorite part, and eats it first before bringing the rest of the fish to the nest.
DFF3 brings in grass. Dad yells at her. What was he saying? Did he want her to bring more? Was there someone else near the nest? Whatever it was, she did not stay long.
Dad gets to work covering the chicks. Is it to give them some warmth on a cold morning? Was it protection from another bird we can't see on the cam?
DFF3 returns to the nest with another grass delivery.
The video shows the interaction between the adults.
I have the wrong date on the title of the video. The timestamp on the cam itself shows the correct date. This took place on March 25.
March 21, 20220 The chicks are getting old enough now where they can stay alone for short periods of time. They are getting big too. They barely fit under an adult.
One adult usually close by even though we cannot see them. Can you tell which adult just flew back to the nest? Hint, look at the feet. No bands, this is DFF3! Don't you just love the way the chicks huddle together to keep warm. Look, breakfast is also a pillow!
The chicks are about the size of a small chicken now. They get stronger every day. The bills are much bigger, and those feet!
March 18, 2020 Just a quick stop today to share a cute photo. Both chicks were taking a nap on a sunny day with a parent nearby. Look at the size difference between the chicks! Oh, and those feet!
March 17, 2020 Happy Saint Patrick's Day, and welcome to home schooling! We can still watch the eagle family and keep in touch with nest happenings here. I will continue to write, put may be delayed in posting. Things are busy right now.
Back to the nest. It was feeding time, and DFF3 was just a bit too slow in getting food to the chicks. Chick 2 had plenty of time to show chick 1 who was getting fed first.
Chick 2 layed down. Rather than getting bonked again, it let the older sibling eat first.
No worries, both chicks were able to eat until full! Check out the bulge on the neck of chick 1. That is the crop. The crop is part of the throat, and can store extra food when the stomach is full. Later when the stomach food has been digested, food from the crop can be moved down to the stomach. When you watch the live can, you might see a chick raise its head and open its mouth. It looks like a yawn. That is a crop drop, moving the food from crop to stomach.
Later Dad was sitting with the chicks.
The female came flying in with her talons full of grass. I wish I knew what he was telling her. He did get up and she took over nest duties.
She began by covering the chicks with grass. She covered both at one point, but chick 1 was not having it.
Both adults were off the nest for a short time. Chick 1 was left to babysit and do some preening (cleaning and straightening feathers). Chick 2 is safely tucked away under the grass.
Later in the afternoon, it was naptime. Both chicks full and sleepy under a watchful adult. Bald eagles are watchful, protective, and good parents to their young. They protect them from the weather. Wing umbrellas go up in the rain and snow. That umbrella also gives the chicks shade when the sun is too hot. They also keep little ones warm with their bodies or extra nesting material. An adult's eyes are always scanning the area for other animals that get too close to the nest. If they have to, they will call for the other adult, who is never too far away. One adult will chase off the unwanted visit.
March 12, 2020 It is amazing how quickly bald eagle chicks grow. In just 9 weeks from hatch they are full grown! Getting some great views of those "clown feet" today. The bill and feet grow fast. It takes a while for those bodies to catch up!
March 11, 2020 Already saw several feedings this morning. Lots of fish in the nest too! All those fish get the attention of other hungry birds. DFF3 was feeding the chicks when all of a sudden she became alert. Her hackles went up as she began calling out. (Hackles are the feathers on her back and around her neck.)
No need to worry, it was just Dad. He was bringing in some new grass.
Dad begins to spread that grass around.
Something got her attention - look at that look!
She takes off and leaves Dad with the kids. Is she chasing off another bird that is just too close to the nest?
Hey wait Dad, are you covering the fish or the chicks?
Where did the chicks go? Look carefully.
Dad is still on alert as he watches over the chicks. They are asleep in tucked into the grass with just their heads sticking out. He did not cover all those fish, just his chicks. Is he protecting them? Could be. Chicks can also be in danger from other eagles or hawks getting into the nest.
Chick 1 is at the age where its own body can begin to thermoregulate. That means the body can make its own heat to keep warm. In baby eagles that happens at 10-14 days old. Today is chick 1's birthday 2 weeks or 14 days old! Chick 2 is just about at that age too, but may need some help in warming for a couple more days. Thankfully it's also warm outside for March.
Not quite as warm as yesterday, but another beautiful in NJ for March! The nestlings have been very active today. The adults are beginning to leave them for very short periods of time in the sun. The nest is well stocked with fish! Those little ones are getting plenty to eat. Warm temperatures and fish laying around in the warm sun brings out the flies. Kindergartners noticed all of them buzzing the fish today. DFF3 did too, and I don't think she liked them in her nest. Watch the video.
March 10, 2020 Thanks to Duke Farms' cam operator, we got a nice close up view of the chicks late morning. DFF3 was feeding the hungry chicks. She's getting better at it, but still likes to sprinkle the chicks with bits of fish.
Bald eagle chicks grow fast, and eat almost constantly! Can you see differences showing up already? The bills are dark at the ends, with just a trace of the egg tooth left on chick 2. Does chick 1 look darker to you? The fluffy white "natal" down (feathers they hatch with) are beginning to give way to darker, gray down. The growth of the thermal down begins at about 8 days old.
The thermal down feathers will stay with them under the adult feathers for the rest of their life. Those feathers help to keep them warm in cold weather. Both chicks are getting stronger each day too. They are not as wobbly as when they first hatched. I noticed they are taking food much better with fewer misses from both adults.
Dad spots something flying towards the nest! He is on alert, and calling out.
Thankfully, it is just DFF3.
She brought another fish back to the nest. She tries to feed the chicks again!
Nice view of DFF3 trying to keep those little ones warm and safe. Settle down kiddos! It's naptime.
Later in the day, both adults are on the nest. They keep looking to the sky. Someone is just too close to their family.
March 6, 2020 Looks like more rain is on the way again today. Glad to see the chicks early this morning. They will be kept under wraps later today.
As predicted the rain came. Umbrella up - poor eagles!
March 5, 2020 Good morning eagle watchers! Dad had nest duty early this morning. Suddenly he became very alert. DFF3 flew in and landed hard with a huge fish in her talons. She stayed for a while but there was no nest exchange.
What a beautiful sunny afternoon! Dad feeds both chicks until their crops are stuffed. What's a crop? The crop is a pouch in a bird's throat. It stores food. A bird can eat until its stomach is full, and then eat more. The extra is stored in the crop. A bird can cough up stored food in the crop to eat later when the stomach is empty.
Look carefully to see the stuffed crop in the chicks. Sometimes they are so heavy, the chicks have a hard time standing up.
March 4, 2020 Dad was with the chicks. DFF3 must have been out fishing. She may not be a skilled chick feeder yet, but she knows how to fish. This one is small, but another fish delivered by the female is in the nest.
March 3, 2020 DFF3 being a new female, getting lessons from Dad, little Chick 2 is a bit hungry. Felt bad for it not getting to eat. It even looked like Dad was missing the little one. I stopped worrying today when I watched the feeding just before 8am.
It is very normal that the chicks fight each other for food. Usually it is the older chick. Being older, it is usually bigger and the more bossy chick, but not always. I did see some "bonking" of Chick 2 by Chick 1 yesterday. One chick reaches out and grabs the head of the other, and shakes it around. This is the chick's way of saying, "I'm boss, and I eat first!" It can be very hard to watch. It looks so cruel, and I find myself turning away sometimes. Sometimes, one chick can kill the other. Thankfully that doesn't happen very often. The adults don't stop the bonking, but many times they will feed the "bossy" chick until it is full. That chick then lays down to sleep, and the other can eat.
I'm glad I did not turn away this morning. Chick 2, the smaller and younger chick, actually "bonked" Chick 1! That is one fiesty little chick! Watch the video I was able to capture.
March 2, 2020 The live cam was down this morning, but thankfully was back up just in time for a feeding and close ups of both chicks. They are both looking great and active.
DFF3 was feeding. Dad stood in the background watching.
Cam operators zoomed in for a close look at the chicks. Chick 1 is in front, chick 2 in the back. The egg tooth can still be seen on both.
The size difference is just amazing to me. Here you can see both chicks with DFF3.
Look closely. There are 3 days between these 2 chicks. You can already seen differences between them. Chick 1 is beginning to show more color around its bill.
March 1, 2020 It is amazing how quickly these chicks grow. Just a couple days old and chick 1 is getting very strong. It is hungry too! DFF3 is trying to feed, but still missing more than getting it. A few hours old, and chick 2 is dry and fluffy. It is already trying to stand and look for food too. Hope DFF3 improves her feeding skills soon.
March 1, 2020 March is here and so it Duke Farms chick 2! Have been so worried because this hatch was taking so long to happen. Couldn't wait to get a first look this morning. The crack was bigger for sure, but I needed to see movement from that chick.
Chick 1 wanted to eat, so DFF3 did her best. Looks like that egg lost the top of the shell.
Saw a little wing during the next feeding. No doubt this is a hatch! I saw the wing flexing on its own, not just being moved around by a wobbly sibling.
You can watch the video here, and see the movement for yourself.
Dad came in for a look, and an exchange. He takes over brooding for a while.
February 29, 2020 DFF3 was on the nest when something startled her. She jumped up, let out a few cries, and took off. She was not gone for long, and just after she came back to the nest, so did Dad. Got another good look at the egg. Do I see a pink wing emerging?
February 29, 2020 We were watching on my phone when we went out for lunch. Saw Dad come in with another squirrel. Don't ever remember this many squirrels coming into the nest. I know they eat a variety of things, and usually whatever they can get. Fishing must be tough this time of year. Rivers are not stocked with trout until the end of March. DFF3 was feeding the chick when he flew in with his gift.
Either she's getting better at feeding after Dad's lessons, or the chick is getting better at finding her. No matter how, this afternoon's feeding seemed to go well.
Another feeding, and another look at that egg. Waiting...
February 29, 2020 She got up first while he stayed behind on the nest. When she came back, she brought back yet another stick! Of course, she wasn't quite sure where to put the thing. It is in the way!
Dad left, and DFF3 attempts to feed a hungry little chick.
With the movement in the nest, DF cam operator goes in for a very close look. I'm anxious to take a look at that egg. Things seem to have slowed down. I really expected to see that other chick yesterday.
Yes, that is drool coming from DFF3's mouth. When the female feeds, she also produces lots of saliva. That saliva contains enzymes and antibodies that are passed to the chick with food. This gives the chick's immune system a boost.
How cute is this? Those eyelashes, tiny bill, and those feet! Is that a chip I see on the right side of the egg too?
The chick caught some saliva on its eyelid.
Looks more like a bath than a feeding. This chick is dripping with saliva.
February 29, 2020 Happy Leap Year Day! It's acting like February today. Cold one out there. Checked the overnight cam and caught BOTH adults on the nest together.
Dad comes in for an exchange or egg check.
He tries to get her to move. Of course, that's not happening.
He's not willing to leave.
She does get up to allow him a look.
Then she quickly settles back down. He's not going anwhere and settles down right next to her. They brooded together in the early morning hours.
February 28, 2020 Late in the day, both adults were on the nest. They both seemed on alert too. Something was still flying in their territory, and they were not comfortable with it.
It was time for another lesson in feeding an eagle chick. Dad was patient with DFF3.
He remained on alert.
Things finally settled down, and she settled down to brood.
February 28, 2020 DFF3 is trying to get the hang of this feeding thing. Because chicks have poor eyesight at this age, they see shadows, she needs to offer the food at the right distance and angle to the chick. The chick is then able to grab it from the mouth of the adult.
Dad comes in for an exchange.
A couple hours go by and Dad is calling for a change. He leaves in a hurry.
About 1 minute later and DFF3 flies in!
DFF3 brooding, but on alert. Wonder who she sees flying close to the nest. At one point she left but came back right away.
It seemed something was hanging around in the eagles' territory today. While brooding, Dad became very upset.
February 28, 2020 Cold start to the day. Thankfully the wind seems to be calming down. checked on the nest and all looks quiet this morning. Dad came in for an exchange. She didn't want to go at first, but finally did.
Sorry, little one. It is not time for breakfast yet.
Dad all tucked in for some more sleep.
February 27, 2020 I noticed a couple interesting things watching in the late afternoon yesterday. First, I've been wondering how experienced of a mother is DFF3. Since the chick has hatched, it has been looking for feedings. I've watched her stand over the chick, looking around. It almost looks as if she's not quite sure what to do.
At first watch, I thought both adults were feeding together. Eagles do that sometimes. When you watch closely, it looks as if she's not sure what to do. Was Dad giving her a lesson today? Watch the video and see what you think.
Just after the feeding, with both still on the nest a gust of wind blew across the nest. It knocked DFF3 off her feet, and almost sent her crashing into the chick and egg. She was good at catching her balance, thankfully!
The most interesting thing of all, is that second egg. Look carefully, you can see hatching happening! The white egg tooth can be seen working on that shell.
February 27, 2020 It was a busy but happy day today. Watching as often as we could, capturing video for the blog and classes that missed the live happenings, taking screen shots and writing for Nest Story (the database the state uses to track happenings of NJ's bald eagles), and just spreading the news with the students! Loved sitting with them and hearing their voices as they watched that little chick get its feedings. Sure was windy! The adults kept low on that nest. Can't wait for that to stop.
Rather than screen shots, I will share a couple videos I was able to capture of chick 1.
Video 1 shows a quick look of the chick peeking out from under DFF3. Look carefully and you can see that little egg tooth. It is that white tip at the end of the beak.
Video 2 shows the first feeding. Soon after the first video happened, Dad flew in for an exchange of adults on the nest. That chick was hungry, so Dad got to work. A couple things to know about life as a newly hatched chick. The white fluffy feathers are called natal down. The feathers with which they hatch. It is important to keep the chicks warm because their bodies cannot do that for itself right now. A chick's eyesight is not very good at this age. They do not see clearly, mostly shadows. Watch as Dad comes very close to the chick, and waits for the chick to take the food from his beak. The chick will follow the shadows it sees to find its meal. Lastly, a chick's muscles are not very strong yet. Watch for lots of wobbling, and even falling over.
Can you see the egg tooth?
Dad with his new chick.
February 27, 2020 Happy morning! Can't wait to see this new arrival in the daylight. Took a trip back in time to see what happened over night. In the early morning Dad came in to see his new chick. DFF3 did not want to move and give up her spot.
He tried to peek under her.
She finally gave in, but did not go far. He gave her a taste of her own medicine, and would not move.
Nope, not moving!
How will she get him to move? Try from under him? Nope, not moving.
How about resting her head on his back? Or nibbling on his feathers? Nope.
OK, after an hour of this she meant business. He had to move! Time to get serious.
They were beak to beak for a while. He finally saw things her way, and there was a nest exchange.
February 26, 2020 Duke Farms Bald Eagles have their first hatch of the 2020 season! The adults were restless all day on the nest today. Just before 7:30 tonight, DFF3 moved to show what was keeping her wiggling. I could see half the shell was missing. That counts as a hatch! I recorded it as so and emailed the biologists. She agreed, there was a hatch.
Just about 11:15 DFF3 moved, and gave us a look at a little fluff ball. That little chick wanted nothing more than to sleep. It's hard work hatching from an egg! Welcome chick 1!
February 26, 2020 These two eagles are funny. She was incubating when Dad came flying with talons full of leaves and grass to cover up that second squirrel. Eagles will hide prey in the nest from predators looking for a free meal. He hung around hoping for a chance to incubate. She was having none of it. She even bit him at one point.
Dad walked away and started rearranging sticks instead.
She finally decided to give him a chance on the eggs.
She only let him stay for about 20 minutes before coming back. He totally ignored her!
She didn't give up!
She moved grass under his body.
He finally gave up and moved.
She wins her seat back!
February 26, 2020 Progess happening on that egg this afternoon. Just before noon, checked in to see Dad incubating.
It wasn't long before he flew off. DFF3 came in but not before we had a look at those eggs.
That pip is getting larger!
Head down, DFF3 is listening to her chick. To encourage the little one, the adults can talk back.
Look very closely in the center of that pip. It is dark except for a tiny white dot. That is the egg tooth! The chick uses that hard and sharp end of the beak to scratch the egg shell and open it up. It falls off a few days after hatching.
It gets blurry to enlarge the screen shot, but you get a good look at the egg tooth.
Dad flew in and dropped off another squirrel. He knows that little one is coming soon.
Wow - that chick is working hard!
February 26, 2020 When I woke up this morning, I couldn't wait to check the cam. DF did not zoom back in which made viewing details hard to see. I used rewind on the cam and watched as the DFF3 had a very restless night. She was up and down almost constantly rolling the eggs and changing position.
I saw the female give out a couple calls, and Dad flew into the nest. Time to change places.
Frustrated because we can't see the eggs, I decided to email a contact at Duke Farms and ask if the view could be closer. No problem, within minutes we had our hatch watch view back.
The cam zoom was just in time too. Dad was up for an egg roll. Look closely at the egg near his bill. Do yo see it?
I have no doubt this egg has pipped!
A couple hours later and we get another look.
I was so focused on the first egg, I missed the 2nd. Mrs. MacR asked if the other egg could also have a pip. Could be. Keep watching to find out for sure.
February 25 2020 DFF3 got up for an early morning stretch. Nothing seen on either egg. They look smooth and shiny. Anything on the other side?
Dad came in to take his turn at incubation. She has been gone all morning! That is a long time, especially so close to hatch time. Saw him with his head down, and his mouth moving gently. Was he listening and talking to the chicks. Close to hatch, it is said that they can talk to each other.
Got a good look at the eggs this morning. I stopped the cam and looked frame by frame. Is that dark area a pip or grass? What do you see? Time will tell...stay tuned.
He got up and flew off about 2 hours later. Same mark was seen on the egg. Still not sure what it means. Wish we had a close up view. Thought there would be a nest exchange, but Dad flew back after a couple minutes.
I see no fish deliveries. Maybe that was just grass on the egg. It has started to rain here, but Dad still sits. In the past, it was the female who sat to incubate, and Dad would deliver the fish. Of course it was also he who brought most of the sticks for building in the past. New female, new way of doing things? We watch, wait, and see what happens.
A very wet DFF3 sits with her umbrella up to protect those eggs. She also tries to keep as much of the grass in the nest bole (the center part of the nest where the eggs sit) dry in this wet weather.
Look closely at the top of that photo again. I first thought it could be a oppossum. The more I studied it, the more it looked too small for that. The shape of the mouth is what got me. I know I've seen that before. Then it hit me! I thought it was a squirrel. Sure enough, the cam zoomed out so we could identify it. Mrs. MacR's 1st graders loved that we guessed right.
Well, we have the first food drop. Now I'm sure I've seen a pip!
February 24, 2020 Hello eagle watchers! What a beautiful day, feels nothing like February in New Jersey. Today is day 35 for egg number 1. Of course just because it is 35 days since the female laid that egg doesn't mean it will hatch today. According to the folks at Raptor Resource Project, at this time the chick inside the egg takes up most of the space. The head is turned to the large end of the egg closer to the air space. The chick opens the membrane inside the shell so it can breathe. This is the internal pip. The chick continues to scratch the inside of the egg with its egg tooth until a crack or hole is made. That is the external pip, and the one we see!
Watch for fish deliveries to begin also. Feeding the chick begins soon after the little one has rested from the hatching process. No fish in this nest yet. Maybe Dad went out fishing at this exchange?
Dad on watch this afternoon.
February 13, 2020 Welcome to another rainy and dark morning in NJ. Seems strange that last year at this time we were waiting for eggs in the Duke Farms nest. This year, with the new female DFF3 (Duke Farms female 3), we are on hatch watch. Could be as soon as the end of next week!
For now, I caught an incubation exchange. Dad was sitting on the nest. DFF3 flew to the branch and they exchanged places. Keep those eggs warm and dry eagles!
Just a short time later, you can see DFF3 is talking to someone. See her mouth open?
Sure enough, Dad is back. She will not give up her place on the eggs, so he begins some stick rearrangement.
What do you think she said to him? Whatever it was, he took off right after that.
February 7, 2020 Now this shows dedication to her eggs. DFF3 continues to sit on her eggs, protecting them from predators and weather. She is SO soggy this morning!
She laid her eggs on January 20th and 24th. Eggs are incubated for about 35 days. The first day hatch could happen is February 24th. Waiting...
January 26, 2020 Wild turkeys share this part of the woods with the eagles. They are regulars walking around the ground, near the nest in the early morning hours. They roost in the lower branches of trees nearby too.
This afternoon, I saw the bravest or most clueless turkey I've ever seen. No surprise to see them roosting in the nearby trees. What is a surprise is the one that decided to come SO close to the nest. DFF3 kept her eye on the visitor the entire time it was there!
Under DFF3's watchful eyes, the remaining turkey inched ever closer to the nest.
Right under the nose of a bald eagle, just doesn't seem smart.
I saw the female's head arch back as she let out a cry. It didn't take long for Dad to fly into the area to see what was going on, and to help defend the nest if needed.
The turkey became a bit less brave with 2 eagles starring it down. Dad is off cam view, but close. It became restless, and finally flew off.
January 24, 2020 Just before school was out, Dad finally got his turn to incubate the eggs. When I peeked in, he seemed a bit nervous. What did he see that we did not?
Minutes later, he began to cry out. He stood up and mantled over the egg. Mantling is usually seen when a bird of prey has caught a meal. The bird opens its wings, head down, and hunches its shoulders over the catch. It is protecting and hiding the prey. This behavior is also seen in the nest, just like today, when a parent is protecting the eggs or chicks from an intruder who got too close.
He was very upset at whoever was there. Hawk? Another eagle? It wouldn't be the first time. We have seen this in past years. The flexibility of his neck always amazes me. We may not have sound, but you can see how upset he is with the intruder.
This went on for a few minutes before he finally settled down again.
About an hour after she laid egg #2, Dad came in for a look, and an incubation exchange. DFF3 did not look like she wanted to leave.
He tried to get her up a few times, before finally giving up.
What an "eggciting" morning! Watched DFF3 lay egg #2! You can see something beginning to happen, when she pants (breathing with her mouth open), her body moves, and feathers ruffle.
She's done and up to give the eggs a roll. Wish she'd give us a peek!
Just a short time later and we get our first look!
January 24, 2020 Good morning eagle watchers! This cam has 24 hour rewind available on YouTube. If all is quiet in the morning, I like to go back to see if anything exciting happened overnight. This new female is full of surprises! She started on the nest last night, but was very restless. Her sleeping positions are interesting too. Head down on the nest, late last night.
Her other crazy position, is tucking her head and sticking those wings out.
She's up and I watched her mouth open. She was calling Dad.
Then off she flies!
Alone, but not for long. Dad comes in to sit.
I checked several times. He was on the nest a good part of the night.
All tucked in at 1:40 AM.
He's awake at 4, and it looks like he's softly calling.
Look who comes into the nest!
Dad leaves and DFF3 settles on the nest!
January 21, 2020 This morning DFF3 was incubating her egg. Always on alert, something just off camera caught her eye. Watch and see how a female bald eagle defends her nest and egg, no matter the size of the intruder.
January 21, 2020 Thank goodness for rewind on the live cam. I am able to do a nest check to see what happened in the middle of the night. While I slept, the eagles did too, but there was a nest exchange. DFF3 is asleep on the nest, incubating her egg.
She gets up and gives out a call. She wants a break.
She leaves the nest. Dad looks at the egg, and flies down to take his turn at incubation.
While Dad takes his position on the nest, DFF3 settles on the branch above.
A couple hours later, and everyone is up.
DFF3 flies down to the nest. They are ready for another nest exchange.
Still too early to start the day, even for an eagle. DDF3 settles back down on her egg.
The sun finally up, we see DDF3 incubating the egg. She is awake and alert.
She lets out a call. She wants a break.
She doesn't wait for him, and flies off.
Whenever the egg is left alone, observers of the live cam all worry. Yes, it was cold this morning here in NJ, but the eagles know best. The folks at the Raptor Resource Project in Decorah, Iowa write about the eggs and temperature. Temperature, humidity, and regular egg turning are all important factors in the development of a healthy chick inside the egg. The perfect temperature is 99ºF. Eggs can remain uncovered by an adult for short periods of time. The grass and other nest materials in the bole, help to insulate the egg and keep the heat.
Birds develop a "brood patch" during egg incubation. Feathers on the "belly" of the bird fall out. The skin of an adult touches the egg, and gives off more heat to the developing chick inside. Females develop a bigger brood patch than males. This is why you will see the female incubating more often that the male.
Eggs can survive, even uncovered in cold weather, for short periods of time. I worry more about predators in the area harming an uncovered egg more than the cold.
January 20, 2020 Well the Duke Farms nest is going to be full of surprises this year! The new female laid her first egg this afternoon! I tuned in just after 4pm, and saw her on the nest again. She's been there a lot lately! Something about her body posture made me stay and watch.
Sure enough, I've seen that breathing and feather movement before. She was actively laying the egg. It only took a few minutes before she stood up, looked at her egg, gave it a roll, and laid back down.
She did not give us a good look at all. This egg has come so early, I wanted a good, clear look to see it was there. This peek was not good enough.
She was not interested in moving though. She sat, looking around for a few minutes, then dropped her head to the nest, and closed her eyes.
Dad DF came back to the nest. He poked around the nest a bit, but she wasn't moving. He gave up and left.
The cam changed to night vision. What a beautiful view of the feathers of DFF3 (Duke Farms Female 3).
Finally, she got up, fluffed the nest, and rolled the egg a few times. I am always amazed when we see those huge talons next to the egg. I am reminded of the size and power of a bald eagle.
There is a small number of other nests in NJ that have eggs already. These nests are down in the southern part of the state. In past years, there have been early eggs too, and all worked out well. The eggs hatched, and the young fledged. This one is really early though, especially for this area. Hope our mild winter continues.
One more egg roll before she settles down again.
The DFF3 settles in for a good night's sleep. Will she lay more? How many? Questions that will be answered in the next few days.
January 15, 2020 After learning about the sad news in Florida this morning, I took a trip (on the Internet) to Decorah. I haven't checked out that nest yet this year. The weather out there is a bit different than here!
Not only is that nest covered in snow, but it doesn't look near as ready as Duke Farms. It seems the NJ birds start just a bit early than the Iowa birds. They are just a bit more north than us, and if egg laying is tied to the length of daylight, we are getting just a little more.
Yesterday, DM2 came flying into the nest with prey. Not sure what it was though.
It didn't take long for Mom Decorah to join him.
She moved right in and stole that prey right out from under DM2.
Love the look he gives her. All part of the bonding experience.
DM2 gives up and flies off to the lookout branch.
Sad News from Florida
The SW Florida nest was off to an exciting new nesting season when Harriet laid 2 eggs. The first hatched, but unfortunately the 2nd did not. Harriet buried it in the nest. The biologists I've met say this is a common practice. They have found "bad" eggs in nests from time to time when they band chicks.
Unfortunately something happened to the little one yesterday. Two possibilities were talked about by chat administrators early in the day. CROW, a local wildlife rehabilitation clinic took the chick from the nest to find out what happened. No hook or line was found in the chick or nest. No punctucture of any kind was found. It appears that one idea from earlier in the day may have caused the little chick's death. The newly forming pin feathers are like straws filled with blood. It looks like one of these feathers broke causing too much blood to be lost. More tests will be done to look for any pesticides that might also have done damage. This will take time to get the results.
Why did no one rescue the little chick when it was clearly seen in trouble on the live cam? The scientists who work with these birds, rarely interfere with the natural events in a nest. This is one example if it was a broken feather. If it was clearly a fish hook, it is possible rescuers could have gotten permission to climb the tree today to help. Yes, even rescuers and scientists need permission to work with these protected birds, and it takes time to get that permission. The biologists who band our NJ eaglets need permits to do so.
Live cams give us an amazing look into the every day lives of animals. It allows scientists, and all of us, the chance to watch and learn. It also shows us the hard side of nature. It is sad, but it is life in the wild. Sometimes it is great. Other times so very sad.
January 10, 2020 Another morning of bald eagles and turkeys. The female is once again in the nest. She is quite possessive of it, spending lots of time in or near it. Dad is on the branch. Both seem to be aware of the turkeys moving around below them. Look for the black spots on the ground.
Dad flies over, and both eagles begin adjusting sticks.
They both fly off. Later in the morning, the female returns with fresh grass to line the nest.
Look at her wingspan!
Time to settle in and mold that nest to her body.
January 9, 2020 This is the story of the fish that got away. Fishermen tell such stories all the time. I've told a few myself. This story takes place in our favorite nest.
Dad brings a nice fish to the nest, and enjoys a quiet late breakfast.
While eating, he's on the alert for anyone watching with thoughts of stealing his prize. Sure enough within minutes, who flies in? The female! She pratically lands on top of him.
As soon as she lands, she mantles over the fish. See her wings up, covering it? This is a common behavior seen in birds of prey. It is a way of covering up, hiding prey from others so it doesn't get stolen. Dad is the eagle on the edge of the nest. She stole that fish right from under Dad. He allows it to happen, and flies away to let her have the fish. Gifting prey is part of the bonding experience. Is that what happened here? Was that fish meant for her? Did he just give in? More questions. More interesting behavior to observe in this nest.
January 6, 2020 Nictitating Membrane is a translucent or see-through layer of tissue that protects the eyes of some animals and keeps the eyes from drying out, while allowing it to see. The nictitating membrane covers the eye by moving from side to side. Vision is not crystal clear, but the animal can still see. Raptors and other birds have, not one, not 2, but 3 eyelids! Two are like ours, to close over the eye, moving up and down. They can use the 3rd eyelid to protect the eye while flying. Diving birds use it when under the water. Birds use the nictitating membrane like we would use goggles.
Duke Farms zoomed in the cam on the face of the new female. While looking straight into the cam, she blinked with giving us an amazing view of the nictitating membrane.
Eyes, wide open.
Nictitating Membrane covering her eyes. You can clearly see her iris and pupils. The membrane allows her to see, but protects and keeps the eyes from getting dry.
Nictitating Membrane closed completely. You can still see the pupil of her eye if you look carefully.
She opens her eyes again. Can you see the black fleck on her right iris? If her eye is like a round clock, that fleck would be at the 4 o'clock position.
I was able to capture 2 more nice close up shots of the female. We are able to see more details in her beak - good for future ID.
January 3, 2020 Happy New Year readers! We are off to a very interesting one to be sure. The Duke Farms bald eagle nest continues to be a source of interesting behavior and change!
I began my reports to the state and writing here, earlier than ever before. The activity in this nest began earlier than normal. The close up views of the female gave us great looks at the eye's iris and beak. Duke Farms were able to find close ups of Mom from past years. Together those photos were looked at by the biologists and the vet who knows bald eagles. There were enough differences seen in those photos, and behavior differences reported by cam viewers and in my reports, to confirm there is a new female at Duke Farms. You can see the photos and read more about it here:
Bald eagles mate for life, unless something happens to change that. Sometimes an intruding adult will challenge one of the mated pair. Eagle population continues to grow in NJ, and their territory continues to shrink. A bald eagle's territory will have tall trees (sometimes man-made structures - cell and powerline towers) for nesting and perching, is close to food supply, and is away from busy people activity (some are adapting to people). A great nesting territory will draw attention from other eagles, and challenges will be made. We have seen that in the last few years at the Duke Farms nest.
We don't know what happened to Mom. That happened off the cam view. We do know Dad has a new female. She has claimed him and that nest as her own. Hoping for a successful nesting season - coming soon!
December 27, 2019 The eagles are up even before the sun rises! The female has taken her place again on the nest. She likes sitting in it, and spends lots of time there. I've noticed her sitting at different times of the day too. Is she claiming this as hers? You can see Dad on the branch. Look inside the black circle.
It seems the closer we get to egg laying time, the more time she is in the nest. Before egg time, eagles really don't sleep in the nest. They will sleep in a tree nearby. When not hunting or fishing for food, they will be perched in a tree nearby the nest tree. From that spot, they can watch over their territory, and are ready to chase away any intruders.
Doesn't take long for him to join her.
He only stays for a short time.
The female will continue to sit for a while longer.
December 26, 2019 I've seen some funny things happen in a bald eagle's nest over the many years following live cams. That live cam shows us things we might never see if observing from the ground a safe distance away. Bald eagles may no longer be listed as endangered but they are still protected in the US by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The state of NJ says you should observe from 1,000 feet. If the birds seem nervous and show signs of stress, you are too close and need to leave.
The live cam lets us see closer than we could ever get in real life without disturbing the eagles. At the Decorah nest, I've seen smaller birds flying around and walking in and out of the branches. Some even steal small twigs for their own nests. Others are looking for leftovers to eat.
After dark this night the cam caught a critter running around the nest. It was hard to tell just who it could be. My first thought was a mouse. Then I remembered how big that nest is now. Looks like the guest was a squirrel.
Whoever was there, the eagles noticed.
This is an eagle's nest, not a squirrel's.
December 19, 2019 Congratulations to the Southwest Florida nest - the first of the 2 eggs have hatched!
That little one is wet and tired. Mom will remove the egg shell, and continue to sit to keep the chick warm. Soon the feathers will dry out. Can you see that tiny, little wing?
Look at the chick compared to Mom's head!
Florida eagles have already laid eggs and they are beginning to hatch. Why? According to the folks at Raptor Resource Project, it varies depending on the region in which the nest is located. There is a big scientific explanation for the reasons why. The short and simple answer is that egg laying is tied to the length and or the intensity of daylight hours.
Grown ups/teachers, Raptor Resource has an article about it from January 22, 2019.
December 3, 2019 While we slept and the snow raged, the nest had a visitor. The Great Horned Owl was back! It seemed very comfortable in the nest. It even looked like grass was being fluffed and rearranged.
It stayed in the nest for a short time, before moving to the edge. It seemed nervous now, looking around. Were the eagles nearby and calling out warnings to leave? The owl flew to the branch. It seemed to be watching the snow fall.
The owl finally decided to fly off into the night.
The owl flew off, and both eagles flew over to the "sleeping" branch.
November 26, 2019 What a crazy night this has turned out to be! No doubt tonight, there is a Great Horned Owl, very interested in this nest. So interested, it is willing to argue with an adult Bald Eagle! The female is on the edge of the nest, and check out the branch behind her. Yup, that's a Great Horned Owl flying onto it.
Wait, there's more action to come. That owl flies off, while DF female guards the nest.
Look for the glowing eyes coming in behind the nest. Guess who is coming back? Not sure if there are 2 owls or just the one.
Look out below!
No mistaking that face. This is a Great Horned Owl for sure.
DF female will not put up with this! She gets up and sounds the alarm!
It is hard to tell just who is flying around in the background. Is it an owl or Dad?
Dad flies into the nest to check things out.
Both eagles sit in the nest and voice their displeasure. They want these intruders gone! Look carefully in the background. Are those owls flying away? Hard to tell, but I'm thinking yes, those owls are flying away.
November 12, 2019 These 2 eagles are fun to watch as they rebuild the nest for this year. It is so big so early in the season. She definitely has ideas about where the sticks belong. When he tries to move something his way, she lets him know quickly she does not approve! There is lots of nipping back and forth as they agree to disagree over stick placement.
He flies to the branch. Did he give up trying to place sticks?
He's not gone for long though. Soon he's right back where he began.
Once he flew away, DF cam operators zoomed in for some amazing close ups of the female. She is a beautiful bird! The folks at Raptor Resource in Iowa who bring us the Decorah eagles, look at the eyes of the males to tell the difference between them. It seems each eagle has a unique fleck pattern in the iris.
The female seems to have very clear iris except for one area on her right eye. I have to search for close ups of DF Mom from past years to compare. That might help to settle new female or not.
Look carefully for that fleck - lower right side.
I have been pouring over old videos watching and comparing this female with the past. I remember she was very pushy when she first came to the nest. Videos from last year's building seems to be more working together and less of the nipping behavior I've observed this year.
October 29, 2019 Wow, the action continues at the Duke Farms nest this season. Today it all took place in the late afternoon. The female was in the nest, and on alert.
Dad comes flying in with a huge load of grass.
No sooner does he land, and the yelling begins. You could tell how upset he was by his action. Remember, this cam has no sound, so you really have to watch the behavior. His cries must have been loud. His entire body shook, and he threw his head back so far, it rested on his back.
Both eagles continued with the alarm.
Thought it was interesting the way she sat in the nest, with her head down.
Wow, amazing how far back he can throw his head.
He finally flew to the branch, and continued his alarm and watch.
Dad flew to the "sleeping" branch to the left of the nest. Both continued to cry out. Then from the right view a large, dark object flew across the screen. Another eagle? Sure looked like it. Still very dark, so young and immature. Hard to tell the age without a clearer view. Could this be one of the eagles hatched from this nest? Young eagles do return to their home area. They are not welcomed by the adults, and are seen as just another intruder. They will be chased away as the adults defend their territory and prepare for another nesting season. With so many eagles in the area, nesting season gets more interesting every year.
October 28, 2019 Interesting development at the nest today. The female was sitting in the nest as usual in the early morning hours. From the left side of our view a bird came flying towards her like it was a rocket, and knocked the female around! That bird flew with such speed, it was hard to ID, even looking at the video frame by frame. Just looking at color and size, because there is no other detail, could this have been an owl? Seems kind of dark, but so hard to tell. Great Horned Owls are notorious for taking over another bird's nest. They don't like to build their own.
She repositioned herself and called out.
October 19, 2019 Early morning action once again in this nest. Tuned in to find both eagles in the nest. They are looking alert and nervous. They flew to a branch and stood on lookout.
A stick was delivered.
Now what to do with that stick? Move it here? Move it there? Where will it fit?
The female lets Dad know she is not happy with his placement of that stick.
OK, then where do you want to move it?
October 18, 2019 Wow, both eagles spent the night on branches near the nest. Have the owls been visiting? I didn't see any this year, but I do remember 2 showing up last year.
Just before 3 AM, the female was the first to arrive. She sat on the branch both fledglings used last year.
Shortly after she arrived, Dad flew in. Look carefully between the "v" on the left.
They both tucked heads under wings, and slept perched on the branch. Just before sunrise, the female flew down into the nest. She looked quite comfortable. Was she testing it to see what else was needed?
They both seemd a bit on the nervous side. I watched lots of head movement from both of them. Wish I could see and hear what they were watching? Could it be owls? Another eagle? If this is not Mom, is she out there? So many questions.
October 17, 2019 The nest is beginning to take shape. In the early morning hours both eagles were in the nest, moving and shaping. The regular watchers seem to feel this is a new female from Dad's behavior early on. Yes, I do admit I saw submissive behavior which would point to someone new. I also thought that eagle back in September was smaller than the one I'm now watching with Dad. I guess time will tell. I need to do more observing to be sure.
October 16, 2019 Hello! The action continues at the DF bald eagle nest. I guess we have an official start of the new season, since both eagles have been seen regularly at the nest. They are working together to get it into shape.
Dad is no long taking a head down, submissive posture when the other eagle is in the nest. Yes, she is still there, and continuing to bring sticks into the nest. DF cam operators zoomed in today to get a better look at this female eagle. She is beautiful!
2019 Bald EaglesPosted by Diane Cook on 3/29/2019
September 24, 2019 Hello eagle watchers. I can't begin writing about a new season yet, as the new nesting season hasn't really begun yet. Right now it is just defend the territory season. Interesting that there has been eagle sightings on the nest this month. It is clear one of the adults is DF Dad. You can see his bands. There has also been a female with him. Female, because her size is bigger than him when they are sitting side by side.
The original female was also banded, so it was easy to tell when a new female came into the nest. The new one we have come to know as DF Mom, has no bands. I always remember noticing the difference in personalities first. The female that replace the banded one, who just never showed up at the new nesting season that year, behaved differently. To me, she always seemed more bossy than the first female. This female has been around since 2011. It can be difficult to tell one adult eagle from another. I look to their behavior.
Why do I write about this today? The couple of times I've seen Dad and the female together on the nest this month, Dad's behavior has been interesting. I've noticed that he sits next to the female or on the branch with his head down, not looking at her. I've seen this before a few years back when another eagle showed up in the nest. He did not chase it away, but sat with his head down, not making eye contact.
Why was he not defending "his" nest from an intruder if this was not Mom? I have been told that before there are eggs in the nest or young to defend, a male will chase away other males. A female will chase away another female. If something happened to Mom, or a new female is stronger, Dad will accept her instead of Mom. The same would be true if another male showed up. Even though eagles mate for life, the need to have eggs and young is greater. Is Mom nearby? Will she come to chase away another female? Time will tell. The female on the nest this morning seemed comfortable for a while. Then she picked up her head and looked around. Who or what did she see? Of course, this could also be Mom. It is hard to tell from this early morning view, and without a close up.
This will have the eagle watchers, me included, captivated and looking forward to a new nesting season. Let's see what happens!
Here are some more screen captures from early this morning.
September 11, 2019 A new school year begins, and the nesting season at Duke Farms ends. The fledglings remain with their parents during the summer months. They are taught how to fish and hunt. They practice guarding their prey and strengthen their flying skills. By this time, the eaglets spread their wings and have flown away from home. Where do they go? That is a question to which I'd love to find the answer. I have participated in 5 bandings on a nest I help to monitor. In recent years I have seen immature bald eagles nearby (it is thought the immature return close to their nesting area), but none are wearing bands. Where are my eagles?
Thanks to amazing technology, Duke Farms' E88 was fitted with a transmitter backpack at banding this year. The biologists will be able to track where he goes. We can follow his path, thanks to the folks at Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ! They take the data from the transmitter and track the path on a map published on their web site. E88 has been named, Duke. He is the 6th eagle to be tracked in NJ this way. Click on the link to see where Duke has been. On the site, click on Duke's name on the black bar at the top of the map to see his track.
June 17, 2019 Still no sign of E87. Hope she's finding her way around the lower branches, and maybe up to the nest for another visit. E88 came back a couple times today. Duke Farms zoomed in for a nice close look at him. He looks great!
It didn't take the students in each class today to notice the empty nest. Glad I had the videos from the weekend's events. They were excited to watch E88's fledge, all students K-2 cheered him as he flew. All let out groans as they watch E87 miss her landing. We are all hopeful after seeing her flapping wings, that she landed somewhere in the lower canopy of the trees.
As the afternoon rolled around, E88 was back. He is hungry and was hoping for a meal to be served on the nest. No such luck. He sat on the branch looking around. He then flew to the nest, and looked around for some leftovers. Finding nothing worthwhile, he laid down for a bit.
He was up hopping around the nest and stretching out his wings. He was amusing to watch. He was hungry! He picked up a bone at one point and tossed it around the nest before jumping on "playing" with an empty turtle shell. Finding nothing to eat, he flew back up to the branch. Something caught his eye and he took off flying in the direction in which he was looking.
June 16, 2019 When E88 came home for dinner, he stayed the night. The next morning when breakfast was served, I took a video of him flying.
Let's play where's E88. Can you find E88 in the side branch? He's hidden by the large branch on the left side of the nest. Look for his head.
He flew again. Can you see him in the leaves of the lower branches of the tree?
He flew to one more branch before leaving the area. He was really hard to see this time.
E87 was alone again on the branch after her brother left following breakfast. She seemed anxious, flying down to the nest and back.
She kept giving Mom and Dad's sleeping branch the eye. This is the branch E88 sat on before breakfast. She finally decided to give it a try.
She looked great, but lost her footing on the landing. She tried to get her balance but just couldn't. Down she went through the branches and leaves. Hopefully she landed somewhere safe below.
A short time after E87's accidental fledge, Duke Farms cam operator zoomed in to look for any sign of her. I never did see anything, but they did spot E88 perched and asleep on a nearby branch.
June 15, 2019 What an exciting morning, and all before 7 AM! E88 has fledged! I remember hearing or reading somewhere that the males are the ones that typically fledge first, especially when so close in age as they two. E88 spent another night sleeping out on the branch and NOT in the nest. Seeing him that first night, I knew it wouldn't be long until he fledged.
At first light, both eaglets were out on the branch together.
I watched a bit wing stretching and jostling around on the branch. E87 was in a higher position than her brother. When she stretched her wings, she covered him completely!
He flew down to the nest, poked around a bit, and prepared to fly back up to the branch.
He returned to the branch, wings flapping, and they bumped each other. Kind of hard to tell, but that bump might have been the push to set him off.
Once off the branch, he flapped his wings, made a beautiful turn, and flew under and away from the nest. No doubt he was flying. It was not a fall.
After he left, E87 kept looking around trying to find him or an adult now that she was alone. You could see her mouth moving also, she must have been crying out.
Can't wait to see where he goes! Will he be back to the nest? Sometimes they do come back and the parents will feed them in the nest. Other times, there is no coming back. Parents will find where they are perching, and feed them there.
E87 stayed perched for a while. She also flew down to the nest and back to the branch a few times. Now she has the room to practice her flying.
Mom flew into the nest with a fish, and E87 came down for it. Mom has stayed with her now for close to 1 1/2 hours now. Mom was perched on the branch while E87 ate.
I never knew I had the ability to record screen video with my laptop! Was excited to be able to try it and to make a movie with iMovie software to share E88's fledge this morning.
Guess who came back for an early dinner? Yup, E88 is back! Fledglings may come back to the nest when it is time to eat. Eating on a branch and keeping your balance can be tricky for a young eaglet. It is not unusual to return to the nest for the first few feedings following a fledge.
E87 spots someone flying in shortly after Mom brings a fish to the nest.
E88 makes his return.
Mom flies off. The siblings look at each other. Is she asking him where he's been? Is he giving her tips about fledging? Makes me wonder what they are thinking.
Up for a visit.
Mom is back.
Duke Farms cam operator gave us some nice close up shots.
Mom flies up to the branch watching the kids.
Nice close up of Mom and E88 on the branch before they fly off again.
June 14, 2019 Another milestone for the DF eaglets happened overnight. E88 spent his first night perched on the branch instead of the nest! First look this morning, I found E88 on the branch and not in the nest. Thought he was up early until I rewound the cam. He spent his first night perched on the branch! They both began stirring shortly after 5AM. He flew down to the nest, flapping for a bit. E87 moved to the lower end of the branch. He wanted back up but his sister seemed to be in his way. He kept looking at the branch, trying to figure out a way up. He finally got close to it, jumped, and flew right over his sister's head! They are getting stronger each day!
Just after midnight and E88 is up on the branch.
He's still there!
Beginning to wake and stretch in the early morning.
With a sister in the way, how will E88 get back up?
Here goes anything! I held my breath, hoping he wouldn't knock E87 off the branch as he flew over her.
Thankfully he got good height, and flew right over.
Both eaglets perch on the branch waiting for breakfast!
Funny how just a few weeks earlier, both eaglets could not get further away from a lamprey. The first time they saw it, they just couldn't figure it out, hopped to the furthest part of the nest, and watched with great caution as the thing wiggled. Now, it is just more to eat! Both eaglets were sitting on the branch when the female came flying in with the lamprey, at least I think that is what it was-so hard to tell with all the wing flapping. E87 was closest to the nest and first on it being in the lower position on the branch.
Both came down, but E88 was the first to leave and go back to the branch.
While the female fed his sister, he looked on before finally flying back down to join in the meal. He had to dodge his sister.
When he got a bit closer between the 2 females, his sister gave him a nip on the back for his troubles.
He backed off but not for too long. Despite the stink eye from his sister, crept back in and quickly stole some bites of his own. E87 did not put up a fight.
Meal over, the female flew up to the branch with her son looking on. I think she gave him a flying from the branch lesson.
A few seconds later E88 flew up to the perch with his sister right behind. There they perched and preened in the early morning light.
June 10, 2019 The Duke Farms eagles are now 10 weeks old. An eaglet's flight feathers are usually full grown at this age. They will continue to grow for another couple weeks. If one slipped and fell now, chances are it could glide down and land safely somewhere.
An eaglet in Florida, slipped and hung upside-down as it held onto the branch. It finally let go and landed on a branch lower in the tree. It was not yet ready to fly up to the nest from that point, but it flew to other, closer branches, one at a time until it reached the nest.
A few years ago a Duke Farms eaglet slipped. She fell to a lower branch where she stayed for a couple days. The parents were able to watch her. She finally figured out how to fly back up to the nest and did!
Sometimes young eagles that fall need people to help them out. Last year after falling from her own nest, the biologists placed E68 in the nest I help to monitor when we were there for banding. The parents at this nest had 2 eaglets of their own about the same age. They adopted and cared for the foster eaglet, and all 3 fledged.
All the eaglets at Decorah this year had a tough time. The blackflies and buffalo gnats are biting and eating the poor birds alive. All 3 fell or flew out of the nest too soon! Unfortunately the adults cannot lift them up to bring them back to the nest. The eaglets are just too heavy for the parents. If they can find the young eagles, the parents can bring food to them and help to chase away any predators that show up. That is all they can do. Thankfully the folks at the Raptor Resource Project found all 3 eaglets. They are now getting the help they need to recover from the ordeal at SOAR, a rescue center.
D32 took a flight to one of the nearby branches. Later in the day, it flew away from the tree on June 4th in the early evening. It was unseen until June 7 when it was finally rescued after he was found by the side of a creek near the fish hatchery. He is now at a rehab center to recover from many bug bites and days away from the nest.
D32 before it flew away on June 4th.
June 5th, the other eaglet in that nest, E33, took a fall from the branch it was walking on after taking a misstep. It was found on the ground below the nest. After a check up, it too was found to be bitten many times from the bad bug problem in Decorah. E33 was found first and has been cared for and given plenty of food to get stronger.
D33 just before it fell on June 5th.
The Decorah North nest had its issues too. This eaglet was out on a branch, scratching some bug bites of its own. It fell out of the nest while scratching! The poor thing landed safely in the cow pasture. Thankfully it had enough bald eagle skills to scare the curious cows away. When the got too close, DN9 mantled, flapped it wings before finally scampering away to hide in the brush. It was found and rescued, being brought to SOAR, and is recovering and eating well with the eaglets from Decorah. It is hoped all three eaglets will be released as soon as they are able to fly.
Watch the video using the link below to see how the cows and DN9 react to seeing each other. Listen for the sound of the cows as they walk through the pasture. Thanks to Lady Hawk for posting the video, and for allowing me to share it here! Remember you will be leaving Mrs. Cook's Place. When the video is over, use your back button or close the tab to return here. Be a good digital citizen and be sure to get permission BEFORE you explore!
June 7, 2019 First flights are usually gliding down to the nest from a branch that has been climbed. Both eaglets have been doing this for the past few days. They are becoming very active now. With 2 full grown eaglets in nest, it gets crowded with they are both flapping and often hit each other.
Branching works up an appetite. Look for the adult coming into the nest with a nice big fish!
June 6, 2019 Serious wing flapping happens early in the morning before the heat of the day. The eaglets put on quite the show this morning!
Still dark and E88 is out on the branch already. Love the way his sister watches.
June 4, 2019 A bit later in the day, it's time for lunch. Mom comes in with a fish. E88 is first on it. Duke Farms gave us some real great closeups of the feeding. E88 not only steals from his sister, but Mom too. E87 is not about to miss out on a meal, she sneaks in from the other side of Mom to get her share. Enjoy the screen shots!
E88 hanging out on the branch.
E88 first in line for fish!
E88 going in for the steal from Mom!
E87 comes in on the other side for some fish.
While Mom feeds E87, look who goes in for a steal. He has great eagle manners!
This early morning observation had E88 back up on the branch. Just like his last trip, he did not go far. He did hang out for a while, and added some wing flapping on the branch too.
E88 was down in the center of the nest resting from his earlier branch climbing. E87 was busy flapping and wanted to try the branch herself. She jumped, landed on her brother, and continued up the branch. She continued to walk up the branch until only her feet and tail were visible in the cam view.Later, the female made a prey delivery and E88 jumped on it immediately. E87 saw it, turned to face the nest, and down she flew!
May 31, 2019 So the eaglets are getting stronger every day! Today for the first time I noticed E88 really catching some air under his feet as he exercised his wings. On a breezy day, the wind helps to give the birds some lift. They feel that flying feeling, and develop more confidence. Early this morning E88 took his first steps onto one of the tree's branches. He did not venture very far out, but he was there. His sister looked on. Was she taking notes?
Getting ready to leave the branch, E88 begins to open his wings. He will need to get over his sister down there in the nest.
With a leap off the branch, and flapping of his wings, he takes flight.
It is short, but he does it, landing on the other side of the nest.
I've heard that males tend to take flight first, I guess time will tell.
Later in the day, the eaglets spot an adult coming into the nest. They see and begin calling out. They are hungry and want to be fed.
Mom delivers a nice fish, though it is not easy to see at first. She no sooner lands and is mobbed by her 2 young ones. E88 was the first to grab the fish and claim it for his own. He begins to mantle immediately. Mantling is when they open their wings to try and cover or hide their catch.
E87 backs off and lets her brother enjoy the fish for now. She keeps a close eye on it though.
The battle for the fish begins. There is a lot of stealing from each other, exactly the skills these young eagles need to learn in order to survive on their own. E87 mantles her steal.
She doesn't hold onto it for long. E88 steals the fish away again.
May 28, 2019 There is confirmation today regarding the eaglets at Duke Farms. They published a blog with all the details. You can read it here: https://tinyurl.com/y673tpy2
E87, the larger of the two, is a female. E88, the smaller male, was chosen for the transmitter because of his size and development. His feathers are more developed and many times males fly first.
Once E88 fledges, we will be able to follow him too! The transmitter will give biologists valuable information about the non-breeding adult stage of his life, where he goes, and if/when he returns to the area he left. This will help biologists to protect not only nesting habitats, but roosting habitats too. You can read more about the transmitter and meet the other eagles who have/had one here: https://tinyurl.com/y3kgjz9k
Something I've noticed for a few days now, but have not written about it yet. E88 was so dominate as a chick. He established himself higher in the "pecking order" early on, yet he now seems to submit to his younger, but bigger sister. Both eaglets are eager and fast to jump in and take the food from a parent. I have watched E87 take over a feeding though when she has the mind to do so. E88 does not fight, but backs off.
Both eaglets jump in to feed.
E88 back to try again
E88 gets a bite
This is a great shot of Dad taking off. It shows how an eagle pushes off with strong legs on takeoff. This is one reason the eaglets do their jumping jacks to build muscle. Strong muscles also help with holding onto prey and hanging onto a branch.
Back to relaxing on the nest when Dad comes flying in with a fish! He lands right next to E88 who gets a good feed this time. When done with the fish, Dad gives the eaglets a lesson on how to branch. He flies to the 12:00 branch with a very interested E88 watching. Both eaglets then do a bit of wingflapping.
May 26, 2019 Another quiet morning finds both eaglets on the nest. Fish still visible, just not eating like before. They have stopped the rapid growth stage of life. Now their feathers will grow more and longer. That nest sure does look small at this stage. When you stretch a wing, it covers your sister.
The early morning is a time for stretching, allopreening, some wingersizing, and bite to eat.
Both eaglets are still being lazy after banding.
Later in the morning, both adults came into the nest. They didn't stay long, both took off one after the other. Is the reflection of the transmitter spooking them? Will take some getting used to.
Not gone for long, Mom came in for a feeding.
Not down for long. By mid-day both eaglets were up, standing at the edge of the nest. Were they thinking about flying?
May 25, 2019 Beautiful and quiet morning. Mom was on the nest with the eaglets. The banding crew showed up and the cam went down during banding.
The cam came back to show both chicks in the nest. Both eaglets were laying in the center of the nest, wings open and panting. It was a sunny and warm day. Banding is also a stressful time. The birds are taken from the nest, given an exam with measurements taken, and finally bands put on both legs. Fish are left in the nest to help life return to normal.
Measurements help to determine whether the chick is male or female. The first to be banded was the larger of the two, E87, and is most likely a female. The smaller eaglet, E88, is male and was fitted with the GPS transmitter.
Later in the afternoon the parents returned to the nest. Mom brought a fish with her. She began eating. Both eaglets opened their wings, seemed to mantle, but did not stand to get food. E88 stretched to reach a bite. Mom left rather suddenly.
May 22, 2019 Observation began quiet, with both chicks sitting in the nest.
Dad flew in with a nice sized fish.
Chicks both waited for him to begin feeding, but instead he flew off! "Hey Dad, where are you going? Aren't you feeding us breakfast today?"
The chicks were funny to watch. They were hesitant about feeding. I have watched them attempt to self feed before today, but this morning, they really made the effort. They seemed to take turns at it too. One began to feed while the other just relaxed and stretched.
One more glance back to where Dad had flown, before they both tried to feed.
They dragged that fish all around the nest. It was soon hard to tell where the fish was. It was covered in grass.
Both chicks were still taking turns trying to feed on the fish more than an hour later. It seemed like it was a hard job for them. When the adults feed them, it takes about 10 minutes before a fish that size is gone.
While both chicks were still feeding on the fish, Dad arrived back on the nest with something else. The chicks were very interested.
It seemed like it was stuck in the branches of the nest, or he was holding it awkwardly. Then he pulled it up. It was a lamprey, and a huge one at that!
The chicks seemed interested in Dad's latest delivery until it began to wiggle and move! It startled both chicks. They moved to the far side of the nest and watched from there.
It wasn't until the thing stopped moving, and Dad offered bites that the chicks began to feed on this new menu item.
While fish may be the preferred prey on the menu, eagles will eat whatever is available. This shot shows some of the varied prey that has been brought to the nest - turtle, lamprey, and fish!
May 20, 2019 As volunteer with the Endangered and Nongame Species Program, I monitor bald eagle nests. One nest I have had the honor to attend banding is near my home. I was once again invited to banding last Thursday. It is something I will always treasure. This year I was able to live stream with some of my 1st grade classes. What fun that was! You can check out what banding was all about by visiting my blog.
I think Kathy Clark (the supervisor of the Bald Eagle project) and Dr. Miller (the vet who gives the eaglets their check up at banding) are going to have their hands full Memorial weekend when they band these eaglets. They are getting so BIG! Wingercising has begun, and when they stretch out those wings, you can see just how big. That wingspan goes from one side of the nest to the other! Wings are flapping, and I'm even seeing some hopping too. They are working on making those muscles strong for flight.
I just can't believe how big they've gotten. It is amazing to see how fast they grow and change. Seeing my students once in a 6-day schedule 8-10 days can go by before they see the nest again. I've heard more than one kindergartener ask where they babies went? Both are standing straight and tall on those big feet. Their bodies have caught up to those feet now, and it is easier to walk on them. It can still be tricky walking around in that nest. It is easy to lose your footing on a stick, bone, or turtle shell. They have now entered the stage where growing has slowed down. They are at adult size now, but will still be growing those feathers and muscles.
They can go for longer periods of time without a new food delivery. When food is brought back, lessons on taking fish for yourself, stealing from another eagle, and being the first to get to the prey continue to be reinforced. Mom just flew in with a fish, and Dad flew in right behind her. She hesitated and he jumped right in to take the fish. He began feeding, pausing long enough for the chicks to grab the bite from him.
May 6, 2019 What a rainy weekend we had here in NJ. Last night both adults were on the nest with umbrellas up trying to keep those chicks dry. Hopefully the sun will begin to dry things out today. The river was running high and fast yesterday morning. Will be hard fishing for Mom and Dad today.
Last post I talked about some facial features of bald eagles. I found this photo of Harriet, the female of the south west Florida nest. With permission from them, I am sharing a photo with features of a bald eagle's face labeled. Thanks for allowing me to share here.
Photo is courtesy and property of SWFEC and used with permission from Southwest Florida Eagle Cam
May 2, 2019
Another mystery bird was brought into the nest for dinner. Could not see enough of it to get an ID. It had long "fingers" and leg. Mom ate with the chicks coming in to get a bite too. Dad flew in and stole the prey away from Mom. He began to feed himself and the chicks. She flew off and left Dad to finish. More lessons taught.
When lessons and mealtime is over, it's time for a stretch and nap. Reminds me of Thanksgiving dinner.
Today Duke Farms gave us some great close up looks. The downy feathers that covered the head to keep it warm are pushed out as the adult feathers grow.
The bill is still very dark and will stay that way until the eagle turns 3 years old. Then you will begin to see more yellow. By the time the eagle turns 5 years old, that bill will be a bright yellow color. You can see some yellow towards the back on the gape. The gape is soft tissue unlike the hard bill. A wide gape in the young birds help it to eat large pieces of food. As it gets older, the gape will get smaller.
Like a dog, bald eagles pant to cool off in warm temperatures. They do not sweat like us. This nice close up shows the tongue. Look closely for the black dot mid-way back on the tongue. The tongue has 2 barbs in this spot, one on each side of the tongue. They are called papillae. They help to grab hold of the food and move it to the back of the mouth to swallow. The folks at Raptor Resource Project have a blog with many more details about the tongue of a bald eagle. Check it out here: https://raptorresource.blogspot.com/2018/04/bald-eagle-tongues.html
The chicks turn 5 weeks old this weekend. Their body feathers are really growing and beginning to cover the gray thermal down. They will continue to grow until the down is totally covered.
The chicks are very aware of their surroundings. When not napping, they can be found sitting on the edge of the nest looking out at the "neighborhood". Does anyone else yell at them to sit back from the edge like me?
These eagle chicks seem to grow overnight. After breakfast and full chicks, there is an early morning fish delivery dropped at the nest. The chicks are beginning to get curious and trying to feed themselves. Before they can feed, the muscles around the bill need to be developed and strong.
Standing on your food can help you hold it in place.
Those big feet DO have a purpose.
May 1, 2019 As the chicks grow and get closer to the age when they will feed themselves, Mom and Dad begin to teach feeding lessons. You have to be quick and sometimes steal prey away from someone else so that you can eat and survive.
Mom arrives with prey and begins to feed the chicks.
Dad arrives, and lesson time begins. He takes the prey from Mom.
Mom tries to take it back, and gets nipped instead.
She tries again.
Mom goes for the steal!
She takes it to the other side of the nest. Dad looks for leftovers.
Dad flies off. Mom won the battle.
April 26, 2019 Hello eagle watchers! The nestlings have been growing fast. They will be 4 weeks old this weekend, and are about 1/3 of the way to fledge. They have been doing lots of eating and sleeping while their bodies grow. It seems their pin feathers grew overnight. Pin feathers are the developing feathers of a bird that will grow and cover the thermal down. Kind of like leaf buds on a tree. Sometimes pin feathers are also called blood feathers. They are connected to the blood supply, and it is this blood supply that will help the feathers grow.
The adults give them more and more time to be alone too. The thermal down that now covers their body is a good insulator. That down is not waterproof, and the chicks still need protection from rain. They don't fit very well anymore under the Mombrella, but they try.
Sometimes it takes 2 adult eagles to protect their young from the weather.
April 25, 2019 The eyesight of the nestlings has improved. It has been fun to watch them track the adults as they fly into the nest. They saw the movement of something approaching, turned their heads to follow it, and watched as the adult flew into the nest.
Hanging out in the nest on a warm and sunny morning.
Who is that coming home?
Hanging out with Mom.
When I look at the chicks at this age, I can't help but think of dinosaurs. I was/am one of those girls who love dinosaurs. The fluffy white baby chicks are gone, and have been replaced with some kind of prehistoric raptor.
When your body grows as fast as an eaglet chick, there is lots of sleeping.
The chicks are spending wake time at the edge of the nest, looking out at their surroundsings. They get me so nervous when they get close to the edge. The ground is an 80 foot drop, and these chicks cannot yet fly. In the coming weeks their body will catch up to those feet. It won't be long before we see them standing on them.
April 23, 2019 At 3 weeks of age, the nestlings beaks and feet have outgrown their body. The feet have changed color to a pale yellow. Their foot pads and talons have grown. They are sitting up nice and straight and tall, but not yet walking on their feet. Check out those full crops too. These are well fed bald eagle chicks!
April 21, 2019 Just before midnight, while the eagles slept, an intruder decided to pay a visit to the nest. I missed the live action, but was able to go back to view the video later. Mom was all tucked in, sleeping, when something swooped in, crashing into her. She jumped into action and began yelling! It wasn't long before Dad joined her on the nest from his sleeping branch. They let the intruder know, quite clearly, they were not happy about the visit. Things settled down shortly, and by morning light the chicks enjoyed a peaceful breakfast. Viewers seem to think it was a Great Horned Owl, though I did not have a clear view. It happened so fast, it was hard to get an ID. Great Horned Owl is likely, especially after having seen both on the nest early in the season before eggs were laid. In other nests, owls have taken eagle chicks. It can and has happened. Thankfully, not here at this nest!
April 20, 2019 Chicks are now 3 weeks old! Their bodies have some growing to do to catch up to those feet and beaks. Those body parts grow faster than the rest. Down feathers replace the natal down with which they hatched. Down feathers will stay with them under their adult feathers. Like long underwear, down will keep them warm in cold weather. It also helps to keep them warm in early spring when chilly weather can still happen.
April 19, 2019 Certainly was an interesting and eventful lunchtime today! The chicks were resting up at the edge of the nest with Dad sitting nearby. He became alert and upset.
It didn't take long for Mom to fly into the nest also. I held my breath and waited for the intruder. Sure enough, within a very short time of the alarm sounding an immature bald eagle flew over the nest! The adults continued to yell and both of them giving chase. They didn't fly far but landed right back on the nest to protect those chicks, and continued to yell at the intruder.
Live Cam chatter captured the event in video. He has given me permission to share his videos with you here. Thank you William Assumpcao!
April 11, 2019 Bald eagle chicks eat lots and grow fast! Their bodies are beginning to be able to hold its own heat, and with warm days and nights you may see them in the nest without seeing an adult. Have no fear, one adult is always nearby, just out of cam view. Sparring continues. The chicks are practicing skills necessary as they grow and leave the protection of their parents. Skills needed to fight off others who would steal their food or intrude on their territory.
Dad in his "lookout" spot.
Today was the day for some awesome close up views of the chicks. At 2 weeks old, they have entered the time of growth where their beaks and feet grow faster than their body. "Clown feet" have been spotted! They are not strong enough to stand on those feet yet. When they walk around the nest, they are walking on their legs. That makes those big feet even more noticeable as they flop around.
Look carefully, can you see a small part left of the egg tooth? Those talons are becoming quite large too.
The white and fluffy natal down is slowly being replaced by the thick and warmer down feathers. This down will cover their body, and remain between the body and the adult feathers. Think of down as being like long underwear!
Sometimes you will see the chicks grooming each other.
April 10, 2019 Hello eagle watchers! Nice day and close ups of the little ones this morning.
The last blog entry I talked about that part of the digestive system called the crop. Remember it is a food storage pouch. With the cam zoomed in close today, I was able to show how a crop drop looks. Looks like a big yawn.
April 6, 2019 What a beautiful day! With the sun shining and warm temps, the chicks need some shade from Dad. He opens his wings to give them some shade.
Even the hot sun can't contain those chicks. Dad keeps watch, while they explore!
Mom stands guard while the little ones nap. They are getting big! According to a blog from Raptor Resource (http://tinyurl.com/y6fkxxpf) when the eaglets hatch, they weigh just over 3 ounces. That is about the weight of 18 nickels. In that first week, they grow to about 1 pound! No wonder the adults are so busy catching and feeding all those fish!
Birds are rather interesting creatures. You know when you go out to eat, and it's just too much for one meal? You can take the extra food home with you in a "doggie bag". Bald eagles have a built-in doggie bag, called a crop. The crop is a pouch in the throat, and is part of the digestive system. Its purpose is store extra food when that food is plentiful. A full crop is easy to see in the chicks. Notice that bulge in the neck? That is the crop full of food!
When you see what looks like the chick yawning, it is really a "crop drop". The chick is swallowing some of the stored food from the crop. During banding, Dr. Miller checks the crop on the chicks to see that they are getting enough food.
April 5, 2019 Mom and Dad are sure keeping these chicks well fed! Lots of fish in this nest.
Teachers and families, you can engage in a Citzen's Science project. Download the Prey Data sheet and start tracking the kinds of prey you see showing up in the nest.
These little guys will be celebrating their 1 week birthday this weekend. The egg tooth has not disappeared yet. Look at the difference in size between Mom's bill and that of the chick!
April 4, 2019 It's a cold day in Decorah, Iowa today, but nothing will stop a bald eagle chick when it's ready to hatch. Chick 1 hatches at 6:54 pm Iowa time, and has been confirmed by the folks at the Raptor Resource Project.
Soon after the hatch, Mom flies off and comes back with a fish! She continues to be super fisher bird!
Second graders have been asking many questions about the Decorah nest. This is the one we followed in school after the failure at Duke Farms. I have followed both nests since Duke Farms went online.
Quick Decorah Update: Last year after the chicks hatched in Decorah, Dad went missing. He never returned or was found. Mom did an amazing job raising 3 chicks! All 3 fledged. DM2 is Mom's new mate. She accepted him after 2 others came and went. Here they are today after the hatch of their first egg together!
April 4, 2019 The afternoon was sunny and warm. The little ones want to discover their word and peek out from under their parents.
Chick 1 decided it was time for a walk around the nest! This is one strong little eagle. I was surprised Mom did not tuck the little explorer under her body.
Chick 1 looking like Mom.
After sitting with Mom for a short time, chick 1 takes off again around the nest. Time for a walk-about.
Dad comes home, and looks a bit confused as to how or why chick 1 is out.
Back home and under Dad to warm up.
April 4, 2019 Dad was with the chicks this morning when he became upset about something. I could see shadows on the tree branches. At one point he threw his head back and yelled.
At one point he began to mantle. A mantle is when a bird of prey spreads its wings and tail. They usually do this to hide prey. In this case, he would have been hiding and protecting his chicks.
Seconds later, Mom came flying in with her morning fish. It was another sucker!
Dad flew off, while Mom stayed with the chicks. They were too busy sparring with each other to beg for food. I guess they had enough to eat for now.
April 3, 2019 Guess who is still near the nest? Yup, looks like the eagles' turkey friend spent the night! You never know what you will see on the live cam. I guess the eagles do not see a turkey as a threat.
Mom is checking out her new roommate.
Turkey decides it's time to leave.
Dad arrives. No doubt he spends the night on a nearby branch just out of cam view. If we had sound, did he cry out before flying closer to the nest? Could that be why the turkey decided to leave?
Breakfast for all!
Dad decides breakfast is over, as he moves over the nest cup. It is another chilly morning. Those little ones do need to keep warm. Dad takes over brooding duty, and Mom is off for a break.
April 2, 2019 Well this is interesting. Early evening, a turkey decided to roost on a branch below the ealge nest. I have seen turkeys moving through the woods below the nest in past years. Having one roost for the night so near the nest is a first.
The second graders have been discussing endangered animals, and why we need to take care of the other living things on this planet. When discussing the bald eagle, in each class, someone has mentioned that the bald eagle is our national symbol. Did you know that was not Benjamin Franklin's first choice? In a letter he wrote to his daughter, he said he was sorry the eagle was chosen as our national symbol. He thought the eagle "... a bird of bad moral character." He thought the eagle lazy for not fishing for itself, but rather stealing fish from another bird that did the actual catching. Lazy or smart? Franklin's bird of choice? The turkey! He thought the turkey "... a more respectable bird, ..." and "a true Native of America..." Can you imagine? What are your thoughts about our national symbol? Did the founding fathers get it right, or do you agree with Benjamin Franklin?
April 2, 2019 Chick 2 is not going to take being bossed around by its older sibling. There is only 1 day between hatch dates. These two are close in age and size. It is true that most bonking has been done by Chick 1 so far. This afternoon, Chick 2 decided to fight back. When Chick 1 came at Chick 2 with open mouth, it stood tall and gave it right back. No one was hurt. They both got up and were both fed!
The cam operators gave us some great close-up shots of the chicks today.
The chicks are getting stronger each day too. They can now stand a bit longer without falling over, and can hold their heads up.
Look at the egg tooth on both chicks!
Here comes Mom with food. Looks like chick 1 has the idea to be first in line to eat. Keeping an eye on its sibling to be sure he stays down and doesn't jump the line, getting ready to "bonk" if needed.
April 1, 2019 Just how big is an adult bald eagle? Viewing the live cam brings nature into our homes and classrooms, but just doesn't show how big these birds can be. An adult female's body can be 35-37 inches long. Her wingspan can be 6-7 feet! Watch the cam carefully when an adult takes off. The nest material and feathers of the mate fly in the breeze created from those wings flapping. The chicks are only about 4-5 inches, but grow fast. Look at the size difference in these shots!
Bald eagles usually use the same nest each year. They add new material and repair it at the start of each new nesting season. They can be very large - 10 feet across and weigh 2,000 pounds. Eagles need to choose strong trees! Look how small the chicks look inside the nest.
April 1, 2019 Dad was left to chick sit again this afternoon. He was feeding, when something had him really upset. Was he calling for Mom to come help? Did he see an intruder? Did he have enough of the chicks' bonking? (More on that later.) Whatever had him upset, he continued to yell out before flying off and leaving the chicks along. Thankfully, not for long.
Bonking, what is it? It is the non-scientific word used to describe sibling rivalry, and attention for food from the adults. Watch the birds at a bird feeder sometime. Did you ever notice how some get to go gather seed first, while others have to wait? If someone goes out of order, it gets poked or chased. This is known as a "pecking order". Birds decide who eats first. Usually the strongest and most bossy.
This happens in a bald eagle's nest very early. Most times it is the oldest and biggest, who gets to eat first, but not always. If a younger, smaller sibling tries to get fed first, it is bonked! Sometimes it can get really rough, when the bonker not just hits the other on the head, but grabs hold and shakes! The one being bonked usually learns to lay low and stay out of the way. It will get fed too. It learns how to sneak under its sibling and grab a bite. This is normal behavior and stops in a couple weeks. Bald eagle chicks are learning how to survive!
These chicks are very close in age. I expect to see chick 2 start to bonk back one day. The parents at this nest keep the chicks well fed, and there is plenty food around too. The adults will not stop the bonking, but sometimes they will feed the more aggressive chick first. Then it is full, and won't want more food. Then others in the nest can be fed.
Even when no food is present, sibling rivalry, and the contest to be the top chick in the nest continues. One chick reminds its sibling who is boss in the nest. In a couple weeks, the bonking will stop, and the chicks appear to be very close to each other. Until that time...
It can be very hard to watch, but this is how the species make sure the strongest survives. Remember that if you ever see something you don't want to watch, take a break and come back later.
April 1, 2019 Dad was brooding the hatchlings, and Mom was out fishing. Dad is NOT happy, and both adults are on alert. I wonder if another eagle is nearby and trying to get Mom's fish? We have seen them, and know they are in the area. Eagles will try to steal prey from each other. The strongest eagle wins. Mom did this time.
Looks like another white sucker to me, and it's huge! Mom is quite the fisher. Both adults continue to be on alert.
Look who is interested in what Mom and Dad are doing. Remember the chicks' eyesight is not great yet. The adults are talking to let them know who is in the nest. I think the chicks know a snack is on the way.
April 1, 2019 Happy April eagle watchers! This is NO April Fool's joke, there are 2 hungry chicks in the nest waiting for breakfast.
Take a look at Mom's talons next to those chicks! It is amazing how gentle those big and powerful adults can be when in the nest. To protect the chicks from talons, the adults will curl them under their feet when walking near them.
With cold temperatures once again over night here, breakfast is a bit frozen. Mom has to work hard to get some fish to feed her hungry chicks.
The adults are careful to be sure each chick gets fed. She will offer to one, and then the other. This morning, I noticed while chick 1 had a mouthful, she turned closer to chick 2. I also noticed her mouth moving. She was "talking" to the chick so it could follow the sound to locate her and find the food. Remember, a hatchling's eyesight is not very good at first.
Dad arrives to give Mom a break. She will most likely find something for herself to eat, and maybe bring something new back to the nest.
March 31, 2019 In only a few hours chick 2 is dry and fluffy, and resting.
With 2 hungry chicks now in the nest, it is not unusual to see both adults feeding.
March 31, 2019 I think hatch 2 happened in record time today. That little one sure was in a hurry to join its sibling, just before noon! The rain had moved in and Mom was keeping a tight lid on the nest cup. The rain drops shimmered on Mom's feathers. A bald eagle has over 7000 feathers made for keeping them warm and to shed water.
When it seemed to stop for a bit, a wet mom got up. I couldn't believe my eyes - that chick was almost hatched! It sure didn't take long to be completely emerged from the shell. With a little help from your older sibling, things happen fast! Chick 1 was up and wanted to be fed. Still not steady on its feet, there was lots of bumping and falling on the egg. With each bump, chick 2 kicked and stretched, and opened that shell further. So happy I was able to see this hatch and know we had another chick in the nest before I had to leave the house for a family event.
Mom tries to remove the shell, but chick 2 is laying on top of it. Later... The adults may eat the shell, bury it in the nest, or remove it from the nest completely.
March 31, 2019 Chick 2 is making great progress on that pip. With all the activity in the nest, the 2nd hatch always seems to happen quicker. You get lots of help, from Dad who almost steps on you, to a sibling who keeps falling on you. Caught a nest exchange between the adults with nice views of chick 1 and pip progress.
Watch your step Dad!
Bounce on the Egg
Feed Me Please
Nice Close-ups - you can see tiny talons at this very young age!
Look carefully, you can see the "belly-button". This is where a tiny cord connects the developing chick to the yolk sac, its source of food.
March 31, 2019 Good morning eagle watchers. Just before light this morning, I peeked in to see Mom asleep, head tucked under her wing. That didn't last long. The chick wanted to be fed. In only one day that little eagle baby is gaining strength. It is standing much better than yesterday. When Mom got up for a feeding, I looked to the second egg. Thought I saw something yesterday, and see something again today. Don't know what it is for sure, but will keep both eyes on it today! The mark is in the right part of the egg for a pip. Check out the top, right part of the egg.
March 30, 2019 Bald eagle chicks grow fast and eat lots! Usually the male brings prey back into the nest in the first couple of weeks, while the larger female broods. That does not mean the female never brings in prey. As the chicks grow, they both hunt and bring in prey for their hungry chicks.
Late this afternoon Dad was chick-sitting, and Mom flew off. She was only gone for a short time before returning with a fish! It is a nice big white sucker fish!
Not to be outdone, Dad flew off. He too, returned a short time later. At first I thought he was empty-taloned, the cam was zoomed out. Looking closer, I could see something in his talons. It was not a fish. It was something with either fur or feathers. As he removed the fur or feathers, it was flying out of the nest. I couldn't get a good look for an ID, but can say it was some kind of bird. Later when the cam zoomed back in, I could see dark feathers with red tips sitting on the nest.
I wonder if the young eagle is still around. I noticed lots of yelling by both adults when the fish and bird were brought into the nest. They were both very alert too. They kept looking all around. Wonder what they saw?
Dad seemed to work up an appetite when he finished de-feathering the bird. He walked over to Mom's fish and began to eat! She kept giving him the eye. At one point, he reached out to her and offered her a bite to eat.
We had a great day today! Looking forward to more excitement tomorrow with a second egg yet to hatch and watching chick 1 grow stronger! Good night eagle watchers.
March 30, 2019 This is one special nest. Been following it since the beginning. Attended banding in 2016, and am now monitor for the state Bald Eagle Project. After two years without chicks, today was a happy day! Was glued to the cam most of the day, and when I couldn't watch live, I used the cams rewind feature.
Once the chick hatches, that egg tooth is easy to see. It is the white tip at the end of the beak. After some time, it will fall off.
It is so hard to know how big the chick is when watching the live cam. When first hatched the chick is 4-5 inches long. They are almost blind, wet, and tired! They also cannot keep their own body temperature, or thermoregulate. The white natal down does not give much insulation. The adults need to keep the chicks warm, and will continue to sit over them protecting them from cold and predators. This is called brooding. It doesn't take long to dry out and see the first feathers, or natal down. They are white and fluffy!
Bald eagles can barely see when they first hatch. Watch the cam carefully and you will see the adults mouths moving. They are chirping to the chick. The chick follows this sound, and sees shadows to feed. The adults will tear off small pieces of food and offer it to the chick who reaches out to grab it. This is very hard when you still can't hold up your head or stand for long.
March 30, 2019 Hello again eagle watchers. So much happening today it is hard to keep up. Before I bring you more news about the eagles, I need to thank some dedicated watchers of the live cam. I began writing this blog for my students to read and learn about the bald eagles here in NJ, and as a way to teach some of the technology skills I teach at school. I was not going to write this year. I was sharing news with my students in a more scaled back way this year. That is until yesterday when a long time live cam viewer mentioned that she did not see my blog this year. "tlady" made me realize that others are reading this blog too. She inspired me to find a way to continue writing. Thank you for your support and encouragement! Here's to a wonderful year of watching and learning more about our national symbol!
March 30, 2019 I promised a video of the hatch I took using my iPad to record while playing the cam on my laptop. Not the best way, nor the best use of technology. Another watcher is better than I. William Assumpcao posted his on his Youtube channel, and has given me permission to share it here on the blog. Thanks Bill! Enjoy eagle watchers.
March 30, 2019 Well this will be a busy day, but a happy one to be sure! Hatch is official. With a little help from Mom, the chick has finally emerged from its shell.
Before losing the video of it, I used my iPad to capture Mom pulling the shell off. I also have some of the first views of the little one moving in the nest. More to come. I have a big report to write for the state. For anyone who is new here, I am a volunteer for the state's Endangered and Nongame Species Program. I monitor bald eagle and osprey nests. The first nest I was monitoring turned out to be a new pair who did not stick around. I had no nest for a couple years. Last year I was asked to be the official monitor for the Duke Farms nest. I did not have to think long before saying yes to that one!
More later, but I'll leave you with a couple awesome captures of big, powerful Mom next to her first hatched chick of 2019. Happy eagle watching!
March 30, 2019 Even on the weekend, I'm up early. This morning, I can't wait to see what's happening in that nest. I watch a very restless Mom, wiggling and looking around.
Curious, I rewind the cam to see what I've missed. Wow, what a surprise! From that time little pip to a huge crack!
Hatch is almost complete. The chick is hatched when it is completely free of the shell. With this large crack, the chick can now use its feet to push against the shell to crack and open it more.
Later Dad arrives and there is an incubation exchange. What a look we get then! Look for that tiny wing sticking out of the shell!
Seeing a still photo is fine, but there is nothing like seeing a video. I used my iPad to capture the moment of the exchange of Mom and Dad. This is the first look of a moving chick still fighting its way out of the shell. Click on the link below. The video will download, then you can click to watch it.
Dad gets up again to roll the other egg, and adjust the chick emerging from the shell. We get a good look now in daylight of the chick. Wet, downy feathers are showing!
March 29, 2019 It appears that the eagle watchers following the Duke Farms eagles are on hatch watch today! After an exciting evening last night, today proves to be even more exciting!
What happens at hatch time? Days before the first hole or pip is made, the chick inside the egg, turns its head to the large end. There is an air space there. The chick pierces the internal membrane. This is known as the internal pip. The chick can now use its lungs to breathe, and hatch has officially begun!
The chick has grown, an egg tooth, a hard tip at the end of the beak. It now scratches at the hard egg shell. When it has finally made a tiny hole, the external pip has been made and shows! Look carefully to see the pip I found last night. The adults can hear the chick too. Observe carefully and watch for the adults sitting still looking down at the nest. They are listening to the chick! If you look close, you might even see the adult's mouth moving slightly. They are talking back! Too bad Duke Farms has no sound with this live cam. They nest is just too far away to power that.
The chick continues to poke at the egg shell. It turns its body slighty to make the hole bigger, creating a crack. When this is big enough, the chick will push against the shell with its feet to force the shell open and crack it even more.
Look closely, can you see the little beak and egg tooth? It is pointing up!
The eagle chick needs to work hard to hatch from the shell. It can take a long time. I wonder if we will see a chick today or tomorrow. Keep watching to find out!
It's good to be back! Talons crossed for a happy hatch and a great season!
A quick update on the Decorah eagles. Students followed this nest last year when the Duke Farms eggs did not hatch. Students remember that Dad Decorah went missing. He never did return, but Mom did with a new mate! She laid 3 eggs this year. One broke but the others are due to hatch soon. You can follow that nest here and compare the two nests!
Waiting for a hatch to progress can be a very slow process. From that tiny little hole first seen last night until this afternoon, you can see that hole is getting bigger. Hoping to see the first little one tomorrow!
With all the rolling this afternoon, the egg with the pip was turned around. I could no longer see the pip, but I am thinking it is still the egg on the left in this photo. That makes this spot on the other egg very interesting. Is there another pip or just dirt?
Bald Eagles Season 2017-18Posted by Diane Cook on 10/16/2017 11:00:00 AM
6/24/18 Good bye to this year's Decorah nest. It was an eventful year. With another nest failure at Duke Farms, we turned to the Decorah nest. We saw late season snowstorms cover the nest and adults. We laughed at their personalities, but always working together to care for the eggs and little ones. There was drama at this nest too when Dad disappeared soon after the last snowstorm. No one knows still what happened to him. Will he be back next season? Will the new male that joined Mom from a distance take his place? Time will tell. Mom did a most amazing job of caring and raising her 3 eaglets! She was a fierce protector and amazing fisher. I'll never forget the sight of her flying into the nest with a fish in the grasp of her talons on BOTH feet!
Enjoy some highlights from the action today.
Late this afternoon, the 3 eaglets showed up in the nest. It was almost as if they came to say good bye.
6/24/18 Looked at an empty nest for most of the day today. There were visits to the old nest and the "Y" branch on which Mom and Dad Decorah love to perch. This is the branch that looks over the stream below and the farm in the background. I heard constant noise from the D on the branch. Mom was above it in another branch. I thought it wanted a fish delivered to the "Y". Later the cam went in for a close look. I thought both eaglets were sitting there. Once I saw the close view, I knew the one was NOT one of this year's eaglets. That bird was a 2-3 year old bird. Look at how yellow the beak is, and can you see the white feathers growing on the head?
No worries. Mom was sitting nearby and chased off the visitor. She gave a couple warning cries, then flew down to chase it off.
6/23/18 Today was a busy day for the eagles. D30 has been flying since last week's accidental fledge. The other Ds joined their sibling in fledging flights. Sometime during the day, D29 took its first flight.
In the early evening hours D31 joined its siblings and took its first flight too.
6/21/18 Feeding time has become a very noisy event. The eaglets have learned to protect their food. Sharing and taking turns is a thing of the past too. Mom is not safe anymore either.
6/17/18 Wow, that didn't take long! Look who came back today just before noon.
6/16/18 Good morning eaglets! Surprise - only one spent the night in the nest. Two were up high on the sky walk. I wonder if it will go tonight?
As it became a bit lighter, it only took a few minutes for all 3 to get back into position up high on the branch.
I was in a class today at Duke Farms. Before I left I asked the 3 eaglets not to fledge while I was gone. I guess an accidental fledge doesn't really count as a fledge. This afternoon while flapping and hopping higher on the branch, it looks like the eaglet landed on its sibling, lost footing, and went down. This happened a couple years at Duke Farms too. The eaglet was doing jumping jacks and lost track of where it was, and went down when it landed too close to the edge. She spent a couple days on a lower branch and eventually flew back up to the nest. Fingers crossed for this young eagle.
6/15/18 Wow, once that eaglet went out of the nest, it was not coming down. Looks like it spent the night alone out on the sky walk!
Mom came in with a fish. Lots of noise and fish stealing going on here!
It didn't take long for all 3 eaglets to get out onto the sky walk today. They hung out there for most of the day today, unless Mom came in with a fish.
This is a nice video showing all three.
When a fish was delivered, it was a race - who would get down first. Would one finally fly back to the nest for a fish? Nope, they hopped and walked back down in order.
6/14/18 And it has happened! The eaglets have made it out to the sky walk branch! At least 2 of them have. I can't tell the difference between them anymore. One is bigger than the other (thinking female) but I don't know who it is. It was so exciting to watch. It went out early in the day and stayed there most of it. At one point in the afternoon another joined it low on the branch.
Partners checking out the view. It's along way down!
By late afternoon, the eaglet had gone to the top of the sky walk.
While 2nd grade was in the lab, the eaglet came down from the sky walk. There was a lot of wing flapping and noise as 2 of them had a disagreement about something. Not sure what started it. It didn't last long, but we were glued to the screen.
There's lots of action and noise when Mom flies in with a fish!
6/10/18 It has begun - the next stage of development is happening in the nest. The young eagles are beginning to branch! It starts with baby steps. They are beginning to hop up to a branch and then jump (fly) and flap back down to the nest. It is excited to watch. It won't be long until they follow Mom's lead out to the sky walk branch.
6/8/18 No matter the weather, when you need to wingersize you do it. Watch this early morning workout in the rain. They were quite active today.
Now if you were an eagle, you'd have to learn how to eat quickly before anyone tries to steal away your food. Sometimes that means you swallow it whole!
6/3/18 This video shows some serious wingersizing going on. They sure do get close to the edge! Later Mom comes home and gives the eaglets a lesson on cleaning up the nest. Branch placement is important!
I remember when they were just a day or two old, the bonking. Seems so long ago but really it was just 9 weeks! This video is just too sweet.
6/1/18 How about an early morning view of life in the nest? Mom comes in with a fish for breakfast. Notice how one of the eaglets takes it and she flies to the sky walk? One eaglet grabs the fish right away and claims it for itself. Those wings up, hiding the fish while eating is called mantling. One of the others comes in to steal a few bites. Perfectly appropriate eagle eating manners, and needed for survival out in the world! Mom flies off and comes back with another fish too. Listen to the eaglets "squeeing" - feed me, stay away from my fish, Mom bring more.
This is a great video showing those talons! Check it out!
5/28/18 Hello everyone! Eaglets continue to learn how to be a grown up eagle. Today we saw protecting your food from others who want to steal it. This is called mantling. Watch for the wings to go up to protect the fish Mom brought into the nest.
A windy day is just the right kind of day for wingersizing. It must feel good to get some air under those wings. A good gust helps the eaglets get some lift.
How about a good look back? This video begins 7 weeks ago when the chicks first hatched. Then move forward in time 7 weeks. See the eaglets wingersizing.
5/21/18 It is amazing to see just how fast the eaglets grow. With Decorah hatching in early spring, as usual, and now Decorah North just hatching, we have an opportunity to see both sets of young 7 weeks apart in age.
Decorah North just days old
Decorah 7 weeks old - thankfully at 7 weeks old, those feathers are weather proof. You still get wet when the rain is steady all day.
The Decorah eaglets sit out the rain with a visit from Mom.
Even when you are 7 weeks old, you still want to hide under Mom to stay dry in the rain.
Now time for some amusing videos from Decorah.
Mom delivers a big fish for breakfast. Watch the way the eaglets spot and track her as she flies into the nest. Time for a little tug of war before feeding begins. For all the bonking that happened early in their life, mealtime is much more peaceful these days. Good eagle manners. Be sure your volume is turned up to hear the eaglets "squeeing".
Digging around in the nest, D29 finds a fish tail left over from breakfast. They all seem to take turns with it.
Just another rainy day in Decorah
5/20/18 Welcome to the world DN8! This video shows the arrival - from pip to hatch!
The Decorah North nest is on private property in a cow pasture. Can you see the cows? You can hear them on the live cam sometimes too.
DN7 gets a bite to eat. DN8 works on that shell and hatching out of it.
DN8 continues to work on that shell.
5/19/18 Hello DN7. Cuteness overload! Look at the size difference between DN7 and Mom's foot - wow!
Here is a video of DN7 enjoying a meal.
When you are the first eaglet to hatch in the nest, you have no playmates. What to do? You play with Mom's feathers of course!
5/18/18 After what seems like forever, Decorah North's first egg has hatched this morning! Happy day for eagle lovers. Great to see after a failed first egg, she laid 2 more just a short time later.
Waiting and still no hatch early this morning.
Finally a hatch - Welcome DN7!
5/17/18 Hello Eagle Watchers! How about an early morning video of life in the nest. Mom and UME talk to each other. Eaglets cuddle and say good morning to each other with wing stretches and beak kisses.
There is another nest in Decorah too. This one is called Decorah North because it is north of the town of Decorah. This pair had a difficult time during egg laying time, like Duke Farms. She laid 1 egg the end of February but it failed in early March. To everyone's surprise, she laid again in April. There are 2 eggs! Hatch watch has begun a couple days ahead of schedule. The pip appeared yesterday. This is what I found early today.
It is another hot day in Decorah today, with highs in the 80s. The eaglets were looking for some shade and trying to keep cool. Look at those talons!
Mom flew back to the nest for some time with her eaglets. Wow, they sure have grown! They are about 90% grown at 6 weeks. They are catching Mom.
Back at Decorah North for a check on hatching progress. That chick is almost out.
Now that is some nest!
Back to Decorah just in time for dinner. That nest sure is crowded with 3, almost full grown, eaglets and one big Mom.
5/16/18 This is the week of milestones for the eaglets in Decorah. Mom is no longer spending the night sleeping in the nest with her brood. She is up on the skywalk branch. The eaglets are old enough now, and can regulate their own body tempertures with those beautiful new feathers. This is yet another lesson Mom needs to teach her youngsters. Bald Eagles do not roost in a nest. Besides, can you imagine how crowded that nest is now with 4 eagles in it? The nest is only used during the breeding season. Eagles roost on a branch of a tree. They grip the branch with their talons, and when they do, the muscles in their legs lock into place. They can't fall off. When they are ready to fly again, they relax their toes, the muscles unlock, and off the go. This is a view early this morning.
Early morning fish for breakfast. Mom brings in a fish and UME flies to the skywalk branch.
Mom flies in again, but this with 2 fish - one in each set of talons! She is amazing. UME is at the top of the skywalk branch too.
Do eagles get the hiccups? It doesn't happen often, but yes they can get them. D30 has a case of hiccups this afternoon.
Hot day in Decorah today. After Mom brings a fish to snack on, she puts up that Mombrella to give the kiddos more shade. Panting is really the only way they can cool off. Of course, Mom can fly to the stream for a drink also. Standing in a cool stream must feel good too.
5/15/18 Good morning eagle watchers! How about a video that shows amazing closeups of Mom! Wonder Mom raising 3 eaglets on her own.
The next stage of development for the eaglets is finally being able to self-feed. They are big enough, and their leg and neck muscles are getting strong. They are learning how to use their talons to hold onto fish. Watch D29 go to work on the fish tail.
5/14/18 The eaglets sure are growing up fast! This video captures amazing closeups of those faces and talons! Remember the size of those talons from the photos I showed you from banding my the eaglets in my nest. At the end of the video, Mom takes a hop and short flight to the skywalk branch. This is another teaching moment. She is showing the eaglets how to do it. It won't be long before one of them gives it a try.
5/12/18 A visitor to and fan of the Decorah nest took a video of Mom and UME flying together, and chasing away another eagle. Who is that 3rd eagle? Mom seems to welcome UME's help in keeping other eagles out of her territory.
5/11/18 Eagles are protected birds. It is against the law to get close to and bother them. When I monitor the nest for the state, I need to stay a "safe" distance away. I know what that distance is from the behavior the eagles show. If they ignore me, I'm good. It is only during banding, with the scientists, am I allowed near the nest and the birds.
I did not get to watch the Decorah nest much today. I was with the biologists at the nest I help to monitor. It was banding day of the 2 eaglets in that nest. I was invited to attend again this year. We had a beautiful day for the event. The banding photos were taken by me. They cannot be used again without permission. Thank you for respecting the property of others.
Beautiful day on the river.
When we arrived, Mom began flying over our heads. She was joined by a red-tailed hawk (they nest nearby) and a juvenile (about 3 years old from the plumage) bald eagle.
Dad hears Mom's calls and flies in from a fishing trip. Look carefully to see the fish in his talons. I've seen this happen more than once in the 4 years we've been banding this nest.
Mom flies to the top of the tower and lands on her perch. She keeps a close watch on us.
She gives a cry and flies off the tower as the climbers begin their trip up to the nest.
She flies off and circles overhead. Dad flies in to help, fish still in his talons.
At the top, the men take photos of the chicks, and then prepares them for the trip to the ground. The adults circle but do not attack. They cry out and watch. One at a time, a hood is placed over the eaglet's head. This keeps them calm. Talons are also wrapped to avoid hurting us or itself. It is then placed in a bag and slowly lower to the ground to the waiting biologist and vet.
Measurements are taken and recorded.
Bands are put on the legs. Silver is a federal band - this bird comes from the USA.
Green band tells anyone who sees it that this is a NJ bird.
The volunteers who help to monitor the nest and give information to the scientists, get the chance to hold an eaglet. This is me with D66.
D66 goes back up to the nest, and the second eaglet is given the same treatment.
The eagles are placed back in the nest. Fish are left in the nest too. Mom and Dad were not able to hunt or fish while we were there. They were too busy watching us! The fish is a nice gift to help them get settled after we leave. It works every time!
Mom and Dad talk about the morning's events. What do you think they said?
Mom flies back to her perch above the nest. Life goes back to normal for the eagle family.
Back in Decorah - The morning was another wet one in Decorah. Mom goes out and brings back fish for breakfast.
I did catch a very interesting video at Decorah today. Mom in on the nest and UME flies in, and sits on the "skywalk" branch. She flies off. We don't know how far she went, but I'm sure she was keeping both eyes on him. She allowed him to babysit for a long time! Interesting turn of events.
5/10/18 Everything Mom does teaches the eaglets something they will need to know to survive on their own. She brought a small fish up to the nest and ate the thing whole. Do you notice which end goes in her mouth first? She is showing them how to swallow a fish.
Here are some great videos from the action filled day today.
Mom brings a very jumpy fish into the nest. Watch what happens. Watch to the end to see Mom's reaction.
It is a quiet day but the weather forecast says more rain is on the way. Mom brings in some nest material and look who flies in right behind her. UME is still hanging around. Mom still will not let him near the eaglets. They are not his and she will raise them on her own. She does hang out with him though on her favorite Maple tree, and have been seen flying together.
5/9/18 Thunder storms are rolling through the early morning in Decorah today. I could hear thunder and saw the flashes of lightening too. Poor wet eagles yet again!
Thankfully the sun came out and everyone dried out. Mom is still taking care of everyone on her own. She is quite a fisherman, or is that fisherwoman. No wait, we should say Fishereagle! Mom flew in this afternoon with 2 fish! She's amazing. She did it more than once today too.
Watch a video of another of her double catches today.
Watch this video for a nice tour of the nest area. Watch for a view of the nest. This thing is huge!
5/8/18 The rain has left Decorah this week, and the sun is out and shining strong. The nest is built in a cottonwood tree. These trees are one of the last to leaf out in spring. Mom spends less time on the nest these days. The eaglets are old enough now to spend lots of time on their own. They sleep, try out those new wings and take wobbley steps across the nest on wobbley feet and legs. Mom keeps an eye on things from her favorite Maple tree perch. She also brings fish, though not as often as she did when they were little.
D29 does some stick rearranging, just like Dad used to do.
Stretching those new wings!
Time for a lesson on eagle anatomy. Take a look at that tongue! there are 2 very interesting features on it. Can you spot the hole towards the back of the tongue? That is called the glottis and is the opening to the respiratory system (breathing). It closes when food is swallowed.
Now look at this shot. Just in front of the glottis you should see 2 black spots. They are raised and hooked. These barbs keep food moving back to throat and are called “rear-directed papillae”.
Mom's back and time for a late afternoon nap with the kiddos.
These eaglets love hanging over the edge of the nest. Thankfully they are not as close to the edge as it looks.
Nice new feathers!
The eaglets eyesight is getting really good now, and they can recognize Mom. All heads went up and they tracked her flying into the nest.
Mom brings in 2 fish - one in each foot!
D31 eats first this time!
Mom sees or hears something that gets her attention.
5/4/18 More rain in Decorah and a first look at very wet eagles! I sure do hope it dries out today. This family needs a break.
With all the rain that fell the past few days, the stream is running high and fast! It makes fishing hard. Good thing Mom can fish at the hatchery too. This is the old nest the eagles used to use. Can you see the squirrel?
It turned out to be a nice sunny day. The eaglets all had a chance to dry out. Look who is up on legs and taking first steps - D29!
5/3/18 What a foggy morning today! Some wet baby eagles too. Decorah has been having some very wet weather this week. This is when I wish the eagles had a roof over their heads.
Mom had her wings up. Not sure what was going on. Was she protecting the little ones from something we couldn't see? Was she giving them some shade from the morning sun that finally burned through the fog? Did she have her wings out in the sun to dry off from the rain and storms the night before? I believe she was drying out.
What beautiful wings you have Mom!
Mom sitting in her favorite tree, drying out in the sun.
The eaglets spent a sunny afternoon sleeping in the sun. They had the chance to dry out before more rain comes tonight. A tree branch can make a good pillow when you are an eaglet.
Mom sits on the nest and gives the eaglets some shade from the hot afternoon sun. She was telling UME not to get too close to the nest.
Oh no, not more rain! Those eaglets don't quite fit under Mom anymore.
The rain begins again! Poor eagles.
5/2/18 It was another rainy night and morning in Decorah again. The cam operator gave us some awesome close shots of the eaglets today.
Eaglet feet turning yellow and nice view of those talons!
D31 showing lots of the white, natal down feathers.
Mom doing a great job of lookout without Dad. Can you guess who she sees?
Mom will sit with UME, but she is still not allowing him close to the nest and eaglets.
Look at those tail feathers growing!
5/1/18 Get ready for some stormy weather in Decorah. The eaglets' feathers are not yet waterproof. Mom will need to put up her Mombrella. With eaglets at least 12 inches tall, she sure could use some help from Dad. Missing him tonight. At least the temperatures are warm.
4/30/18 Last day of April today! Wow, did this month go fast. It must be because of all the action and keeping up with events in Decorah. The eaglets are now 4 weeks old. We are beginning to see them reaching and grasping objects in the nest - sticks, bones, fur. They are able to follow and track Mom's movements around the nest, as well as other birds. Feet and eyes are nearly full size and developed. They know Mom's calls of alarm and know when to lay low. Pin feathers are growing quickly. Enjoy some close shots of the eaglets.
Looks at those feet and talons.
Adult feathers growing.
Standing on those legs and feet!
It sure was a windy afternoon yesterday. Mom was facing the wrong when a big gust came up. It almost blew her off. It happened more than once too.
4/29/18 It was a busy day of gardening today, but I did check in on the nest now and then. UME has been sitting near Mom on the maple tree. This tree is where she sits to scout out the fish and keep an eye on the nest. They have been seen flying together and sitting near each other in the Maple tree. A 3rd eagle has been seen in the area, circling high above. UME seems to be helping Mom and acting as a "lookout". No, RRP does not think the 3rd eagle is Dad. Behavior does not support that.
Mom has been a fishing machine today. Those babies are well fed for sure!
Another sunny afternoon. Mom is sitting with the kids. D29 must have been hungry and wanted Mom to feed. Watch as D29 bites Mom's beak. The rest of the RRP video shows some amazing closeups of Mom. She's a beautiful bird.
4/28/18 Day began as usual, eaglets full and content on the nest. Mom was nearby keeping watch. Look at the new feathers growing!
Afternnon brought another close encounter with UME. Again, Mom gave him a stern warning that he was just TOO close to her babies. The eaglets lay low.
Watch RRP's video of the event. Looks like she feels comfortable enough with UME as long as he keeps his distance. She does not chase him, but lets him know he is NOT to get any closer.
4/27/18 By the end of another full day of nest watching, the folks at RRP posted a video tribute to Dad Decorah. The live cam gives us a unique glimpse into the lives of Bald Eagles. We get used to seeing "our" eagles and are not prepared for what happens out in nature when it happens. Dad's disappearance was sudden and without warning. It is a shock to all cam watchers. Here's to many years of watching Dad Decorah!
4/27/18 The eaglets continue to grow. They are not yet walking straight up but are moving around the nest quite well. The rapid growth period is now over for all three. Now their bodies will slowly catch up to those feet, and their adult feathers will begin to show even more.
Well it is now over 1 week since Dad Decorah has gone missing. The folks at RRP have called off the official search, though they are all still keeping an eye out for him. UME continues to hang around the nest. He is getting closer but Mom will still not allow him near the chicks.
UME on the skywalk branch (above the nest).
Mom giving him the warning to stay away from the nest.
He flew a bit too close, and Mom was NOT happy! Look how close the little ones stay to Mom.
I thought he was going to land in the nest, but Mom had other plans!
He landed again on the skywalk branch, and she voiced her displeasure.
RRP has a video of the entire thing.
Here are a couple beautiful closeups of Mom.
Ever watchful these days.
4/26/18 Hello eagle watchers. Let's do an age check of the eaglets.
D29 - 24 days
D30 - 23 days
D31 - 21 days
Eaglets are aged by days rather than weeks at this stage of life.
Today was a great day for Robert Hunter Kindergarten eagle observers. While we were watching, we saw Mom fly over one of the hatchery ponds, catch a fish, and then fly into the nest and begin feeding the chicks! We all cheered for Mom the awesome fisherwoman! You can watch the video here.
The day was a day for many close ups of the eaglets. We got really good looks of clown feet and pin feathers. "A" said their feet look like him when he walks around in Dad's shoes. We shared that on the Classroom Chat. Everyone got a chuckle.
Pin feathers are the beginnings of the new adult feathers growing. They are very dark and they are growing fast!
D31's close up is next. Look carefully. Is that a fly stuck in the natal down still covering D31's head?
4/25/18 Checked in on the eagles when I got up today. Mom was up and yelling already! I'll bet that UME is nearby. Her cries must have awaken one of the chicks too, or perhaps D29 is going to help Mom.
Danger is gone, so Mom tucks in her head to get some sleep. The "kids" were up early though. "Shhhh, Mom's sleeping!"
All was quiet again as the sun rose in Decorah.
It didn't take, but early this morning began where it ended last night. UME was back on the skywalk branch.
Lots of yelling again. After a couple minutes, Mom had enough of him and chased him off the branch. RRP posted a video of it again.
Second grade had just logged into computers and sat to observe for a couple minutes. We watched as Mom flew in with not one but TWO fish - one in each talon! Yup, she will take care of these chicks just fine!
RRP caught Mom's flyin and the feeding on video. Remember if you don't want to watch, stop and turn it off.
It sure does get sunny in the nest when afternoon rolls around. After being alone for a good stretch of time, Mom has been coming back to put up her shade umbrella.
You know those little ones are hot, when they don't want to move out of Mom's shade to be fed. Silly eaglets!
4/24/18 Up bright and early this morning, Mom is busy giving that other eagle a warning to stay away. If Dad doesn't come home, she can raise these chicks by herself, thank you very much.
The cam came in for a close look at D29 this morning. Those little dark spots are the pin feathers - the beginnings of the adult feathers growing! These chicks sure do grow fast.
Pretty Mom in the bright afternoon sun.
In the late afternoon, Mom is once again giving warning to stay away! She is protective of her babies. What a good Mom.
How about a funny video of the eaglets playing. D31 decides to pick on D30 and THEN D29! D31 quickly decides that was not a good idea and lays down. No harm. The big ball in the necks of the eaglets is the crop. Remember the crop is a pouch where extra food can be stored when the stomach is full. Those are some well fed babies!
It was about time to turn off the computer and settle in for the night when I heard wings flapping and lots of eagle cries. I looked over at my computer to see UME sitting on the "skywalk" branch right above the nest. Mom was not happy, but she did not chase him away. The experts are still not sure what is going on with him. We watch and wait. He hung out for about 7 minutes.
While all the yelling was going on, all 3 chicks laid low in the nest. Not sure if they did this because of the alarms from Mom, or they were just sleeping. Ospreys do this. When danger is near, the adults fly off the nest yelling to the chicks. They lay low playing dead, while the adults fly to chase away the danger.
RRP posted a video of the close encounter.
He finally flew away, but Mom remained on alert for some time. I hope she got some sleep!
4/23/18 Another day at Decorah without Dad. It is sad not to see him around, but Mom is being Super Mom! She's guard, fisherwoman, and provider of shade.
The 3 chicks are very active in the cool morning.
Then Mom comes home and it's snack time!
Mom has the sun umbrella up. It's a hot afternoon in Decorah.
Is that pesky unidentified male nearby. Mom and the little ones look alert.
When the eaglets are napping, the cam zooms in for a closeup. Eaglet hugs!
Now for a great view of that nest. That's many years of adding sticks to the original nest.
4/22/18 No news of Dad from RRP. Mom continues to do it all. The weather has been good, thankfully! When she needs more food, there is plenty of fish in the river below the nest and at the hatchery. She flies in with a fresh fish in this video.
The unidentified male eagle is still hanging around. He is getting bolder too, coming closer to the nest. Mom is not happy. One of the volunteers said that when Mom is crying and calling frantically, it is because he is around. The folks on the ground could see what we, watching the cam could not. She is letting him know to stay away from her little ones.
Unidentified Male Eagle perches on a branch near the nest. This is one of the branches Mom regularly perches on too.
Mom was not happy that he was so close!
He actually flew off the branch and right over Mom's head.
Mom was not happy and protested loudly!
The cam was zoomed in close, but we could also see his path. His shadow crossed over the nest.
Watch the video of the UME flying over the nest and Mom's head.
4/21/18 The folks at RRP and many volunteers from Decorah spent Saturday in a search to find Dad. When I first checked on Mom she was still alone. Throughout the day Mom calls out. No Dad. She continues to feed the little ones. She is doing it all. So far so good, but Dad is still missing.
Mom is doing a great job of protecting her nest and caring for the little ones. There is another male eagle who has been hanging around the nest. Sometimes a bit too close for Mom's liking.
When Mom is away (she's never far and still watches over the nest), it looks like D29 is in charge of babysitting.
The eaglets are growing. Look at those clown feet!
4/20/18 Began the day with Mom calling out on the nest. She seemed upset or on alert. Chat moderators said that it is bald eagle migration time in Decorah. They see many bald eagles flying through the area. Is Mom protecting her territory. Funny but Dad was missing. Is he out on territory patrol, keeping those migrating eagles away?
This continued for over an hour. Then she stood up, threw her head back, and gave out the loudest cry of all. The cam operators panned and found an Osprey (another kind of bird of prey - they eat ONLY fish) on a nearby tree. Is this what has Mom so upset?
The afternoon rolled around and it turned out to be a beautiful day in Decorah. Mom continue to sit with the kids and look/call for Dad. Still a no show. That sun must have been warm. After sitting for a while in full sun, the eaglets looked for shade from Mom.
Mom calls and D29 pants to keep cool. This eaglet is growing and almost too big to find shelter from the sun under Mom.
D29 stretches. Look at that foot! They are about 1 foot tall now.
D29 finds a spot close to the rails of the nest. D30 stays close to Mom's shadow. D31 is still small enough to fit under Mom.
Even though she is the only adult to be seen all day, Mom still leaves the eaglets for short periods of time. She may perch nearby on one of the branches, scanning for Dad. She may fly out to the river or pond to get some food for herself. She is never too far from her little ones.
Plenty of food can still be found in the nest. Many fish are covered by fresh grasses. Dad dropped of lots of prey before he took off. Mom continues to feed and by the size of the eaglets' crops and bodies, they are growing just fine.
Whether in human life or the eagle world, life continues. Mom continues to hold down the fort alone. No sign of Dad. There has been a male eagle nearby but the folks at RRP do not believe it to be Dad. While Mom is tolerant of him, he is not behaving as Dad should. He is not bringing in prey, giving Mom a break in the nest, or feeding. Still no answers.
She spends her time between the nest and on nearby perches. She also contines to call.
When Mom is gone, it looks as if D29 is left in charge.
Even once the sunsets and night falls at Decorah, Mom is ever watching. We will watch and wait with her. What will morning bring?
4/18/18 Dad comes home and Mom begins her teakettle whistling again. He ignored her and they both did some early morning feeding together. All 3 chicks got some good bites.
Second grade came to lab just as the snow began again in Iowa. Look carefully, you can see it on the fish in front of Mom.
The live cam went back on as the students were leaving. The comments I heard were, "Wow, when we came in it was just starting to snow. Now the nest is covered!" and "I feel sad for the eagles."
The camera operators gave us a look at the geese and ducks swimming in one of the ponds at the hatchery.
Snowy view of the farm.
Wow, that is one big nest!
Funny video of Mom and Dad brooding together. Whether she wants his help or not, Dad helps Mom.
4/17/18 Finally the temperture rises in Decorah, and the sun is shining! With the change in weather, and their downy feathers growing, we get to see more of the eaglets.
Dad has babysitting duty this morning. D29 is outside the nest cup getting some sun and fresh air.
We also got a great view of those clown feet. The talons have changed too. They are no longer clear, but have turned a darker color. Soon they will be black like the adults. The feet, too, are beginning to show a hint of orange rather than that baby pink color.
Chicks are having a look around.
Later in the afternoon, Mom is on the nest, but not brooding (sitting on the chicks). Another sign they are growing and the weather is improving!
4/16/18 Mom was busy trying to serve breakfast from a frozen fish, when Dad came home. Listen for Mom's teakettle whistle. Dad received the message and did not join in the feed. Instead he did some housekeeping, fluffing the grass in the nest. After she leaves, Dad tries to cover his growing brood. It gets harder to do every day. Enjoy breakfast with this video from Raptor Resource.
The tempertures stayed cold most of the day in Decorah. Mom and Dad kept the nestlings under cover most of the day. D29 and D30 are growing fast. D31, the youngest will catch up. D29 is very curious about the world and just can't stay hidden for long. Raptor Resource posted this video.
4/15/18 The weather didn't let up today. An icy snow pelted the eagles all day. The wind was so bad, I was afraid someone would get swept away. Little ones stayed hidden under their parents. Feedings were quick, often done by both adults at the same time. It was tough getting bite sized portions from a frozen fish. They even brooded together at times too. Rough day out there. Hope the weather turns soon. Raptor Resource posted a video of the feeding of frozen fish.
Dad flies in to help.
Working together for a quick feed during the storm. It is a balance the eagles need to reach - feeding hungry chicks AND keeping them warm and dry during a storm.
Dad tries to keep everyone under covers.
Dad against the storm.
This storm was so bad and the wind so strong, both adults were needed on the nest.
4/14/18 Looks like the eagles are in for another rough day in Iowa. The morning started out cold, and it went downhill fast. Wicked winds and an icy snow falling all day!
The nestlings will need those new down feathers to help keep them warm today.
Icy snow falling on Mom.
Mom keeps everyone covered and protected from the wind. Look at all that fish! What you don't eat, can be used as a wind blocker.
Dad brings in yet another fish!
Raptor Resource posted a video of the storm. Both Mom and Dad are on the nest to protect those nestlings from the wicked wind. Listen to it blow!
4/13/18 It was a nasty day in Decorah today. Rain and wind. Dad flies in with a fresh fish - white sucker. You can hear Mom whistling again. Despite the weather, those little ones want to eat. Both Mom and Dad feed them together before the really bad rain hits. Both adults remain on the nest through the storm. It must be easier to weather a storm sitting on a nest, rather than perched on a branch. Raptor Resource Project shared a video showing both adults during the storm.
Those are some wet eagles!
Here's another video of Mom and Dad in the nest as a thunder storm rolls in. Dad is brooding. Mom flies in with a fish, and begins to eat. Usually the adults eat while perched on a branch. Perhaps with the storm approaching she thought it would be easier to take her meal in the nest. Watch the sky carefully. You can see the lightening.
4/12/18 Good morning eagle watchers! How about a cute video from the folks at Raptor Resource Project of D29 playing peek-a-boo? Enjoy!
4/11/18 Good day everyone! It was a quiet morning in Decorah. With temperatures finally above freezing, the little ones are able to be seen more often. That white, fluffy natal down is slowly disappearing. You can begin to see the gray down feathers growing. This will help the chicks to stay warm on their own.
Look very closely at the side of D29's head just below the eye. Can you see that dark circle? It looks like a hole. Can you guess what it is? You have 2 of these yourself. We don't see them on the adults because the feathers are covering them. That's an ear!
In the afternoon Mom took a break and flew off the nest.
The chicks were not alone for long. Dad flew in to take his turn on the nest. D29 decided it was time to crawl out of the nest bowl and enjoy the sunny afternoon.
What a nice place for a nap. Look! We get our first look at "clown feet"! The fastest parts of a chick's body to grow are the feet and beak!
Up from a nap, D29 walks over to Dad.
After a while the clouds rolled back in and the wind picked up. D29 joined the others back in the nest bowl.
Raptor Resource posted a video of D29's escape from the nest bowl.
4/10/18 Hello eagle watchers! We're having a fun day observing today. Mom was doing her job, brooding her young nestlings.
We followed her gaze as something caught her attention. What or who could it be?
Surprise! It's just Dad, but she is not happy to see him. She didn't ask for his help. He should be out doing his job - hunting/fishing or standing at lookout.
So far this season I have seen Dad's stubborn side when he does not want to leave the nest. This time it is Mom. I hope the folks at Raptor Resource post a video of this one. 2nd graders and I watched and listened to Mom trying to tell Dad to go away. She sounded like a teakettle whistling.
I guess with all the noise from Mom, that woke up the chicks. They didn't care who was there, they just wanted someone to feed them.
Mom continue to yell at Dad. Even when she was in his face, he just turned and looked away. He would not leave.
He reached down for some fish to feed the kiddos. She continued with her whistling to chase him away.
Finally they settled on both feeding their hungry brood.
Raptor Resource Project did post a video of the the noisy exchange. Enjoy!
Things got quiet for a while. Mom took a break and Dad got to do some more brooding. He took a nap as well.
Naptime did not last for long. There were 3 little ones who had other ideas.
He settled them back down, when someone came home.
Of course, she wants her job back, and she begins her whistling again. Dad is his old stubborn self and will not move. Raptor Resource posted a video for part of this exhange too. Click to watch the VIDEO. Don't forget to come back here when you are done watching.
Then the litte ones speak up. Will Dad move?
No! So Mom begins to get lunch ready herself.
Mom enjoys a bite or two herself. Still, Dad will not budge!
Closer she gets. More still he sits.
Finally Mom gets mad and leaves the nest. She flies to the lookout, for a short look around before flying off.
She doesn't stay away for long. Soon she is back and begins to do some rearranging in the nest. He ignores her.
I think his face says it all, but still he sits.
Finally she, or hungry chicks win! Dad gives up his spot.
He flies off. Mom moves in and feeds her hungry brood. She then settles them down for some quiet afternoon time.
4/9/18 It looks like another snowy morning in Decorah today! It was cold again in New Jersey for April, but thankfully no snow.
Dad was brooding, when I could hear Mom calling from nearby.
It wasn't long before she flew into the nest. She had talons full of new grass. That is just one of the ways the eagles get rid of snow in the nest.
He finally gave up his spot to her. Those chicks are getting big! Friday I learned, from the folks at Raptor Resource that when they first hatch, the little ones are known as "hatchlings". When they become 1 week old, they are called "nestlings". I guess D29 is now old enough to be called a nestling!
Dad was sitting on the nest, when we heard an eagle call. A couple seconds later we heard wings flapping and in flew Mom. She had something in her talons but it was hard to identify.
Dad took off and flew to the branch above the nest.
The hatchlings are a little over 1 week old now - D29 is 8 days, D30 7 days, and D31 5 days old. Their eyesight is now getting better. They are able to see more than shadows now, and can focus on Mom and Dad's big, yellow beak.
Mom feeds D30.
D30 got a good and quiet feeding. Then guess who finally wakes up? Yup, that's D29 standing up and looking around to see what is being missed.
This week the little ones are 1-1 1/2 weeks old. The fluffy white down will be replaced by thermal down by age 9-11 days old. These new feathers will keep them warm. It will look gray in color and be more wooly in texture.
With their thermal down feathers, we should see them moving about the nest a bit more. Already today, I've observed D29 peeking out from under Mom.
You can tell they are growing. The chicks are less wobbly on their feet. With the improved eyesight, they sit patiently following Mom as she moves around the nest getting more food. There also seems to be less bonking going on. Each feeding I observed today, I've seen all 3 waiting patiently for their turn to eat. Mom was good about feeding each one a bite, one after another.
When they stand up, it is easy to tell who is who. D29 is getting really strong, tall, and you can see the gray down feathers covering that body.
No bonking today, but D29 does keep an eye on the situation.
Lots of peek-a-boo going on today in the nest. It was another chilly day, but those curious chicks just need to take a look around. Their eyesight is improving as they age, so I'm sure they want to have a good look around.
This afternoon the chicks were left alone for a very short time when the adults exchanged brooding duty. Look how tiny they look in the nest! Look carefully, can you see Dad coming into the nest? Look just passed the nest, next to the thick "y" shaped branch.
Can you see him now? His wings are really flat and stretched out.
They were not alone for long. Here is a great landing by Dad.
Later in the day, both Mom and Dad were in the nest for a double feeding. It was another peaceful event. I think those little ones have learned there is plenty of food here for everyone.
4/5/18 Well it is a good morning! Welcome to D31. The last chick hatched sometime overnight. When I tuned in first thing this morning, I rewound the live cam to catch Mom up. The chicks were restless, and as she tucked everyone back under her, I saw the egg shell empty.
Later, unable to keep them quiet, she stood up again. That is when I got my first look at D31.
I hope D31 is a tough chick. It will have to be to keep up with the oldest chick, D29. There has been lots of bonking happening between D29 and D30. Most times, it is D29 who starts, but I have seen D30 begin its fair share of battles also. At this stage of life, battles are, in part, driven by food. Each chick wants to eat first. All birds establish a "pecking order". Watch birds at a bird feeder sometime and you will see it. The strongest will eat first, sometimes driving away the others. This also happens in the eagle nest. Mom and Dad do their best at keeping everyone well fed. That doesn't always stop the battles from happening. Battles also happen because eagle chicks are made to do it. The strongest gets fed. The strongest will survive.
D29 keeping its siblings down.
Look out D31!
RH K and 1st grade students enjoyed seeing all the chicks up and eating today. It was a noisy class, but seeing though chicks made everyone feel better about the news of the Duke Farms eggs.
Students got a good look at the chicks compared to Mom. The folks at Raptor Resource Project said at this age, the chicks weigh about 3 onces. Robins and Mourning Doves weigh about the same.
Mom is so patient and gentle as she offers food to her babies.
Time for lunch! Will they eat or just wrestle? Will anyone else besides D29 get to eat?
Everyone is ready to eat!
D31 gets to eat too!
At this age, these white, fluffy down feathers are not enough to keep the chicks warm. They still need the heat from the bodies of the adults. It's hard to keep them covered up when all they want to do is eat. Mom tries her best.
4/4/18 Lots of action at Decorah this morning. It was a cold night and morning.
Mom comes in for an exchange, but Dad doesn't want to move. I've seen lots of that this season. They do have their opinions.
Mom won and sits to keep everyone warm in the nest.
Dad took his place on the lookout branch. The horses are already out in the snow too.
The adults must be holding off feeding to limit exposure to the cold. D31 has a nice pip going. It was first noticed late last night. D29 and D30 are hungry. Hungry chicks make for lots of bonking. That white spot on the tip of the beak is the egg tooth. It will be gone in a few days.
They won't even stop when Mom offers food. She gives up and comes in to cover them up again. Before she does, we get an awesome look at D31 inside the shell. Look carefully to see the little beak with the egg tooth on the end.
Mom gives a call out to Dad before she flies off the nest. She is only gone less than a minute, but we get a nice view of the nest. Those little ones look so small in that big nest.
The afternoon brings about another round of wrestling. These two are fiesty little chicks. They do manage to get something to eat also.
4/3/18 After a good night's sleep, D30 is up and ready to be fed. Both chicks are hungry as feeding begins just before 8:30am. Look how tiny they are under Mom's wing!
With hatching only one day apart, it will be difficult to tell the difference between D29 and D30 as they grow.
At this early age, the folks at Raptor Resource tell us their eyesight is not very good. D29 was snapping at D30 when that wobbly head moved. As they get older, they will fight over food. The "bonking" sometimes gets rough and may be hard to watch. The adults do a good job of feeding together to avoid that behavior, even though it is normal and part of their development and learning experience.
In New Jersey, we had our snow yesterday. Decorah is getting theirs today. Eagles feathers are made to shed the snow and the number of them keep them warm. It is important to keep those chicks covered up and warm at this young age. Their bodies do not yet regulate their body temperature. They need help from the adults.
Dad in the Snow
Mom on the Nest
Sometimes they sit together.
The afternoon brought a great feeding session of both chicks by both adults. Feed them together so they don't bonk, and then get them covered up again to keep them warm.
Look at that little tongue!
When feeding time is over, the adults come in to cover the chicks again. Look at the size of that adult foot next to those chicks! They move very slowly and carefully to keep the chicks safe from those talons.
Dad had been brooding for a while this afternoon, and Mom wanted back on. He was not yet ready to give up his seat. Finally the chicks made him move. They wanted up and more to eat. Mom was ready and moved right in!
When you are little and an adult moves, you get knocked over with all that movement. Check out that little pink foot compared to Dad's. When the chicks hatch their wings are only about 2-3 inches long. They weigh about 3 onces which is just a little smaller than a robin.
D29 is getting all the fish. D30 sees something and reaches out to grab it, hoping for food. Sometimess it's just your sibling. This is life before your eagle eyesight is developed.
4/2/18 Checked in at Duke Farms this morning to find Mom and Dad on the branch of a nearby tree. They hung out together in the early morning snow. I wonder what Dad said to her?
He flew up to the branch to sit closer to her.
A few minutes later he flew to the other side of the branch. He jumped up and down a few times before he flew away, leaving her on the branch alone.
Today is chick and pip day at Decorah! Mom came in to sit and we got a great view!
D29 plays peek-a-boo.
D29 wants to be fed. Check out pip #2!
D29 was up and very active. I think it was hungry, but Mom was not interested in feeding just now. D29 grabs hold of Mom's feathers.
When the Duke Farms egg 1 opened with nothing in it on March 23rd and he was frantically searching for a chick, I thought about when Dad Decorah accidently tossed a chick from the nest. They posted the link to the video today after D29 grabbed hold of Mom's feathers. This has a happy ending when Mom comes home to save the day!
Click to view the video. Don't click on another or it will take you away from Mrs. Cook's Place.
Mom steps carefully with those sharp talons. D29 and Pip 2 are nearby.
At 7:33pm while feeding D29, D30 is seen for the first time. Very wobbly and tired from the hatch. D30 will need to rest before taking its first bite.
4/1/18 No April Fool's joke here, there is a hatch at Decorah! D29 hatched at 7:25 am today! I saw an egg roll and the empty eggshell and then a fuzzy head popped up.
Finally after a couple hours of rest, Mom gave D29 its first meal.
Fuzzy headed D29. (This is the 29th chick hatched at Decorah.) You can still see the egg tooth. Look carefully for the white tip at the end of the beak. This is what the chick uses to open the egg.
3/30/18 Hatch watch begins at Decorah. Dad is incubating and Mom comes in for a switch.
Dad perches on a nearby branch and does some stretching.
Check out those talons!
3/26/18 Since the Duke Farms nest has failed, we will, again, observe the Bald Eagles in the Decorah nest. They have a similar history as the Duke Farms eagles.
You can watch it here: Decorah Nest
Be sure you get permission from a trusted adult. This site has lots of good information about Decorah, but you can easily get lost. Explore with an adult.
Good news is that the female has laid 3 eggs again this year! They are due to hatch March 30th. These eagles built their nest near a fish hatchery - smart birds! Enjoy some screen shots from the live cam.
3/25/18 Mom and Dad both continue to incubate the egg even though it is lost. They will give up in time. Today I saw Mom sitting.
She got up and flew away early in the afternoon. Look at that wingspan!
Dad comes in and continue to incubate after checking out the egg.
3/24/18 Today is day 35 for the 2nd egg in the nest. Hopeful for that egg to hatch. Mom and Dad continue to do a great job of incubating this egg. I tune in to see Dad arriving for an incubation exchange.
Finally about 10 am we get a look at the egg when Mom gets up to turn it. There is a dark spot seen - is hatch happening?
Early afternoon we get a good look at the egg. The side that was showing something going on is facing down now.
A couple hours later, Mom sees something in the sky and she is not happy! She is looking around and calling out. She gets up and we see the egg. It looks covered in holes and cracks. This is not how I remember hatch eggs looking.
Mom is out of view on the cam. Movement of the grass tells us she flew off. Is she chasing someone? Will Dad come back to the nest? Just a few seconds later and Mom is back and very unhappy. She has a feather in her mouth and is yelling.
She is still tracking something.
She took off again to give to chase to whatever is upsetting her. A couple minutes later an eagle flies into the nest. Thinking it one of the adults, I wait to see who came home. Just then a stranger's face comes full view into the cam! WHO IS THIS?! This is a sub-adult. You can tell by the brown feathers in her head. One of the state biologists feels it is another female attempting to take the nest and Dad as her own. This eagle heads straight for the egg. No wonder Mom is upset! She is defending her nest and egg.
You can tell Mom is heading back to the nest from the sub-adult's posture. It is crouching low in a defensive way.
That foot is way too close to the egg!
In less than a minute and a flurry of feathers and out of focus wings and tails, Mom is back. She has chased off the other eagle. She walks back to her egg. Is it safe?
She sits to resume incubation, but is clearly still not happy. She calls out for Dad. He answers. While I could not see it on the live cam, my friend was at the river. She texted me asking who was on the nest. She is seeing an eagle at the river chasing a sub-adult. The eagle was Dad! He gave chase at record speed. She said she's never seen him fly as fast as he did today.
Close to 2 hours later, Dad returned to the nest.
There was an incubation exchange.
Dad gets a look at the egg, and so do we.
Almost an hour later, Mom returns for the night. During this nest exchange we get our first extreme close-up look of the egg. A chick can be seen, and the shell is an absolute mess. It is filled with cracks and just doesn't look like others I've seen. Photos are sent to the state biologists for feedback on what we are seeing. The cam stayed zoomed in on the egg and chick. The entire time I watched, I saw no movement. I sadly knew even before getting the answer from the biologists that this chick did not make it.
Most likely we will never know what cause this egg to fail. Did something happen days or weeks earlier? Did the scuffle with the sub-adult and a step on the egg do it? Watching the video over and over, it is just too hard to tell. With both eggs failing, was there something wrong with the shells? If Mom is older than thought, could her age be a factor? Remember she is unbanded so there is not much known about her, other than she was a full grown adult when she appeared in 2011. She was at least 5 years old. So she is at least 12 years old. Bald eagles can live to 20 years old or more in the wild. We have seen several younger eagles in the area again this nesting season. If she was stressed during egg production time, this could also have had an effect.
We do not have clear answers. It is sad for us watching this pair. The eagles will most likely not produce more eggs this year. It is just too late in the season. They will spend less and less time on the nest, but will continue to defend their territory. There is next year to think about.
3/23/18 We remain on hatch watch. I am seeing marks, but I do think they are nothing more than grass or shadows. I do think the process is starting though. Here is what has happened today. The cam was stuck overnight. Thankfully it was reset and all is working. I've seen Mom and Dad exchange egg sitting duty a couple times.
One exchange was when Mom brought in a delivery of new dry grass for the nest.
We saw an egg roll. The eggs do have marks, but is a pip there?
Just past 1 PM, Dad flew in with some new grass. He arranged it and Mom took to the sky. What a clear look at the eggs! If anything is happening to them, this exchange did not show it. Those eggs look clean and smooth as Dad walks to take his place.
Just before 2:15PM, Dad got up for an egg roll. The first thing I noticed was the piece of egg shell next to egg 2. WOW - how did this happen? Did we have a secret hatch?
As I continued to watch, I knew something wasn't right. The shell seemed to be stuck to Dad's foot. The shell was empty! I couldn't find the chick, and neither could Dad.
He finally shook it loose.
I watched as Dad continued with frantic search for the chick. He walked from one side of the nest to the other. You could see his mouth moving. I believe he was talking to his missing chick, waiting for it to answer, giving him a clue to its location.
He returned back to the center of the nest. You could see his distress and confusion, as mine was slowly replaced with the understanding of what had happened. My email to the state biologist confirmed what I suspected.
The egg had burst. There was no eagle chick inside. The egg was not a good egg for growing into an eaglet. It finally weakened and burst under Dad's weight.
It seemed like hours passed but it was only about 5 minutes. Dad settled back down on the remaining egg. That one still needed to be incubated. Even while sitting, he still looked around the nest and moved grass, looking for his missing chick.
Later that afternoon, Mom came in for her turn incubating. She noticed the egg shell, sniffed it, and took her place on the other egg. Her instinct is to sit and protect it.
Incubation continues. There is still one more egg.
3/22/18 Early morning found Mom tucked in and sleeping in a snow covered nest once again.
Dad came into the nest ready for an exchange. Before he made his move, he leaned in over Mom. He seemed to be picking the snow or wet grass off her face.
Mom finally stood up and Dad took a step into the nest.
There is just too much snow in this nest. As Dad took a step into the next, he raked some snow on top of the eggs.
Dad continued to take his place but Mom saw the snow. She didn't like those eggs covered in snow. She moved back in and Dad left.
Once she cleaned the nest the best she could, she settled back down for a nap.
The sun came up and showed a very wet Mom eagle and snow piled high around her.
She stood up to turn the eggs and aerate the nest grass. It must have been a hard job being as wet and heavily covered in snow.
Mom continued incubating with yet another egg turn. I took this as a good sign that, perhaps, that first egg was piping and a hatch might be underway.
As the sun rose higher in the sky, it lit up the nest. Winter was back yet again. Temperatures were predicted to rise so hopefully the nest would clear up too.
There was an exchange. Dad arrived to a wet nest, and we got a good look at the eggs. Do you see anything happening? Hard to see in the shadows.
As if there is not enough snow around, the breeze began to blow. The branches moved and snow fell from above and landed right on Dad's back.
He gave us another look at the eggs. Still so hard to see. The waiting is torture.
Mom flew in and their was a change on the nest.
She calls out to Dad. Did she see something or is it time for a break?
She seemed on alert, and continuing calling. Was she waiting for Dad or was someone else nearby?
She did not wait for Dad. She flew off and we had a good look at the eggs. The nest is still wet as the sun melts all that snow. Hard to tell if there is a pip or just grass stuck to the egg.
Dad arrives in just a few short minutes. He takes over incubating.
He seems restless and is looking around. Is it the eggs, Mom, or something else.
Time to roll the eggs. Is that a pip?
Eggs! Is that a pip? Is it beginning to crack?
Dark came and no chick. I guess I was wrong and did not see a pip the other day. If it was a pip, the egg should have hatched by now. A little preening of her feathers, an egg roll, and time to curl up for the night.
3/21/18 Yes, we are home yet again to await the 4th nor'easter in March. This one is predicted to be the worst of them all. Thinking about all the wildlife in our area who have to whether this storm too, especially the eagles! Not only are they, the eggs, and possibly their newly hatched chicks exposed to the driving snow, there is also the wind.
Today is day 35 for egg #1 in the Duke Farms nest. This is the first day for a possible hatch. Of course the chick is not counting and no one is knocking on the shell to say, "Come out!" It will come in its own good time. I hope all goes well in this latest snowstorm.
I used the rewind feature on the cam early this morning. I was surprised to see Mom up and not in her usual tuck position. Was it the storm coming or was something really happening?
Many egg turns in the early morning hours too.
Early morning incubation change, before the storm hits.
First light shows the snow has begun, and Dad is calling her back.
Mom is back behaving more like Dad. He is usually the one who arranges the sticks in the nest. She flew in and immediately began fixing sticks.
Time for a nap.
Another switch. A day filled with switches on the eggs. This time Dad brought food for Mom. She grabbed it right away and ate it quickly.
With the switch, we get a look at the eggs. Plenty of marks on those eggs, but nothing showing for sure. The nest material is pretty wet today. Those marks could be grass sticking to the eggs. Oh, the waiting!
The snow begins to build, but still a good parent sits.
Another shift change. Nothing new with the eggs.
The snow has now begun falling at a good clip. New Jersey is back to a winter wonderland on the first day of spring!
Looking at the grass sticking to Mom's bill, has me thinking about those lines on the eggs. Just grass there too?
Is she listening to her chicks or just keeping her head down and out of the snow? What do you think?
Birds have a pouch in their esophagus called a crop. When their stomachs are full and they can't eat another bite, the leftover food is stored in the crop. This allows the bird to eat more later when food may not be around and they are hungry.
The storm is here! Eagles are such good and dedicated parents. They sit and protect no matter what the weather.
One last check of th eggs. The nest is so wet tonight. There is just one little spot still dry.
Good night eagles. Looks like the worst of the storm is over. Thankfully the winds were not as bad as the last storm. Looks like we will continue on hatch watch tomorrow.
3/20/18 My last blog for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey featured signs to look for that indicate a hatch is beginning. These are some of the behaviors I have noticed in all the years I've been observing. Watching for these signs, have helped me to actually watch a hatch in progress instead of seeing the chick after it all happens.
I have noticed lots of movement by the adults today. Now it could be trying to keep the eggs and the nest dry after all the snow, and to get good air flow the nest material.
Believe it or not, the adult and chick can “talk” to each other through the shell. Watch for the adults to sit over the eggs with their heads bent closer to them. You may even see movement of the adult’s bill, as it “chirps” to its chick inside the egg.
As of this writing this morning, I have not seen any prey delivered to the nest. If food begins to show up in the nest, the adults could be preparing for another mouth to feed. They are stocking the “pantry”.
Restless adults, with lots of moving around on the nest, or more frequent egg rolls, is a sign to watch carefully. When you get a clear view of the eggs, look for a tiny hole or a spider web-like cracking. This first hole in the shell is called a pip, and is made by the chick. The chicks do all the work!
Pips can be difficult to spot with protective adults blocking the view. You may wonder if you are looking at a spot of dirt or piece of grass on the egg or a real pip. Trust your eyes and keep watching, that pip will increase in size. This is exhausting and hard work for a little one. The complete hatching process can sometimes takes a day or two.
As we observed all day, we waited for a clear view of the eggs. Both parents are being very protective when they switch places on the nest. Is it because of the cold, or has the hatch begun?
When I shared the screen captures with one of the biologists, she too thought this could be a pip and not grass. What do you think? Time will tell!
3/15/18 Just love watching the personalities of the 2 adults on this nest. You really do get to know them after observing for years. I'll never forget the year, 2011, the original female did not come back. Before I could see bands or not on the legs, I and other obervers noticed the change in her behavior. Sure, enough, we had a new female. This one has always demonstated a strong personality. She is in charge!
Today while watching, we saw a couple different nest switches. When Mom doesn't want to leave, Dad needs to do some convincing.
Early morning switch. Dad finally talks her into leaving.
Just before noon, we watched as something caught Dad's eagle eyes. Nothing gets by those eyes!
He gave out a cry. What did he see? Watching a live cam, we only see a small part of their world. It gives us an awesome view inside the nest, but we cannot see the surrounding area.
Today, Mr. Charles, zoomed out and panned the camera searching for what Dad saw. Look carefully between the trees. You can see another bird flying overhead. The big question is who is this? From the position of the wings it appears to be an eagle. They fly with flat outstretched wings. Is it Mom? Is it the younger bird we've seen this year?
By the time the cam view returned to the nest, Dad had already flown off. We were able to watch as Mom flew in and landed. It is still a mystery as to who was flying around and why Dad was calling out. All is well though.
Later, we did get to see an egg roll. It is always fun to see the eggs.
After the roll, they tuck the grass around their body to keep the cold air out. Those eggs remain toasty warm.
Sitting and incubation continues.
3/7/18 The live cam was back up and running by the time school started on Monday. Was glad to be able to tell the students all was well, and that they could see for themselves! The good news was soon replaced by worry with yet another Nor'easter predicted for today. The day began slowly. Yes, it was snowing, but lightly. Things didn't look too bad.
Within minutes, the snow really picked up in intensity. The storm hit quickly and the snow fell fast and heavy. Within minutes snow had covered the ground.
There was an exchange at some point on the nest. Mom won the rights to incubation. Then something I've never seen before happened. BOTH eagles stayed on the nest through the storm. They laid side by side.
Thanks Mr. Charles for the awesome close up view. As the camera moved, the eagles looked up at the noise. Mr. Charles shared this great look of the eagles.
They would shake off the snow, but remained on the nest together.
More snow fell. Still the eagles sat.
Finally Dad flew off the nest, but stayed on a nearby branch.
Still the snow fell.
Night came, and the snow stopped falling. There will be lots of snow to clear for all of us - people and eagles. Thankfully the eagles made it through another storm!
3/2/18 The day started off wet. The forecast was for a Nor'easter to hit our area. These storms can bring lots of rain or snow, and fierce winds. Worried about the eagles across the state in high winds. Before I tell the story, all is just fine with the Duke Farms nest and eagle family!
Rain begain when I began watching for the day. I saw 2 very wet eagles sitting on the nest.
As the morning continued, there was an exchage. Mom took her turn sitting in the rain.
She called for him to return.
Dad showed up but she did not want to move from her position. It took some work on his part to get her to move. Did she really want him to sit? Or was she calling for him to bring her some food?
He finally gently pushed closer to her, and nudged her off the eggs. She moved ever so slowly.
Finally a glimpse of the eggs!
Dad settles into place.
Another exchange, this time with Mom being the pushy one.
Just a little push.
And the exchange takes place.
By now the snow was falling and the winds were fiercly blowing! I checked in on the nest when I got home from school. The tree had been swaying in the wind all afternoon. Just shy of 4:30 pm, was the lst look I had of the nest. The cam had gone down. There was a note from Duke Farms that power and cable had gone down at the road due to branches that came down in the wind. So many people were without power because of this storm. Hopefully the cam goes back up soon.
2/27/18 Hello eagle watchers! Today's observation is all about egg sitting, and whose job it is anyway. Both adults eagles will take their turn at sitting to incubate the eggs once they are laid. Mom's body is made for incubation. It is larger and she can better cover the eggs to protect and keep them warm.
She does not do the job all by herself though. Dad takes his turn at egg sitting too. Sometimes she flies off the nest when he is nearby, or she calls for him to come back. He can then take his turn sitting. Other times, Dad may come in for a switch, but she just doesn't want to leave.
He may walk around the female, fixing the nest. If she doesn't move, he'll get in closer, maybe give her a nudge. When all else fails, he'll give her a little nibble.
Finally she may give up and move.
When she flies away, the male can take his place on the nest. This will be the chance for her to do some hunting.
2/20/18 The day began as usual, Mom sitting on the nest before the sun came up. Dad flying in for a switch. Mom flying off. I went to school. As I was preparing for class and turned on the cam, I saw Dad on the nest, very upset!
What could be making him so upset? After last year's intruder female, my first thought was another eagle, or maybe a hawk. I was not ready for what happened next.
The cam zoomed out a bit to show another eagle sitting on the edge of the nest. At first I thought I had the eagles mixed up, and something was wrong with the camera. They other eagle looked funny. I saw bands, so thought that was Mom upset and Dad was on the side.
There was nothing wrong with the cam, and I was SO wrong. The intruder looked funny because it was not one of the adults. This is a young eagle! Look at all those darks feathers. My guess was a 4 year old. Not only that, but this banded bird was from NJ! Take a look at that green band when she flew to a nearby tree.
Even with her gone from the nest, Dad was still calling and on alert. I thought it odd, he did not kill this intruder. I still remember very well what happened to a hawk that flew into the nest in 2013. The adult never stopped following the hawk's path. When it landed on the nest, the eagle jumped on it and killed it no time at all. It became a meal a short time later. No tresspassing here! Then came the most surprising news of all. The band showed that this intruder was actually one the Mom and Dad's offspring from 2014! That year there were 3 eaglets. Two males and one female. This day the female paid a visit to her old home. Eagles can return to their home "neighborhood" but not usually the nest.
Later the young eagle was chased off my Mom. Mom was seen sitting on the branch from which she chased her 4 year old daughter.
About an hour later, things seem to settle down. Dad sat on the nest.
Mom sat on the branch for a while longer, then flew off. She returned to the nest a short time later with new grasses. She and Dad worked together to line the bole with the new grass.
When they were done, Dad flew off. Mom took over egg sitting.
There would be another switch. The young eagle must have been gone, because Mom left without Dad on the nest. We got a good good look at the eggs all safe and sound.
Those eggs weren't left alone for long. Dad flew in within minutes.
2/18/18 Wow, the storm gave us more snow than I expected! At first look at, about 6:15am, I found Mom asleep in a nest covered in snow.
They did the usual early morning switch, and Dad sat. Mom came back earlier than she had been, about 8am. Did the snow and cold weather make her return to keep things warmer with her larger body?
When he stood up and spread his wings to fly off, we were treated to a great look at both eggs!
As Mom sat, a breeze began to blow and the snow fell on her.
Time for a nap after a busy night.
The snowy view from the nest.
2/17/18 Another early morning viewing began shortly after 6am. Dad was perched on the nearby branch. Mom was in the nest waiting for her break.
The switch happens when Dad flies in and greets Mom.
Great close view of Dad's face gives you a good look at his "eye-liner". One way to tell a male from the female.
It was a beautiful beginning of the day, with blue skies and plenty of sun. About 2:30 though the clouds began to move in. Snow was predicted to begin between 4 and 5pm. I had just tuned in to watch the eagles about 5pm. Mom was sitting in the nest and Dad had just flown in with more grass.
Mom would not move. He even nibbled her back a bit to convince her to move. She was having none of it. She had my attention. He flew off.
What got my attention was the way her feathers began to raise. I've seen this body position before, when she was laying an egg! I watched carefully.
Sure enough her body twitched and feathers moved. Sure enough, about 10 minutes later, she stood up and shook her wings. She had laid egg 2!
I waited for her to stand and give us a first look. It happened quickly.
Later, we got a much better look at the second egg.
Mom settled down to rest and keep her eggs warm. The snow began to fall.
No matter what the weather, an eagle parent must protect those eggs. Even if it means being buried in snow.
I couldn't stop watching. She is an experienced mother though. She knows just what to do. She shakes off, settles back down, and continues to sit. She put her "mombrella" up before shaking so the snow fell to the side and not on the eggs under her.
This was how the night went on. The snow fell, but she continue to do her job.
2/16/18 The day started early with Mom on the nest waiting for Dad to come in so she could take her break.
When she flew and before he came in, we got a great look at that egg!
Dad arrives for his morning shift of egg sitting.
It was a rainy morning and about an hour after taking over egg sitting, Dad lifted his wings slightly. Was he drying them?
Just before 11 am, Dad seemed a bit nervous. He kept scanning the sky around the nest. There are hawks in the area. A friend had seen Dad chasing one and even grabbing its tail. They do not make great neighbors. Could it be back?
The cam was zoomed out to give us a better view. I did not see anyone else flying around though.
Mom arrived back at the nest just before 3pm, in time for 1st graders to watch.
About 5pm, Dad arrived at the nest with dinner for Mom. He brought a fish!
They fed from the fish together for a short time. Mom reached in and dragged it closer to her. Dad gave it up without a fight.
Mom stayed on the nest finishing her meal, while Dad perched on a nearby branch.
2/15/18 All was quiet during the day. Dad came in at first light to sit, while Mom took a break. They switched a couple times throughout the day. With her bigger body, Mom takes the night nest duty. She can keep that egg warmer. This set of screen shots shows her reaction to a bat flying over her.
That white spot over her back is the bat flying by.
2/14/18 Happy Valentine's Day eagle watchers! Mom DF has layed her first egg on this day in the past. Will history repeat? She still has time. They were busy at the nest today. Starting early this morning, both Mom and Dad were in the nest. They were watching a flock of wild turkeys walk around the forest floor beneath the nest tree.
First graders remember that the female is larger than the male. Can you spot which eagle is Mom?
They were gone a good part of the day but did return about 2:30 pm. The 1st graders were thrilled to see them! We watched as they took turns "fluffing" the grass in the bole (the middle of the nest where the eggs will sit).
And it has happened! There is an egg in the Duke Farms nest once again! The first graders arrived just in time to see Mom on the nest. She and Dad had arrived together about 2:30 pm. He flew just before the class got to class, but flew back in a few mintues. They both left but she was back by 3pm.
Before leaving school I checked one more time. She was still in the nest. This is the most time I've seen her spend on the nst this season. Is something up?
Had the cam up when I got home and checked one more time before leaving to walk with the dog. She was still on the nest.
When I arrived home, I found she had laid her egg!
She began about 4:15.
By 4:21, we saw it!
First egg roll.
Dad came in to visit.
She is now incubating that egg.
2/7/18 Here we go again. Tuned in at first light this morning to find Mom back on the nest. Is it the snow? Perhaps they do not want to "shovel" snow out of the nest again? We're getting close to egg time!
Just before 8am, Dad flies into the nest.
Teamwork on the nest.
Enough Dad time on the nest. Mom wants her seat back and nudges him out of her way.
Dad gets the hint and leaves.
The eagles left and the snows came.
The action today continues. Dad flies in with a nice fish, with Mom close behind. She goes in for the steal and he gives it up without a fight. Mom is left to enjoy her morning snack.
It is just after 10:40am and both eagles are back on the nest again. Very busy today. Are they in a hurry to clear the nest of snow? Is this a sign?
2/6/18 Look who was sitting on the nest this morning! Very active this morning too. Lots of fussing with the nest material. Trying it on for size, or is there something there that arrived during the night? Waiting for a peek under the eagle.
She got up and moved. Nothing under her. She's just getting that nest bole into shape. the bole is that inner part of the nest where the eggs will be laid. It is lined with grass. When will that first egg be laid this year?
Off she flies and shows us the inside of that nest. Nothing yet, but we are getting close.
A little while later, Dad flies into the nest with a gift. Mom comes in, and they both enjoy a little morning breakfast. Hard to tell what it was, but I thought I saw feathers flying. Duck?
2/1/18 Hello February! It won't be long now until egg laying time. Keeping my fingers crossed all goes well with our favorite nest this year. Things are looking good. Just before Kindergartners came to class today, Dad flew into the nest. He brought a little gift for Mom. Can you see the fish he brought her. Looks like he helped himself to a little snack before he left the rest for her. Guess he needed to taste it and make sure it was good enough.
1/16/18 It won't be long now until Mom lays were first egg. Hopefully all will go smoothly this year. I have enjoyed watching Mom and Dad work together in all this cold and snowy New Jersey weather. The nest looks just about ready. They have brought in new sticks to build up the sides, and the bottom is lined with soft grass.
Bald Eagles usually use the same nest each year. They just add new material to fix it up and make it strong again. How big do you think this nest is now? We will learn about this in class soon.
1/11/18 Just before 8AM and both Mom and Dad are in the nest. Working together, they will get the sides just right and high enough to protect the new eaglets that (hopefully) will arrive in another couple months.
11/21/17 Haven't seem Mom and Dad for a few days now. I know they have been around. I see new sticks added to the sides of the nest. They continue to work. I tuned in tonight when the night cam was on and saw something flying around. It is small and does not act like a bird. It must be a moth. I don't know much about the night cam. I wonder if there is a bit of light that comes off of it? Moths are attracted to light. I will have to email Mr. Charles who operates the cam for Duke Farms and ask about that. Here is a screen shot of what I saw fly by. Look in the black space in the middle of the shot.
10/26/17 Oh no, here we go again. I tuned in about 5pm. I was happy to see both Mom and Dad on the nest.
They were both working together on the nest. Sticks were picked up and moved to a new location. Nest building is underway. The more I watched, it seemed like they were distracted by something.
In a few minutes, Mom flew off the nest and out of the cam view. A few minutes later, Dad also flew.
Dad came back to the nest about 20 minutes later, and remained on high alert.
It wasn't long before an eagle flew into the nest. From the size, compared to Dad, this appears to be another female.
Looking at her tail feathers, you can see a dark band at the tips of her feathers. Her head also has dark feathers mixed in with the white ones. This looks to be another young female, possibly a 5 year old. Glad she showed up early, and not during egg laying time. I hope Mom chases her away before then and we don't have a repeat of last year with no eggs in this nest!
10/12/17 Welcome readers and nature lovers! Nearby Hillsborough is home to Duke Farms. In 2008 a live web cam, thanks to Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ, was placed nearby the nest of a pair of Bald Eagles. We, along with the scientists who study these birds of prey, are silent observers of their daily life. It is about this time of year that the adults make frequent trips to the nest to rebuild it after last year's season. Right on schedule, Mr. and Mrs. Duke Farms Eagles are back. I have watched, especially early in the morning, as they work together to move sticks and clear the nest of plants that have begun to grow while they were away.
7:31 AM Mr. DF flew into the nest first. He began moving a branch that was not in the right place. We worked on it for some time. It is hard moving a branch with your mouth!
A few minutes later Mrs. DF flew in to help out. They worked together to move the sticks around.
Remember some ways to tell the difference between Mr. and Mrs. is to look at their size when they sit side by side. Mrs. is the bigger eagle. If you can get a look at the feet, look for the bands. Mr. is a banded bird. He has a green, NJ, band on one leg, and a silver, federal, band on the other. Mrs. is not banded.
We are all hoping for a successful nesting season this year. Last year, just at egg laying time, a new and younger female showed up and tried to take over the nest. Mrs. DF was having none of that and defended her territory, but it meant she could not lay eggs.
Over the summer the folks who take care of the camera worked on it to get it ready for a new season. They found the skull and other birds of an adult bald eagle on the ground at the base of the nest tree. It is a mystery at this time just who it is, but devoted oberserves of the live cam believe the female we are seeing is in fact Mrs. DF. Could the skull belong to the intruder from last season? Kathy Clark, a biologists and bald eagle expert, is working with Duke Farms to try and solve the mystery.
Bald Eagle Nesting Season 2016-17Posted by Diane Cook on 10/31/2016
June 20, 2017 Last day of school is today! How nice that all three eaglets came back for one last goodbye. Fly well 2nd graders just like the eagles. Good luck to you all as you leave my nest.
As the students watched the eaglets wingercising and begin to take little flights to nearby branches of the nest tree, I explained how some fledges happen by accident. D27 was the last eaglet to fledge, and it was accidental. Here is video to watch.
Don't worry about her though. The cam searched and found D27. Someone from Decorah also went over to the area and found all 3 in the nest tree. Two were together, and D27 was on a lower branch. An adult was seen nearby D27. All is well in Decorah. Time to learn how to fly and fish! Hopefully we will see them visit the nest once in a while.
Can you find D27?
Far below the nest.
June 17, 2017 Exciting news today. It seems that not one, but two eaglets have fledged at Decorah! Observers on the ground confirmed and saw both D26 and D28 fly off the nest tree. That is a fledge! Watch the video here.
Mom flies in with a fish, and D27 promptly comes in for the steal. Just as D27 steals from Mom, one of the other eaglets comes flying in and tries to steal too. When D27 is left alone to eat, the video is speeded up a bit.
June 16, 2017 While watching the cam today, we were treated to a look around the area including the fish hatchery. It seems a new cam was installed. It gives the view of the ponds at the hatchery so we can see when the eagles visit to fish!
Many exciting things happening in Decorah today. It seems that D26 fledged today too. I love the way the other two eaglets watched as D26 took off.
June 13, 2017 Well look who decided to join the rest of the family out on the branch this morning!
It was fun to watch D28? out on the branch this morning. After sitting with the other two for a few minutes, D28 turned, jumped, and flapped back to the nest. The flapping and jumping continued with lots of vocalizing too. It was almost like D28 was doing a happy dance!
The family hung out together for some time early this morning. Look carefully, both adults are in the tree too. One is above, right of the eaglets and the other below, left.
The eaglets stayed in this positon most of the day. There was a bit of wing stretching but that is all. Finally one made its way down to the halfway point and flew into the nest. The next time I checked, it was up high in the other branch! Look carefully in the leaves. A short time later, everyone was back together again.
June 12, 2017 Lots of action in the nest today! Bright and early in the morning and 2 eaglets are already out on the branch. Look how far up one went, and a bit of wingercising too!
Coming down to encourage D28 to take that step out on the branch?
Close Up - It was warm again today. Lots of panting to keep cool.
Adult close up
The sky got dark and the branches began to sway. A storm fast approached and the eaglets all came back to the nest for safety. Those are some wet eaglets!
June 10, 2017 The students and I were watching some amazing branching yesterday. The screen captures are OK, but video would be better. Well the folks at Decorah helped out. They posted some great video of branching.
Windy day with lots of flapping and a hover - video
June 9, 2017 Branching continues in the Decorah nest. It is exciting to watch these young eagles learning how to fly. It is a bit amazing how FAST they grow too. Wasn't it just 2 1/2 months ago they were little white fluff balls?
D26 and D27 watch from the branch as D28 wingercises. It won't be long before all 3 eaglets are sitting out there.
D28 rests after all that exercising.
First Graders watched as two of the eaglets sat on the end of the branch. The one farthest away from the nest (D26?) amazed us with some branch wingercising. Then D26 jumped high, flapped, and flew right over the other's head landing in the nest. D26 celebrated with some high jumping and wing flapping. It was a sight to see!
June 8, 2017 What a windy day at Decorah! Wind does not stop young eagles from wingercising and branching. Decorah Video
June 7, 2017 Well it is official. The eaglets at Decorah have begun "branching". My second graders can tell you that branching is when they move out to the nearest branches on the tree, leaving the nest for short periods of time. It is so difficult to tell who is who now they are almost full grown, but the folks at Decorah think it is D26 and D27.
Decorah also made a video of the branching. Watch it here - Branching Video
June 5, 2017 Finally caught a great shot of those wings. They usually flap so fast, the screen shot is blurry. This time I remembered to stop the live cam and it froze perfectly!
June 2, 2017 This is the time of the eaglet's development that I find most stressful to watch. They make me nervous hanging out on the edge of the nest. I guess if they slip and fall, it is a good thing they have wings. Nature takes over, they flay away, and hopefully land safely on another branch. That happened last year at Duke Farms. It took her 3 days to figure out how to fly back up to the nest for some food.
Today found the Decorah eaglets sitting on the edge.
Checking out the camera.
June 1, 2017 June is here! This is a big month for the bald eagle chicks. They become really busy with wingercising and jumping jacks. We look forward to branching. More about that later. Early this morning I saw all 3 eaglets in the nest. After lunch I checked on them and only saw two! I thought for sure one flew. I wished they would zoom out so we could look for the missing eaglet.
As I continued watching and waiting for another look, I got my answer to where the third eaglet had gone. From behind the tree trunk I saw a wing! Eaglet 3 was behind the tree and stretched a wing to reveal itself.
The eaglets settled down once more in the middle of the nest.
Later in the afternoon sun, the 3 eaglets laid down for a rest after all their exercising of the day.
May 31, 2017 Where did the month of May go? I can't believe June arrives tomorrow. From the looks of these eaglets, it won't be long before they take their first flight, fledge, and then fly away to learn how to live like a wild eagle away from the nest.
May 30, 2017 The eaglets are now 8 weeks old and almost fully grown. I've been noticing that they are all about the same size as the adults. Eagle watchers know that in the bald eagle world the female is larger than the male. Looking at these eaglets I'm wondering if there are 2 females (they sure look as big as Mom), and one male (about the same as Dad).
This morning I caught the 3 eaglets eating leftovers and waiting for a new food delivery. Mom stopped by to check things out.
Mom and Dad kept watch from the branch. I think they are trying to show these eaglets how to fly to this branch, and that it is really not hard to do.
Mom and Dad both flew off. Dad was first to fly back with a fish in his talons. It was quickly stolen by one of the eaglets. While the other two watched, Mom flew in with her own fish delivery. There was a steal from another eaglet. Finally eaglet 3 pushed in and stole a piece of one of the fish. It seemed that everyone had a bite to eat.
May 25, 2017 Catching the entire eagle family in the nest this morning and seeing everyone standing side-by-side, really shows how much those eaglets have grown. They look almost or as big as Mom! Is it a trick of the camera or could at least 2 of those eaglets be female? D28 still looks a bit smaller. That could be just because it is the youngest, or it could be because he is the younger brother. Hopefully in another couple weeks we should get a better idea.
Not only are these eaglets growing in size (90% full grown now at about 8 weeks of age), but they are becoming more bold. Watch this video to see what happens when Dad flies in with a fish. There's a whole lot of stealing going on! Fish Video
It was a sunny day today. The eaglets were huddled in the shade, trying to stay out of the sun. Was the adult trying to make shade with those umbrella wings? I also wondered if there was an intruder nearby. Birds of prey will "mantle" to hide food. Mantling is when they put their wings up to hide the food. Was the adult mantling to hide the young ealglets from an intruder? What do you think?
May 24, 2017 Screen shots just can't show you how those eaglets build up their muscles for flight. Watch this video to see it. Wingercising Video
May 18, 2017 The cam operator gave us a good look at the nest today. Those eagles sure use a lot of sticks when they build!
Lessons on how to feed yourself continue this afternoon. One of the eaglets was trying to feed itself. Fish skin must be hard to tear. Mom comes in and starts to eat the fish. After a few bites, she takes a bite and waits before eating it. She is waiting for someone to grab it from her. Meanwhile one of the eaglets is sneaking in from under her to steal a bite. This is what she has been teaching!
Mom just doesn't like the way Dad feeds the eaglets. Dad brings home a fish and begins feeding. She comes home and pushes him away. Feeding Video
It's hard to take a nap when your sibling is wingercising! Video
May 17, 2017 Hello eagle watchers! We have been enjoying the next steps of development in the Decorah nest. The eaglets are putting on quite a show with all the jumping jacks they've been doing. Soon those wings will be strong enough to carry to the nearest branch and back.
Here's a beautiful screen shot of Mom.
The sleeping eaglets were visited by a song sparrow this morning.
It has been funny watching Mom and Dad argue about how best to feed the young eagles. She continues to win the battles. Dad delivered a fish and began feeding his eaglets. One ate eagerly while another tried to make a steal. Mom kept her eyes on him. The eaglet near Mom wonders when she will feed. Mom is not interested. If you want to eat, help yourself! She then hops over to Dad and kicks him out. He leaves and she continues to teach the eaglets how to eat on your own.
A storm rolled through in the afternoon. I hear the question, "What happens to the eagles in a storm?" a lot. This video shows it all. Storm Video
May 16, 2017 Dad brings breakfast and there is a quick steal. Later two eaglets play tug-of-war with that fish. Breakfast Video
While Dad brought another fish to his eaglets, Mom sat on the branch of another tree. He had his back to her and could have been blocking her view. He was feeding D28.
These eaglets are almost 7 weeks old now and almost as big as the adults! It's getting crowded in that nest.
Dad keeps watch while the little ones sleep.
This is what he sees.
May 15, 2017 Another milestone the Decorah eaglets are now hitting is feeding themselves. This is something they must learn how to do to survive on their own. It is a lesson Mom wants to teach, but Dad is not always the strong one. We have observed Dad in the nest feeding. Mom has flown in and pushed Dad out of the way. She then proceeded to feed herself and ignore the eaglets! We watched as Mom and Dad had a disagreement about her teaching method. She won the arguement, as he flew away leaving her on the nest. Eventually the eaglets joined her at the fish, pulling off and eating their own food. Lesson taught and learned.
A little afternoon thunderstorm does not stop wingercising! Stormy Video
May 13, 2017 The nest sure is getting crowded as those eaglets grow. When you stretch and wingersize someone is bound to get hit with a wing or foot. With all the leftovers building up in the nest and warmer temperatures, comes the bugs. I've noticed lots of head shaking the past couple days. Look carefully when the cam zooms in for a look at the bugs flying all around the eagles' head.
May 12, 2017 First Dad, then Mom bring a fish back to the nest. Everyone gets to enjoy fresh fish!
May 10, 2017 The rain was falling heavy this morning in Decorah. A very wet Dad sat with his 3 very wet eaglets. They are just too big for an eagle wing umbrella to help them.
The rain has stopped in Decorah and everyone is drying out. The last of the baby downy feathers are being shed. Each day shows the new, dark adult feathers.
May 8, 2017 What a surprise today, those legs are strong enough to allow the eaglets to stand and walk upright. They are now able to use those big feet to walk around the nest. They are a bit wobbly at first, but their muscles will get stronger each day.
They are also exersizing those wings. Once the adult flight feathers are all grown in, they need strong muscles to fly. Daily stretching and flapping build those muscles. See the video to watch them in action! Wingersizing
May 5, 2017 Hello eagle watchers. We had the treat of an extreme close up view of 2 chicks today.
May 4, 2017 Just another beautiful spring day in Decorah. The chicks are growing fast!
May 1, 2017 It is hard to believe that these chicks hatched almost 5 weeks ago. Time flies! The beginning of May in Decorah sure was a stormy and wet day. The live cam showed some very wet eagles today. The chicks thought they were staying dry under Dad.
Even a little rain can't stop a growing eagle chick from eating.
Mom came home. She was just as wet as the rest of the family.
Dad took a break and flew off. It was Mom's turn to babysit. Check out those feet on D26!
Little D28 keeps watch along side Mom for a bit.
D27 just wanted to nap after eating.
The leftover fish from breakfast looked so good. D27 just had to take a nibble. This is another sign that they are growing. They are beginning to feed themselves!
As the rain continued to fall into the afternoon, the chicks took shelter again under the umbrella!
Look carefully for the feet under Dad's wing.
April 28, 2017 We had a nice afternoon here in NJ but a storm was on the way. The rain had already hit Iowa. As I sat on the deck with the dog I watched the raindrops begin to fall on the eagles. D28 wanted to stay dry and headed for the cover of Dad's body.
As the chicks snuggled under Dad's body, we got a good look at those new pin feathers. They sure are growing fast! I don't think they know how big they are now.
April 26, 2017 Where are the parents when we see the chicks alone in the nest? Here is Dad on a nearby branch. Ever alert and taking in the views. Dad Video
April 25, 2017 Hello eagle watchers! Nice family screen shot this morning of the chicks and Dad. This was about 9AM. Everyone was full after breakfast and took a nap, including Dad.
Everyone keeps asking why the chicks are alone and where are the adults. One of them is usually just out of view of the cam while the chicks nap in the early afternoon. Wow, spring is blooming in Iowa. Just look at the green buds on the trees!
Close look today at a clown foot and some pin feathers. Look at those sharp talons, even at only 3 weeks old!
April 24, 2017 The kindergarten and 1st grade students were shocked at how much the chicks have grown at Decorah. While watching we were treated so some great close views of "clown feet" and pin feathers. Remember pin feathers are the adult feathers beginning to grow.
This is one sleepy chick, stretched out with a full belly and crop!
Look at the size of that foot! Can you spot the pin feathers? They are getting easy to see.
Bald eagles do not hatch with a yellow beak/bill. That happens over time as they grow. That yellow color begins to show by the time they turn 2-3 years old. You get a good look in this close up screen shot.
April 21, 2017 Hello everyone! Second graders were in class today learning how to make meaningful comments in our Google Classroom while observing the live cam at Decorah. They were treated to a wonderful show. The cam operator gave them some extreme closeups of the chicks. Then they zoomed out for a great eagle's view of the farm from the nest. Enjoy.
Later I watched as Dad babysat. These are some well fed chicks. Just look at how that crop is bulging!
April 20, 2017 In the wee hours of the morning, before the sun was close to rising, an owl came a bit too close to the nest. Mom raised the alarm. Dad joined her to chase off the unwanted guest. Decorah has a recording of the event. Listen carefully in the middle. You can hear the owl. The feed looks like it has been speeded up a bit at the end. The eagles look a little funny. More owl sounds in the distance. It is amazing to watch how the adult eagles defend that nest and their babies! Video
The 2nd graders were treated to some great close up views of the chicks this morning in computer class. They were very excited to write about what they were seeing. They also had so many questions about what they had missed before today.
Those chicks sure do grow fast. When you look at them now, at 3 weeks old, you can see pin feathers! Pin feathers are the first sign of adult feathers. They are beginning to grow! Seeing more and more of those clown feet too.
It was another cloudy, windy day at Decorah today. Something was flying around again while Dad was babysitting. We also got to see a great view of the buds on the trees. Spring in Deocorah from an eagle's nest is beautiful. The students ask why the chicks are left alone. I tell them that one of the adults is always nearby. When the cam zooms out you can see just that!
April 19, 2017 Good morning eagle watchers! Early today before the sun came up and night vision cam was still on, I peeked in on the nest at Decorah. Another sign those chicks are growing, Mom was not sitting on them. As they grow and the temperatures get warmer, even at night, Mom will sit in the nest with the chicks but not on them any longer. They are able to make their own body heat. The new gray down feathers will also help to keep them warm.
The adults will begin to spend more time away from the nest too. A question many students asked yesterday was where are the parents? Someone is nearby, but out of camera view. They will not leave the nest unwatched, but the older the chicks get, the more you will see them alone.
While Mom was with the chicks in the afternoon, we got a peek at some wingercizing. This is the first step to building those muscles so they will be able to fly one day. Watch this quick Video.
Dad is babysitting this afternoon! First a little snack.
Then time for a nap!
I see clown feet. Do you?
A thunderstorm rolled through the dark night at Decorah. Adult feathers shed the rain but the chicks' downy feathers do not have feature yet. A real danger for them is getting wet and too cold. A bald eagle parent's dedication to the protection of their chicks is amazing. Watch this video to see how Mom makes herself into an umbrella to keep her chicks dry. Storm Video
April 18, 2017 Before the sun came up today but as the darkness was fading away, I checked on the nest at Duke Farms. Guess who was home? Yup, both adults were there! It is very strange to see the nest at this time of year with no chicks, but it is good to see that "our" eagles are still very much near home.
They did not stay for a long time.
I tuned into Decorah for the first time today just in time for an early breakfast. The sun was up and glaring on the cam. Goodness, those chicks grow quickly! The second graders are having fun "talking" to each other about this nest in our Google Classroom by using the comments feature in the latest assignment.
Before the Kindergarteners came in, I heard adults calling. I was able to capture the entire family together in the nest.
April 17, 2017 Welcome back to school! Spring break is over, but the fun of watching the little eagles grow at Decorah is not. With the warmer temperatures of spring, a little sunshine, and baby eagles growing, Mom and Dad Decorah can leave the chicks for short periods of time now. You can be sure Mom or Dad is not far from the nest. We just can't see them in our cam view. After an early morning snack, the adults left the chicks on their own for a short time.
April 8, 2017 - What a difference 1 week makes when you are a growing eagle chick!
Look carefully at D26's neck. Can you see that big lump? That is the crop. When a bird's stomach is full, there is a special sack in the throat called a crop. Extra food can be stored here. When the stomach is empty a bird can then swallow the food in the crop. This helps a bird if food is hard to find. They can eat more than the stomach can hold and carry leftovers with them.
Watch this video from today to see these growing chicks. You can see those stuffed crops and their funny "clown" feet. Video
Today is a nice sunny day in Decorah. Everyone is out in the sun and warm temperatures. It must be hot up there at the top of that tree. Everyone has open mouths, tongues out, and are panting. Eagles cool off by panting just like a dog.
I do believe clown feet are beginning to show. The feet and beak of bald eagle chicks seem to grow faster than the rest of the their body. I caught a screen shot of D28's foot as it stretched.
April 14, 2017 I am at school today helping a friend with a project. I havee the live cam on while we work. The chicks are about 2 weeks old now. They are able to walk around the nest a bit more and can hold up their heads better. Notice the color of those feathers are changing too. They are no longer those fuzzy, white balls of fluff!
April 13, 2017 This week has been our spring break from school. It has been a beautiful week with clear skies and warm temperatures. I am spending lots of time outside with my camera enjoying nature. It has been a week since I last peeked in on the nest at Decorah. I told my students before school closed for spring break that the chicks would be growing fast. They certainly are doing just that! Just look at those beaks!
Here is a great video from today too. Video
April 7, 2017 The 1st graders in Mrs. MacRitchie's class are full of questions. I was invited in this morning to answer some of their questions. One thing about the bald eagles that many are not only curious about, but expressed worry about also, is what appears to be a crack in the uppoer part of the eagles' beak. I told them not to worry. It is not a crack but could offer no more details. Later today, the cam operators at Decorah must have known I was looking for answers. I found the following on one of their blogs, and was able to get some great zoom screen shots of Mom.
The outer part of the beak or bill is made of keratin, just like our fingernails. This outer later continues to grow just like our nails. In the wild, bald eagles will rub the beak against a tree's trunk or branch to clean and keep it trimmed and sharp. The uppper part of the beak is where the nostrils are located. This is called the cere, and is a fleshy area of the beak. http://www.raptorresource.org/forum/index.php?topic=1808.0
The sun is up at Decorah this morning!
Mom feeding an early morning snack.
While fish is a bald eagle's favorite food, they are know to eat many different things. They are meat eaters to be sure. The squirrels in Decorah seem to be very red in color.
Just a cute screen shot. This is why we love to watch the live cam!
The rain has finally stopped at Decorah. It was a sunny day and the little ones could come out and play.
Watch the little ones come out and play, while Dad watches. Playtime Video
The next series of screen shots shows the interaction between the 3 chicks. It is not hard to miss the dominance of D26. D27 ducks and lays low until the urge to bonk is over. Fiesty little D28 does stand up and is not afraid to fight back, or even start a tussle.
April 6, 2017 Finally the sun is shining at the Decorah nest site! This morning 1st graders got a nice view of the river and fish hatchery. Look how blue that water is in the background.
The wind is howling though. Some cams, like Duke Farms, show the trees really swaying when it blows strong. The Decorah nest seems more stable. It must be the way the cameras are mounted. This wind is so strong today, that I do see swaying. It sure is loud too! Check out poor Dad as he was chick sitting this afternoon.
April 5, 2017 D26, being the oldest has also been showing dominance over its siblings. There is no doubt who wants to be fed first and in charge of this nest. I wrote and include a screen shot the other day showing a swollen eye on D27 thanks to its sibling. Thankfully that eye seems to be just fine now. D27 does its fair share of fighting back. With these two going after each other all the time, watchers can't help but worry about the littlest chick in the nest. I'm not so worried after watching D28 today. It is a fiesty little eaglet. It has wasted no time standing up for itself. Here is a video to see this little eagle in action. Fiesty D28
This is a quote from the folks at the Raptor Resource Project, and how they described the action: "We know everyone is worried about the littlest eaglet, so we wanted to be sure to include this video. Dad is on feeding duty. He gets up and the melee commences. D27 grabs D26. D26 bonks D27, who lays down. D26 is feeding when D28 grabs its down! While D28 ends up toppling over, Dad feeds it. D27 also eats well!"
Here is the nest boss standing tall while D27 and D28 lie low.
With full bellies, it was time to settle everyone down for a nap. There is always one chick who has other ideas. Be prepared for cute overload!
Later in the afternoon it was time for a snack. I was able to catch a great shot of all 3 chicks behaving while waiting for something to eat.
Just when I thought there would be a peaceful and well mannered snack time, guess who stood up straight and tall. This shows D26 just before the bonk was delivered.
April 4, 2017 It's another rainy day in NJ and Iowa. Mom and Dad Decorah were sitting tight on the nest this morning. They are also very stubborn about moving again today. Whenever they sit on the nest, they take that responsiblity very seriously. It was hard to see anything. Finally when the Kindergarteners came in, they got to see everyone! There was the last of the broken shell and a wet and newly hatched D28!
Later D26 and D27 were up and ready for an early lunch. They continue to fight each other for that food, wanting to be the first to eat. There is plenty to go around. Poor D28 was still recovering and sleeping from hatching and got stepped on, several times!
The cam operator was panning the camera again today. We got more good looks at the area around the nest. We see the farm, the river, and roads. They sure picked a busy area for home.
A break in the rain just in time for a late afternoon snack. All chicks were ready including little D28 - the dark gray head to the right.
D28 awake and ready to eat!
As usual D26 is the boss and wants to be first in line to eat. D27 does fight back but there is no mistake who is boss in this nest. I watched D26 grab D27 on what looked like the face near the right eye. Sure enough, during a feeding this afternoon you could see the eye was swollen shut. Life is rough if you are an eagle chick.
April 3, 2017 The weather forcast is for more rain overnight tonight and tomorrow. Here in NJ, we just need to watch the Decorah eagle cam to see what weather is coming our way. It was another rainy start to the day today. The Kindergarteners got to watch a very wet Dad tenting his little ones. Mom came in to take over babysitting duties, but he was having none of it. Later, he did fly off and Mom took over. I was able to watch at lunchtime as D26 and D27 cried for lunch.
Not only did I get to watch a quick feeding, but I could see a very large pip in egg #3! We may have the 3rd eaglet in the nest by night.
Both adults were back on the nest. It is funny to watch them during a switch. Mom came it but Dad did not want to move. She stood over him listening to the chicks. Even they wanted him to move. They wanted more to eat. Finally, she pushed him aside as she leaned in to feed one of the chicks pushing its way out from under Dad. He got the hint, moved, and then flew away.
Mom had her umbrella up to keep her family dry and warm. At this young age, the chicks cannot control their own body heat. The only way to stay warm is from their parents. The students see both adults using their beaks to dig in the nest material. They wondered why? The rain, sitting, and walking on the nest packs the grasses down. This makes it hard for air to circulate and dry out the nest. Digging in the grass helps to loosen the material to keep the air flowing.
The cam operator zoomed out today and gave us a good look at the nest. Look how many sticks form the bottom of it. Remember the eagles will use the same nest year after year. They add new material to before breeding season begins.
Look at these 2 sweet faces. This has to be my favorite age of bald eagle chicks.
It is very interesting to watch the interaction and behavior between the chicks. Even though D26 is 1 full day older than D27, I've watch both do their fair share of fighting for a meal. They seem evenly matched. One will grab the other, pushing and pulling until it submits (lays down and gives up). You can watch a video of this "bonking". Chick Rivalry Video
One way the adults can stop the rivalry and be sure both chicks are getting enough to eat is for both Mom and Dad to feed together. This works when you have 2 chicks in the nest. What will happen when the 3rd egg hatches. Having all 3 chicks survive is hard. I have seen where the smallest chick is killed by the older more aggressive chicks. I have also seen where all 3 chicks grow and fledge. If prey is plentiful, that helps to be sure all are well fed and lessens the competition for food. Time will tell here in this nest when egg 3 hatches.
April 1, 2017 This is NO April Fools' joke. In the early hours of the morning, before the night view cam switched off, we saw D26 and what looked like a newly hatched D27.
Like any new mom can tell you, it is hard and tiring work. I'm sure Mom Decorah lost lots of sleep as D27 was hatching in the early morning hours. She just laid her head down and slept while she could.
About 8AM, Mom and Dad switched places on the nest. It was then that we got the first really GOOD look at both chicks.
While D27 rested after the hatch, D26 has something to eat.
By 5:30PM both chicks were up and feeding. It is amazing to me how quickly they begin the fight for survival. As soon as 1 and 2 days old, they begin the fight for food. You can also see a feeding in this video - Feeding
March 31, 2017 Things are really getting exciting at Decorah now! Mrs. MacRitchie's 1st graders are following both nests. Decorah North has had 2 of the 3 eggs hatch. Hatch one was March 29 and the second was yesterday! There is one more to go. Hopefully Decorah will hatch soon. It will be too hard to keep up writing about both nests, but I do want to share some of the first photos from Decorah North.
I caught a feeding early this morning.
The cam operators zoomed out for a chance to see what the eagles see from this nest. What a view!
Then they changed the view to show us the nest. Look at how big that thing is!
Caught more of Mom and Dad disagreeing over who would sit on the nest this morning. The Robert Hunter Kindergartners had fun watching. Dad was sitting on the nest when we heard Mom call from a distance. He threw his head back and answered her call. Soon she arrived on the nest. He did not want to move.
She waited, then began to fluff up the grass and pull it up around Dad's tail. It was clear he did not want to move. She looked impatient.
She finally gave up, and, after covering him up she flew off. It was hard to get a good view inside the bole.
This afternoon, the cam zoomed out to give us a view of the farm below the Decorah nest. Look carefully. Can you see the horses behind the tree branches on the right side of the screen shot?
While panning the area, the cam stopped to show us one of the many birds we can hear on the Decorah cam. This is a mourning dove hanging out on a nearby branch. I guess these birds don't worry about becoming a meal for the eagles. When you live near a fish hatchery, there is plenty of fish to catch.
At this afternoon's Decorah North feeding, the 2 chicks have already begun their sibling fighting. In the animal world it is all about survival of the strongest. The chicks will fight their siblings for food, and sometimes at a very early age. These chicks are 2 and 1 day old and already the "bonking" (it sounds so much nicer than fighting) has begun.
Late this afternoon at the Decorah nest, Mom moved and gave us the smallest peek. That was enough. There, barley sticking up above the grass, was a fuzzy white head. Just behind Mom was more proof of a hatch, part of the egg shell. This hatch was kept secret for most of the day. The chick was already dry and fluffy which tells us it hatched much earlier in the day. It was the sound of a chirping chick that made me look at my computer. I heard D26 before I saw it!
This newest little one at Deorah is known as D26. Mom sat listening to what was going on under her. She can feel the movement and hear the chicks.
You can see a video of that quick peek too - in slow motion! Sneak Peek Video
March 30, 2017 What an exciting day in Decorah! The morning began like any other. Mom on the nest just waking up before sunrise.
Soon after the sun came up, Mom got up to switch sitting duty with Dad. The short time between her leaving and Dad flying in, we got a look at 2 of the eggs. I spotted a pip on the one egg!
This nest bole is so deep, it is hard to see those eggs. One of the 1st graders asked a great question today. She wanted to know why the eggs don't get crushed when the adult sits on them. The nest bole is so deep that the eagles are not really sitting on the eggs. They actually sit on the edge of the bole making a "roof" over the top of the eggs.
About 9 AM the rain began to fall in Decorah. It was a cold, rainy, and windy day. Dad put up his "tent" to keep those eggs dry and warm.
Mom and Dad can be stubborn about moving off the nest when they are sitting. Mom was sitting and Dad came in to take a turn. He walked all around her trying to get her to move. She wouldn't budge. I've seen him do the same to her. I guess they take their egg sitting time very seriously.
Males are smaller than the female bald eagle. When the weather is cold and rainy it is important to keep the eggs or little ones warm. Because Dad is smaller, he will open his wings in order to cover more of the nest space. Mom's body is bigger and she does not have to do that as much. You will see her open her wings like an umbrella when they chicks get bigger to shield them from the hot sun or rain.
During a switch this afternoon, we finally got a good look at the eggs. It was hard to see.
March 29, 2017 The sun was not yet up in NJ but the Duke Farms eagles were up. They were both in the nest. It is getting way past time for eggs here this year, but they still remain near the nest. This is their territory and they look like they will not give it up. After Dad flew to the branch, Mom remained on the nest for a short time before they both flew off.
Now off to Decorah Iowa. It was early morning and the cam was still in night vision mode. I caught Mom asleep, and curled up tight.
Early afternoon, we got a quick look at the eggs. When both adults are sitting on the nest, there is lots of movement from them. That is a sign that hatching is under way or will soon begin. At this stage, the adults and eaglet inside the shell can "talk" to each other. When the little one chirps, the adults can hear!
While Dad sits, he spreads his wings. This is called mantling. Eagles do this with food, to hide it from others. It is also done to protect the eggs or babies. Dad is not as big as Mom. It was a cold day today in Decorah. He needed to keep those eggs warm and spread his wings like a blanket. You will also see both of them pulling the grass closer to their body. This is like you pulling your blanket up close to your body to stay warm. He certainly was alert again, looking all around. The sparrows and starlings are so numerous and loud, they are a bother. While I love to hear the eagles, the sound of the other birds is beginning to be annoying.
Dad looks out to view her territory.
Late in the day the rain began to fall. This time Mom spread her wings, not to protect from another bird, but to keep the eggs warm and dry. She is now a Mombrella!
That is one wet bird, but still she sits. Doesn't she look fierce?
March 28, 2017 Those eagles at Decorah sure are keeping the eggs a secret. There is lots of movement on the nest today. That could mean a hatch is beginning. I have not yet seen any pips though. Egg 1 was laid on February 20, Egg 2 - February 23, and Egg 3 - February 27. I guess this will be the nest we follow this year since Duke Farms looks to have no eggs to follow.
I caught some shots of Decorah Mom and Dad today.
The cam zoomed in for an extreme close-up of Dad today. Have you ever seen a bald eagle's tongue? Here it is.
Now for a close look at Dad's eye. You can really see the black line around his eye in this shot. Remember, that is one way to tell the difference between a male and female bald eagle.
The temperature is about 55º in Decorah today, it must be hot with the sun shining down on the eagles. I noticed there is lots of panting going on. Eagles pant just like a dog when they get hot. This helps to cool them down.
Just before 6:30 this evening, something caught Mom's attention. She flew off the nest to make her presence known. Got a close up view of 2 eggs. That nest bole is so deep, it is hard to get a good look at them. Mom had flown to a nearby branch.
Mom flies back to the nest.
March 26, 2017 While it is disappointing that our local eagles at Duke Farms still do not have eggs in the nest, the cam continues to operate. We still have the opportunity to observe the adults. Don't know where Duke Farms Dad was visiting today, but when he flew into the nest, he had some seriously dirty feet. They were covered in mud! Guess he was walking along the muddy edge of a pond or river. Was he looking for turtles? It was a very warm day today, and I have seen turtles out already this early spring.
March 25, 2017 It is hatch watch time at Decorah. Those eggs should be hatching any day now. Today was another rainy day in Iowa. Catch both adults on the nest in the last afternoon. Dad was ready to take over nesting duty, but Mom didn't look too eager to leave. It is hard looking for a pip (that first hole in the egg). The nest bole is so deep, it is hard to see the eggs. Decorah Mom and Dad are also pretty quick at rolling eggs and switching places.
March 24, 2017 Near lunch, Duke Farms had a bit of action in the nest. It is not the action we all want to see, but at least we did get to observe some bird behavior.
Dad flew in with a fish, and began eating. Mom came in right behind him. She tried to get a bite too, but he was having none of that. He began to mantle (to cover up his prey) and not let her in. She backed off but kept trying to get back in. They both snapped at each other. At one point wings were flapping around too. What does all this mean when they won't share with each other?
Mom was persistant. She finally reached in and took that fish from Dad. She mantled a bit herself, and then ate the rest of that fish. He gave up and flew to the branch near the nest. He came back to see nothing left.
Duke Farms zoomed in for a close up view of Dad's federal band.
March 23, 2017 Good morning eagle watchers. Mrs. M's class wants to know if the Duke Farms eagles are ever in the nest. Each time they look, no one is home. They are still around. The best times to see them seems to be early in the morning (sometimes before the cam changes from night to day view). I saw them both this morning working on the nest. Mom even took some time to sit in the nest. Then Dad flew off and she joined him.
Yesterday I watched a video of the eaglet down in Florida. The eaglet known as, E9 fledged. It has been seen at a pond nearby the nest tree. This video shows E9 and Mom watching the ducks swim by. E9 and Mom
I stopped into Decorah for a peak this afternoon. It was another windy day up in that nest. Got a great shot of Mom looking right into the cam.
Later, I watched as Decorah Dad was on high alert and alarm again. Didn't see any little birds on cam. Wonder who was there.
Beautiful close of Decorah Dad
March 20, 2017 Hello eagle watchers! We still don't have any eggs. Duke Farms Mom and Dad were both in the nest early this morning. Mom flew in with a big fish! Look closely. You can see the tail sticking out on Mom's left side. Dad kept trying to sneak in for a bite, but she was having none of that! She was not going to share. It was HER fish, and she was going to eat it. Dad did get to nibble on leftovers later when Mom left.
Something caught their attention while in the nest. Who did they see just out of the cam view? Dad left the nest and flew to the "lookout" branch and sounded the alarm. Soon after, they both flew away in the direction of whatever was out there.
Meanwhile back at the Decorah nest, the little birds just won't leave Dad Decorah alone. They keep flying around the nest and in front of the camera. Dad doesn't like it and tries to chase them away. Decorah Video
Here are some screen shots too.
March 19, 2017 NJ is not the only place with crazy wild wind this March. Poor Mom Decorah not only had grass stuck in her beak, but she was being blown around. Does she look unhappy and like she's had enough?
March 18, 2017 Well Duke Farms Mom gave all the watchers much hope today. Not only was she sitting on the nest for over 1 hour, but she looked like she was in the egg laying position! We were all so disappointed when she flew off to see nothing but leftover snow and feathers. She has done this in the past, so maybe it will happen soon. There is still a little time left for her to do it.
March 17, 2017 Happy St Patrick's Day! All was a quiet day at the Duke Farms nest. Still no egg and more action out of camera view than in it. Thankfully there are other eagles to watch.
It was an interesting day at the Decorah nest today. Lots of action! First, Mom got up and the cam zoomed in for a close look at the eggs. She laid 3 but only 2 were seen in this shot. Amazing to see those huge feet and talons so close to the eggs. She is so careful with that powerful beak and talons as she moves and rotates the eggs.
Later there was lots of excitement just out of view at the Decorah nest. Dad was very vocal, calling constantly. You could follow his head as he followed something just out of our view, but not out of his. I noticed a few cars starting to pull over on the side of the road. They must have been watching the drama in the sky. I wonder if the young eagle from last week was there again? Whatever was there, Dad saw it as a threat. Look at his cries of alarm and then how he defended his nest and eggs, mantling and cover them up.
The switch - Dad leaves and Mom Decorah comes in.
March 16, 2017 About 8:30 am, both Duke Farms Mom and Dad showed up at the nest. He looked to be kicking the snow out of the nest. They both walked around a bit. It is still very cold so that snow will not be melting too soon. They could put more grass on top to get ready for some eggs. Something caught their eye and they both flew off in that direction.
It was a cloudy day in Decorah today. The cam operator zoomed out to show the farm below the nest. What a view those eagles have!
March 15, 2017 Late afternoon as the snow was flying again, so were the eagles. They flew right into the nest with a little snack. Mom was doing the eating. Dad never had the chance to get in to help himself. From the feathers, it was some sort of bird.
Dad finally flew off to the branch and was lookout.
She left nothing but feathers behind.
March 15, 2017 When Miss Sassy 5 Year Old showed up, we wondered why Dad did not give chase. I learned that when there are no eggs or young, males only chase males, and females chase females. This ensures that there will be a male and female when the territory dispute is over. It might be the original pair stays together and wins the fight. It could also mean that one of the original pair ends up with a new mate. In either case, there may or may not be eggs that season. Some are guessing whether this is the Duke Farms female we are used to seeing. If a new female, they may not be bonded yet. Eggs may be laid later than we are used to seeing or not at all this year. If still the Mom we know, egg laying most likely has been thrown off due to the territorial fight. Egg laying time might be past.
When there are eggs or young, the male and female work together to fight off intruders. Their young must be protected. This happened today at Decorah. While Dad sat on the nest, a young eagle (possibly one of their own young) landed on a nearby branch. Decorah Dad sounded the alarm. Mom heard and came flying in to chase the young eagle away.
March 14, 2017 It seemed that there was no real winter in New Jersey this year. Then just as we were all feeling that spring was on the way, winter arrived. No eggs at Duke Farms this year, but the eagles still need to tough it out. I remember last year, Duke Farms Mom being buried in snow as she sat on the nest protecting her eggs.
This year both Mom and Dad could be seen in the early morning hours sitting on a branch near the nest. The snow fell, the wind blew, and they hung on.
Turkeys walked through the new fallen snow in the afternoon.
March 13, 2017 While we in NJ get ready for the big snow storm tomorrow, Iowa has already been hit with snow. Here's Dad sitting on those 3 eggs to keep them warm and dry.
While Kindergarten was watching the live cam, Mom flew in and they switched places. She is now sitting on the nest through the storm.
The cam operators were doing lots of zooming today. Here is a close view of Decorah Mom. She's got some dark feathers on her head, dark eyeshadow, and a deep brow.
Dad was on the nest this afternoon. Mom came in to take over. Can you see how much bigger she is in this shot?
When they changed positions, the cam changed views and we got a great look at all 3 eggs!
The nest at Duke Farms finally looked clear of last week's snow. Since we don't have eggs, I'm sure those poor eagles will need to start all over again. Here they were this morning on the "sleeping" branch. Mom's head is still tucked under.
March 12, 2017 Woke up yesterday morning really sick - killer cold! Between naps, I checked the nests. Seeing an eagle cheers me up. Big snow storm is on the way. Hope they all stay safe.
Duke Farms Dad flying into the nest this afternoon.
Decorah Mom today - windy, but a nice sunny day.
Last week a big storm moved through Iowa. Mom stayed low in the nest to protect the eggs and herself from the fierce wind.
March 11, 2017 Duke Farms Mom and Dad together on the nest at day break.
March 10, 2017 Got a notification on Friday that the Duke Farms cam was back up and running. I couldn't wait to check it and see if there were eggs. I'm so excited that the cam is back on, but ever so sad that there are still no eggs. Biologist, Larissa Smith, says that NJ has some birds begin incubating in late March and even early April. Fingers crossed we will see eggs this season.
The nest is just holding snow from the snow storm today.
The eagles visiting and showing us they are still around.
March 6, 2017 Well eagle watchers, the live cam at Duke Farms is still down. I have been watching the eagles in Decorah, but sure miss "our" eagles. I can tell you that by this time last year Mrs. Duke Farms Eagle had laid both her eggs and was busy incubating. I went back to read last year's blog. She laid egg 1 on February 18th, and egg 2 on February 21st.
Here are 3 screen shots from Decorah taken on Friday, March 3, 2016.
That is Mom on the nest. They had a bit of snow the day before.
This is Dad Decorah taken this morning. Can you see the difference in the eyes?
I can tell you the eagle's nest near home that I watch is incubating now. I saw her sitting low in the nest on February 18th. She continues to do so. When you don't have a live cam to see inside that nest, this is one way to tell there are eggs. One adult is sitting most of the time too, especially if the weather is cold.
Dad brought in more grass to line the nest.
Those eagle eggs need to stay a certain temperature for the baby eagle to continue to grow inside the shell. Eagles know when it is safe to leave them uncovered for short periods of time. The folks at Decorah wrote a blog about their eagles with some helpful information that is true for all bald eagles. You can read it here - blog
February 28, 2017 Last day in February today. The Duke Farms web cam is still down. As of yesterday, she still hadn't laid. Mrs. Jill was at the river again and saw them both flying around. If they are both flying, then there are no eggs yet to watch over.
In other eagle news, the original live cam bald eagles in Decorah, Iowa have exciting news. About 7:00 last night, the female laid her 3rd egg! Until our cam goes back up, you can watch the Decorah nest. Even when Duke Farms is fixed, it would still be fun to watch and compare what is happening in both nests!
February 26, 2017 Since we have no live cam to watch, I found this. This is a recording of when Miss Sassy 5 Year Old tried to take over the nest last week. Video
February 25, 2017 It sure doesn't feel like February. We have a beautiful spring morning today. The eagles were in the nest at first light again. This time (it seems for the first time since Miss Sassy 5 Year Old left, Mom was in the nest. She looked right at home. She was molding the grasses to fit her body. She stayed for another 2 hours. Dad played looked while she sat.
Things looked good for a possible egg laying. I had to return the Bald Eagle kit to Duke Farms today. As I passed by the nest area, I saw one of the adults circling overhead. I crossed the river and spent a few hours walking along the river path and canal. While enjoying the view, sitting along the river. I enjoyed watching a pair of Red-tailed Hawks in a courtship display high above my head. Suddenly out of nowhere we looked up and there was Dad flying high above our heads. He was soaring on the thermals. You can see his broken/missing tail feathers in this shot.
By the time we left for dinner the wind was picking up and the clouds were rolling into the area. We were warned of severe thunderstorms coming our way. Sure enough, come they did. It was so strange to hear thunder and see lightening in February. The storm was too much for the live cam. Lightening damaged a part on the camera. A new part has been ordered and there is hope it can be fixed soon. Fingers crossed.
February 24, 2017 Before the sun came up, I tuned into the live cam and was disappointed to find an empty nest. I never saw the eagles through the night. They were not on the "sleeping branch". Where were they. Thankfully by daylight, Dad showed up on the nest, but where was Mom? Not to worry, she came in and both were there by 7AM. Dad flew up to the branch and Mom stayed in the nest. Now that's more like it!
Dad flew down and together, the moved grasses around getting that bole just right.
Dad flew off after a while together in the nest. Mom was looking comfortable in the bole. A herd of deer walked by under the nest on the left side of the forest floor. While watching the deer, my eye caught movement on the ground at the top of the screen. It was Dad gathering more grass for the nest bole!
So cool to watch him circle around, out of camera view, then seeing huge shadows appear over the nest. Dad arrived with more grass!
They worked together for a bit more before Dad flew up to the lookout branch.
While Mom finally looked a bit more comfortable and was IN the nest, they are still on alert. Dad took off shortly after this shot. He must have seen something he didn't like. Mom stayed for a while longer. She actually spent about 2 hours on the nest today! That is more like usual. Hope to see eggs soon and things settle down in this nest.
February 23, 2017
Good morning eagle watchers! It is a bit foggy out my window today. The cam is showing a clear picture of the nest though. Dad came down from the sleeping branch. As per usual this year, he appears very much on alert. He is looking around constantly. Mom is also missing this morning. While watching Dad, I saw something fly from left to right across the top of the screen under the nest. Dad saw, watched, and took off after it. Was that Mom? This is an interesting nesting year.
Dad takes off
The fog rolls into the woods
Just in time for the Kindergarteners to see, both eagles flew into the nest area just before noon. They hung out for a while so the 1st graders got to see them too. They took off again, but it sure was good to see them after spending so much time off camera.
Dad in the nest, fixing it for Mom.
Dad in the nest, Mom in the tree watching.
Mom and Dad together on the branch.
February 22, 2017
This morning while waiting for the eagles to come down from the "sleeping branch", a herd of deer were seen moving across the forest floor. This shot shows one deer clearly. It also shows how high that nest is from the ground. To say 80 feet is one thing. To see 80 feet is another. Can you find the deer? Hint - top left clearing between the branches.
While watching Dad flying around, my friend Jill noticed he seemed to be missing some tail feathers. It seems bald eagles, like other birds, do molt from time to time. The articles I could find online all agree that this happens in the summer and fall. Could Dad's missing tail feathers be from the encounters with the intruder this year? Is there more than one hanging around their territory? So much action taking place off camera that we can't see.
You can read more information about molting here - https://www.learner.org/jnorth/tm/eagle/ExpertAnswer09.html
February 21, 2017
Early this morning Dad flew in bright and early and began fixing up the nest. He is finally moving the sticks, Miss Sassy 5 Year Old moved on the day of her visit.
He then flew off and returned a short time later with grass for the nest bole. This is the center of the nest where the eggs will be laid and the little ones will live when they hatch.
He repeated this, making 3 grass deliveries in a short time. The last screen shots show the nest before the grass and after. Looks ready for eggs now! He and Mom were also together on the nest for a couple hours. They worked together on the bole. They were on high alert and looked nervous. It is also mating time for hawks and owls. Either they are uncomfortable with those birds flying in their territory, or Miss Sassy 5 Year Old is still nearby.
Nest Before Grass
Nest After Grass
February 19, 2017
It has been a quiet weekend. All eagle watchers are ready for eggs. They should come any day. This nest has been so predictable in the past, that this year's event with the new female seems to have thrown everything out of whack. The biologists say this is normal teritorial behavior. When there is a large number of eagles in one area, there is competion for the nest and mates. I guess seeing this first hand is good news, in that the number of eagles in the area are increasing. Bad news, we don't like to see our nice quiet eagle life disrupted. At first light this morning, Mom and Dad were seen on the branch where they spent the night. They were also seen mating. More eggs on the way?
February 17, 2017
It was a busy day for teachers today. We all had workshops today while the students enjoyed a day off. Not much time for eagle watch today, though each time I checked, I saw an empty nest. Finally about 4PM, both Mom and Dad Duke Farms came into the nest. He had a small fish. He immediately began eating and mantling. He was hiding it from Mom. Guess he was hungry and wanted it all to himself. They flew off, but after dark, they could be seen roosting together on a branch near the nest.
February 16, 2017
After the excitement of yesterday, today was rather quiet except first thing this morning. Dad came flying into the nest with something big in his talons. It was part of a large bird - the wings. Coloring was wrong for Miss Sassy 5 Year Old, a wild turkey, or hawk. Feathers were very dark, possibly a vulture or goose. He stayed on the nest for about an hour or so feeding.
After he left, all was quiet again at the nest site. Could they have both been flying around, keeping their territory safe from others? After the events of the day before, could be. Just before the 2nd graders came to class, somebody finally flew into the nest, but it wasn't and eagle. It was a Red-tailed Hawk! It came in, looking around to be sure no one was home, and then began feasting on the left-overs of the mystery bird from the morning.
February 15, 2017
Lots of drama at the nest today. I hardly know where to begin. I will go back to yesterday. A friend who happens to live near the river where these eagles hunt and who happens to have a great camera, has seen the DF eagles many times. She has some great shots of them also. The eagles were not seen on the nest all day yesterday. Jill found them in a tree near the river. She has shots showing Dad's bands so, it was him. She has also watched these eagles for some time and knows Mom by sight also. She actually caught them mating. When she shared the photos, we were very excited knowing eggs would be coming in the next week or so.
Photos by Jill Brown
Last night, when the cam was in night vision, I caught this eagle sleeping on the nest. Didn't think anything of it at the time. Was actually excited thinking it was one of the DF eagles and that this was a sign that eggs would soon be here.
In the morning light, we found a new female visiting the nest. Dad was there when she first showed. Kathy Clark, the biologist in the Bald Eagle Project in NJ, said that usually rival males fight off males, and females - females. A pair will both defend a nest with eggs or young. A bit too early for that.
New Female with DF Dad
From her coloring, she looks to be about a 5 year old bird. While DF Dad spent lots of time on the nest today, DF Mom was not seen until late in the day. Kathy Clark also said that since eggs and young are absent, the fight for dominance would not take place at the nest. Friend Jill Brown took a walk along the river this afternoon. She found DF Mom chasing and being chased by the new female. She said she could hear lots of talking between the birds too.
In the afternoon, Dad was on the nest, when the new girl showed up. He sat quietly until she got in his face. There was a bit of bill grabbing and wings up before Dad flew off. You can see the video from the live cam of this "disagreement". Click here - disagreement
Later in the afternoon and just before sundown, DF Mom and Dad were both on the nest. They didn't stay long, but it was good to see them both there and together. Hope this all works out.
What will happen tomorrow? Good night eagles!
February 13, 2017
Yesterday I spent the morning at a meeting for volunteers of the Bald Eagle Project. The biologists involved with the project were there too. Without the help of the volunteers who report to the scienctists what they observe happening in the eagle nests all over the state of New Jersey, what the eagles are doing would be unknown. It is the volunteers who report when incubation (eggs have been laid) has begun, the eggs have hatched, and finally when the young have fledged. The scientists can then make their reports with that information. The nest I was assigned last year is still unused. I do have my eye on a couple more. Time will tell if they are active or not. I am patient.
The Duke Farms live web cam shows us all the action inside the nest. It is still covered in snow after last Thursday's snow storm. Volunteers are looking up at the nest from a distance. It is sometimes hard to tell what is going on deep inside the nest. The adults give clues. If an adult is hardly visible in the nest, incubation has begun, the eggs are tucked in tight to keep warm. Once they hatch, the adult will be sitting a bit higher in the nest. The other easy clue to see is when the adults are feeding the chicks. Can you find the blue jay in the in the Duke Farms nest?
Live cams can really help the scientists and give us the wonderful experience of seeing nature up close. Sometimes we are reminded how hard life is for animals out in the wild. They go on with the nest process no matter the weather. The adults protect their little ones (and eggs) from nasty weather. Sometimes there is just no way to protect the nest. This was true last night. We had a terrible wind storm last night and it continues to blow today. One of the many live cams coming from across the United States, showed one nest in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania that just could not stand up to the strong winds. While the cam was still running, viewers first heard the crack of tree branches, and then watched in disbelief as the tree holding the nest and Mom Bald Eagle disappeared from view. The wind blew the tree down. The one egg in the nest is gone. Mom was able to fly away safely. Mom was due to lay another any day. Most likely she will somewhere and it too will be lost with no nest. It is still early in the season. Mom and Dad will find another tree and hopefully lay at least one more egg. Life is hard for the creatures of the wild.
February 10, 2017
We finally had our first big snowstorm of the season yesterday. The snow was really coming down hard at times. Glad there were no eggs yet. Mom would have been covered in snow again keeping them warm. Now for the snow to melt and clear out of the nest. Eggs should be coming soon! Mom was having some breakfast in the nest this morning.
For the past 2 nights, it seems just before the sun sets, a flock of wild turkeys have been near the nest. One has roosted, for a short time anyway, on a branch just below the nest. Just a short while before the turkey showed up last night, one of the adult eagles was in the nest. This could be an interesting nesting season if those turkeys continue to visit once eggs are laid.
February 6, 2017
February has begun and egg laying will soon be here in New Jersey. The eagles seem to be spending more and more time on the nest, making last minute adjustments. They have even been observed spending the night recently on the nest. The bowl is well lined with grasses ready to cradle the eggs and little ones to come.
At first light today, I caught both Mom and Dad in the nest working on it.
A little while later, while both eagles were away, a flock of birds flew into the nest. They were gathering grasses to build their own nest. They were stealing some of the grasses from the eagles' nest bowl. Look carefully to see them near the tree's trunk. If the nest were a clock the birds would be between the 9 and 10 o'clock position.
February 4, 2017
I spent the day at Duke Farms with other teachers from across New Jersey. We were learning about the new science standards and how to use the live cam to meet them. We wrote lessons and are very excited to use them this year with our students.
I found these directions that show how to draw a bald eagle. The directions make it really easy! Give it a try. I would love to see your illustrations.
January 30, 2017
January is almost over and NJ has hardly had any snow this winter. A couple of the southern counties of NJ have reported eagles have laid eggs and incubation has begun! Not yet at Duke Farms. That nest sure does look ready though. Last year they began incubating (sitting on so the baby inside can grow) eggs, February 18th. That nest sure looks ready, but both parents can still be seen adding more sticks.
In Florida where the climate is warmer in winter, the first egg of this season, hatched December 31! She laid 2 eggs but only the one hatched. When you are the only one in the nest, you have lots of room to move. Does only one chick learn how to fight for it's meals? The parents in Florida give shade to protect their chick from that hot Florida sun.
There is lots of room to exercise those wings!
This chick has already grown into that "clown feet" stage. Look at the size of those feet!
Out in Iowa, winter has been cold. There is still lots of snow covering the landscape out there.
The Decorah eagles have started rebuilding their nest. It is covered in snow right now. Who do you think will lay eggs first, Decorah or Duke Farms? Think about the climate in both areas.
January 23, 2017
The weather is terrible today. We are getting hit with a big rain and wind storm. It is so bad that all after school clubs were cancelled. I think about the animals in conditions like this and wonder what they do. Some escape the bad weather by finding shelter in caves, under fallen trees, deep inside the branches of trees and bushes, especially evergreens, and some hide inside holes found in a tree trunk. I wondered about the eagles. They are too big for those shelter places. What do they do in a storm like this? I got my answer tonight. After the sun went down, the cam operators at Duke Farms, moved the camera around (they do it by remote control) to find Mom and Dad. They were found, sitting on a branch near the nest, holding on so they didn't blow away in the wind. I watched as they balanced and swayed in the strong wind. There they sat. The crazy way a bird's feet works let them hang on tight without working hard at it. When they bend their legs to sit on a branch, the tendons in their legs tighten, causing the toes to lock around the branch on which they are sitting. They won't loosen their grip on the branch until they stand up and the tendon relaxes.
January 17, 2017
Each day brings us closer to this year's nesting season. The nest is looking good, with or without snow.
January 12, 2017
Good morning eagle watchers! It is gloomy and wet today. The pretty snow is gone, but there are eagles in the nest. Dad was seen bringing in more sticks to make that nest just right. He works hard on it too, working to make sure the branch sits perfectly in the spot it is needed. Mom usually watches. She helps from time to time, but Dad is really the engineer behind the project. Missed catching Dad, or both of them together. I did get a shot of Mom though. She looks comfortable.
I might have missed both eagles on the nest today, but I did catch a visitor. Look inside the circle on this screen shot. It's hard to identify exactly what kind of bird it is, but a small bird flew to a branch next to the nest. Mom looked but neither bird seemed to mind the other. Be careful little bird. A few years ago a young hawk flew into the nest while there were babies. The adults didn't like it too much and soon the hawk became a meal for the entire eagle family.
I noticed Mom standing up and knew she was thinking about taking off. I waited for her to open those wings. The screen shot is blurry because she is in motion, but look at that wing span! It can be up to 8 feet from tip to tip.
January 11, 2017
Happy New Year to you all! The eagles continued to work on the nest through the month of December. I mostly see them early in the morning. Some of the other watchers have seen them from time to time during the day. One watcher saw Mom fly into the nest with food. It looked like a rabbit.
This winter has been crazy. For the longest time I didn't think it would ever get cold. It did this past weekend, and with the cold came some snow. Check out the snowy nest.
I watched the live cam showing one of the nests in Florida over winter break. Saw the first egg hatch. Looks like they will have only 1 hatch this year. The second egg was not good. Sad, but it does happen.
It won't be long until we begin our own egg watch. Then about 35 days later, they hatch! Can't wait to watch with all of you.
November 28, 2016
I hope all you eagle watchers had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I know I did. One of the things I am thankful for is being able to watch these Duke Farms eagles live. I am also thankful for being able to see bald eagles flying in the skies around my home! I grew up in this area and did not see them when I was growing up. That means, even with all the development in our area, the environment is healthy and can support these wonderful birds! Yay for all the people who care about the environment and the animals who call it home.
Before Thanksgiving I spotted the eagles at work in the nest again. I took these screen shots to show you.
Novemeber 20 - working together just after sunrise.
November 21 - no eagles today, but look at the nest. They added grass to line the bottom.
November 17, 2016
These eagles work fast and hard. No eagle sightings for me this morning, but look at that nest. What a nice bowl shape they have already!
November 16, 2016
The cam had been down for a couple weeks. Routine maintenance was being done to be sure it is ready for another nesting season. The nest continues to grow, though I keep missing the eagles. Today I tuned in just before sunrise to find both! Dad was on the nest adjusting branches. All the years I've watched, I've never seen either of the adults fly in with a branch. Today was the day! While Mom was in the nest making adjustments, Dad flew in with a branch in his mouth. Can imagine building anything with just your mouth? That's what birds do. Amazing creatures!
October 31, 2016
Nesting Season has begun! By the time the 2 young eagles fledged in July this past summer, the nest was quite beat up. The deep nest bowl was gone. The high nest sides crushed. It sat empty through August and September. In October both adults were seen on the nest, bringing in new sticks and weaving them together. I had not seen the eagles, but I did see the nest taking shape once again. This screen shot is from October 26th.
Eagles will come back to the same nest site and use it again. They spend the fall and early winter bringing in new sticks to repair the nest, making it bigger than before. By the time the egg laying time in February comes, it will be ready for the new eggs and eaglets.
Viewers were reporting seeing the adults but I had no luck. I checked at all times of day. Finally I tuned in today, just before it was due to get dark, and surprise! No Trick, just a Treat - not one eagle, but two! Happy Halloween to me and you. I was able to get some screen shots to share with you.
The next set of screen shots show Dad trying to help Mom. She had been preening (grooming her feathers) and had a feather stuck in her bill. I watched as Dad reached over with his bill and tried to remove it. It was stuck good and would not come off. Shortly after that they both flew off for the night. They usually only stay in the nest when there are eggs or little ones in it.
Seeing Mom and Dad together it is easy to tell the difference. She is bigger. In Bald Eagles, male and female adults look very much alike. The female is bigger. With this pair, keep an eye on the feet. Dad is a banded bird. He has a green New Jersey band on one leg and a silver United States band on the other. Look carefully in the photo above, you can see a band on his right foot.
New Jersey Eagles 2015-16Posted by Diane Cook on 1/8/2016
Hello Eagle Eyes and welcome to another season of Bald Eagle watching in New Jersey! I never expected the events that would happen to me when I began watching the Duke Farms Live Cam in 2008. After discovering the nest by chance, Duke Farms along with Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey, installed a live web cam in a nearby tree, focused on the nest. Viewers were now transformed into silent observers and witnesses of the life cycle of the American Bald Eagle! Viewers could watch the events from egg laying (I have seen that once), incubation (through all kinds of weather - Mom sat on her eggs last year in a snowstorm that all but buried her in snow), hatching (watched one from start to finish last year), feeding, growing, wingersizing, and finally fledging. All of this happening LIVE, right on our computer monitors.
What an amazing story of recovery the eagle has enjoyed. From only 1 nesting pair by 1970 due to the use of a chemical called DDT, to 146 nesting pairs - they laid eggs - last year! Read more. Eagles are doing well in New Jersey.
Last year I was honored to attend the banding of 2 eaglets in a local nest. I not only watched the process but held the first while she got her exam and bands! An experience I will NEVER forget! As if that wasn't enough, I met many wonderful people. Those connections led to being asked to monitor a new nest near a place in which I grew up. I was also asked to help co-host the live stream of this year's banding at the Duke Farms nest in the morning of May 9th, AND attend the banding at last year's nest later that same day. I was able to attend banding at not one, but TWO Bald Eagle nests this year! What an exciting season!
Exciting news for Duke Farms eagle watching too. At the end of last season the camera was damaged in a thunderstorm. It has been replaced with a new, high definition camera with NIGHT vision! Yes, now we can watch what happens after the sun goes down! 2016 looks to be an exciting year for local eagles and eage watchers in our part of New Jersey!
Remember, when you read a blog, the newest entry is at the top. To see the beginning scroll down the page.
June 20, 2016 I tuned in at 5AM while infrared was still on to see #1 on the nest picking on a catfish skull. I walked away for about 5 minutes. When I went back to the live cam, she was gone. Have not yet spotted her, even after a cam pan to look for her. I guess #1 is off learning how to fish with her sister and parents. Nesting season is over for 2016. It was another great one. The new cam was awesome, and of course being there for banding is beyond words. The live cam will continue to operate. You never know what you might see. Happy Summer Eagle Eyes! Good luck to our new Bald Eagles!
June 19, 2016 Just before 7 this morning, #1 finally took that first flight. I watched her fly to a branch under the nest. This was a branch her sister flew to a couple days before.
June 18, 2016 Well she finally figured out how to go higher on the branch. She's been spending much time out there on that branch. It won't be long now before she joins her sister out of the nest and gone.
June 17, 2016 In addition to watching her sister fly around the branches of trees under the nest, #1 also spends her time exercising those wings. She is branching too. She has yet to go farther out on the branch, but she is definitely out of the nest.
June 16, 2016 While #2 did leave the nest on Tuesday, it appears to have been an accident. Yesterday there was no mistake that she officially took her first flight. The cam caught her flying from a branch on the right, under the nest, to a branch on the left. You can watch the video here.
June 15, 2016 The cam operator was looking for #2 on the branches below. I was able to catch a great close up of her.
June 14, 2016 Big excitement in the nest this morning. One eaglet was gone! Charles the cam operator moved the camera and zoomed in looking for eaglet #2 (yes, she was the one who fledged first). She was found in a lower branch through the leaves. Look carefully to find her. Now the big question is will she stay or figure out how to fly back to the nest?
Finally, the wind blew the leaves away and we got a great look at #2 on her perch.
June 13, 2016 Last year it seems turtle was a regular delivery to the nest. There were several empty shells in the nest by this time. Today the first turtle of this season was dropped off by Dad just before 9AM. It was funny to watch the eaglets with it. One grabbed it right away but wasn't sure what to do with it. She worked on it for some time while her sister looked on. We got some good close ups from the cam too.
Not sure what was going on here. Beak kisses and sister love?
June 7, 2016 It seems each day brings the eaglets closer to the edge of the nest. They seem content staying where they are. They do practice their wing flaps and hop/flying across the nest. No one has taken that next step of branching. I've seen one a close approach. Flapping, catching air, and landing very close to the "Y" branch with one foot on it. I don't think that counts as branching.
June 5, 2016 It seems lately that food deliveries happen in early morning. Today about 6:30 AM, Mom brought a fish into the nest. Both young eagles seem to take turns stealing food away from the adult at delivery. This, and learning how to hold and self feed, are part of the skills necessary to become a successful adult. In these screen shots, the fish has been stolen and the young eagle is mantling. That is when they "hide" the prey to protect it from others who would steal it away.
June 3, 2016 Lots of rain today. It came down pretty hard a few times too. When you are an eagle building your flying muscles and learning to fly, you don't let some rain slow you down. You keep practicing, rain or shine!
June 1, 2016 Happy first day of June. It is another warm and sunny day here in NJ. The eaglets seem happy to sit on the edge, looking out over their woods. Look at those feet and how close to the edge they are getting.
Amazing how small that nest can get when these eagles practice their wing flaps.
What are you looking at?
May 31, 2016 Today is the last day of May. June begins tomorrow and with that the final stages of life in the nest this year. The girls have been exercising those wings regularly. Mom visits the branch to show them their first landing spot when they do branch. Thankfully the leaves have finally come out on the nest tree to give those eagles some shade. May started out as a cold month, but quickly turned extra hot!
Close to the edge today. She almost has one foot on the branch.
May 27, 2016 Besides exercising their wings to get them flight strong, the eaglets are also beginning to take their first hops across the nest. All this is getting ready for the biggest step of all, flying!
May 25, 2016 2:30PM Mom is home and it's time for a branching lesson. This is the first step to taking that first flight. They flap their wings, developing the wing muscles. Then they take a hop and flap to a nearby branch.
Come on girls, this is how it's done.
May 24, 2016 8:30 AM Good morning Eagle Eyes. The girls are up and already looking out over their world. My friend Jim Wright who blogs for Duke Farms wrote an update about the nest, the girls, and what to expect in the near future. Read it here - blog There is a hint about what is coming too!
3:30PM First grade was amazing today at how big the eaglets are now. We were able to spot them at the edge of the nest. I like to think they are thinking about how they will soon be able to fly like the adults. Keep exercising those wings to make them strong. It won't be long before they take the first steps out onto the branches of the tree.
May 22, 2016 4:30PM After all the rain last night, the girls are finally dry again. Tuned in for a little wingercising. That wing span sure is big!
May 20, 2016 2:30PM While teaching today, I noticed the cam being zoomed in, out, and then looking around the area. Was able to get one quick screen shot. Nice close up of one of the eaglets.
May 19, 2016 12:30PM Mom flies into the nest with an eel for a late lunch. The nest sure is crowded when all 3 females are in it.
Are you going to eat that?
7:30PM Time for a little early evening wingercising!
May 18, 2016 1PM It is a beautiful sunny day today. The girls are spending lots of time up, close to the edge of the nest, looking around. Some good wingercising happening too. Wonder what a young ealge is thinking at a time like this?
Dad flew in a short time ago with a fish. He ate most. I think the girls were still full from a feeding just an hour before. Those eaglets are getting so big now, they are almost as big as Dad. Now that lunch is over, he's just hanging out with his girls.
Looking from another angle, I think the eaglets are bigger than Dad!
#1 decides to bite Dad's tail. She wants to get to the other side of the nest and he is in the way.
May 17, 2016 It looks like life has returned to normal after banding. The girls are wearing their new bands well. They get darker every day as their adult feathers grow. They are beginning to self feed, another step in growing up.
Time for an afternoon nap.
Mom comes in with a fish. The girls are so big, almost as big as Mom!
Time for some wingercising after lunch.
May 10, 2016 1:30PM All seems to be calm and back to normal in the nest now that THOSE PEOPLE have left. Thanks to a zoomed view, we can see that bright green NJ band on the leg of E42.
May 9, 2016 Today is the BIG day - banding day for these eaglets! Tune in at 9:30AM for the big event. I will be there helping to host the event! Thrilled beyond belief to be here in person today! Hope to get some great upclose photos for you all.
Here is a little family gathering at 6AM. They have no idea what is about to happen.
What an exciting day today! I had the extreme priviledge to attend not one, but two Bald Eagle bandings! The first was at Duke Farms. As winner of the lesson plan contest last year, I was to assist at that banding. Unfortunately it was cancelled. The tree climber had retired and his replacement was not quite experienced enough for the tricky climb. I did band at another nest close to my home, and one I observed from the road. (You should NEVER get close to a nest to disturb the eagles in their normal behavior. They could abandon the nest.) I was asked to attend this year's banding at Duke Farms assisting as host to the live stream. The sound is difficult to hear at times. We are asked to speak in quiet voices so as not to disturb the birds. The entire event was recorded and could be seen here if you missed it.
Duke Farms Bald Eagle Banding 2016
Thank you just does not seem like enough. So glad I could be a part of this once more. What a great experience for my and all students and people watching all over the world. Before people can conserve our natural world, they need to know it and care about it. Watching this, and other live cams, bring those animals to us in a very intimate and personal way. We can't help but care about and appreciate them. Thank you Duke Farms and Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ!
May 6, 2016 What a crazy start of the day I had today! Earlier in the week I received an invitation to attend banding of the bald eagle nest I assisted banding last year. That will happen Monday afternoon. I was looking forward to watching the live banding of the Duke Farms eagles in the morning with my RH students before heading off to band in the afternoon.
That changed with an early morning email from Duke Farms. I have been invited to host the live stream at this year's banding Monday morning at Duke Farms. Two bandings in one day! I'm not sure I can believe this. It will be a pleasure to work along side the biologists once more. The classes I will miss seeing on Monday will be in the lab on computers. We will be communicating in a different way. I look forward to "seeing" you all!
Look at those tail features coming in.
May 6, 2016 Yet another day of rain falling here in NJ. This weather makes for some wet eagles!
May 4, 2016 Another wet day in New Jersey! Been watching very wet eaglets lately. These little ones seem to get darker by the hour! Looking forward to banding on Monday. Duke Farms will stream it live on their website! Congratulations to Mrs. Kurzius who won the lesson plan contest this year!
This live cam has inspired yet another student. In his 1st grade classroom, he chose the Bald Eagles as his topic for his "All About" book. He researched and then reported what he found about Bald Eagles. Then he came to share it with me! Thanks to this researcher and his teacher too. Made my day.
May 3, 2016 Good rainy morning eagle watchers! These eaglets are getting so big that Mom can't keep them dry in the rain anymore. One nest full of wet eagles today!
April 27, 2016 Good morning Eagle Eyes! Mom brought a fish to the nest about 6:15 this morning for breakfast. Feeding is getting to be a dangerous thing for Mom. Those eaglets are getting big and they are hungry! It takes more fish to keep them filled. She barely gets a piece of meat free and before she turns completely to offer it to them, BOTH are reaching in to grab it from her! The screen shots are bit blurry because of all the action.
Dad comes home and tries to help feed. Mom is having none of that. She's got it all under control. He didn't stay long.
April 26, 2016 6:30-8:30 AM So many new things I'm noticing in this nest! Both eaglets are now wingercising regularly. It won't be long before the are grown and strong enough to begin flying lessons.
It is also very easy to see those adult feathers continueing to grow. They are beginning to look like a checker board. Look carefully at the eaglets neck. That crop is really full! Lots of good fishing from Mom and Dad. They keep their young well fed.
April 25, 2016 7:00 AM - Sometimes it looks like these two are having a conversation with each other. Don't you wonder what they are thinking when they sit beak to beak with each other? Look closely at those feathers. Can you see the dark spots? Those are the adult feathers beginning to come in. The gray down will remain, sort of like the long underwear of eagles. Those feathers will help keep them warm in the cold weather. The adult feathers cover the down to keep it dry.
April 23, 2016 8:30 AM - Sometimes it takes two parents to feed their young. As they grow and get bigger, it seems they become eating machines and can't get enough. If both parents feed, there is less competition for the food.
April 22, 2016 1:30 PM - It's another hot afternoon in the nest. With a full belly and hot temps, it is a good time to nap.
Mom is home and it's time for a snack!
After snack, everyone takes in the view over the field. Is Dad out there?
Time to begin exercising those wings to get them ready for flight!
April 20, 2016 6:30 AM - Early morning chill has these siblings huddling close together. When they stretch out, they sure a taking up space inside that nest.
7PM and Mom is home, hanging out with her chicks.
April 19, 2016 11:30-12:30PM Another hot day in New Jersey. The eaglets are becoming more active in the nest. They are also noticing the outside world. They climb up to the edge of the nest and look out at the world around them. Dad also came in to babysit a while.
6:30-7:40 PM Stretched out and relaxed with leftovers between them.
Mom and Dad eating while the little ones watch.
April 18, 2016 Lunchtime! Lots of fish and an eel in the nest today. Mom did more eating this time instead of feeding the eaglets. I really think she was teaching them how to feed themselves. It was very interesting to watch.
After lunch time to find the shade while Mom keeps an eye to the sky.
1:30-2 PM We had an early hot spring day today. The eaglets didn't go far away from the shade of a "Dadbrella" this afternoon.
5:30 PM Little ones are beginning to nibble on the fish themselves.
7:00 PM Naptime after a good dinner, and then some quiet time with Mom.
Wing stretch smacked Mom in the face. She was a bit surprise.
April 17, 2016 5:30 Warm afternoons and evenings are made for stretching out and trying to keep cool in the shade of a parent.
April 15, 2016 7:30 AM Breakfast is over and it is time to nap.
10:00 AM Time to look around the neighborhood.
Noon and everyone is home for lunch.
3:00 PM While 2nd graders were observing the live cam this afternoon and writing about their observations in our Google Classroom, they got a great treat. The DF cam operator zoomed out for a great tour and then back in for a some extreme closeups. The eaglets sure are getting big, and are now sporting their wooly down feathers.
Checking the cam cable on the tree.
Look at those feet and talons!
4:30 PM and time for a walk around the nest.
6:00 PM Stretched out for an after dinner nap.
10 PM Goodnight eagles
April 14, 2016 Almost 8:00 in the morning and one more look before school. I see both eaglets asleep. #1 has a wing stretched out and over top of its sibling.
9 AM and it's time for another meal.These siblings usually wait patiently for the next bite with little bonking. Mom delivers another bite.
1:30 PM Playtime for eaglets help develop skills they will need as adults.
3:30 PM and just hanging around the nest. Check out those feet!
6:30 PM and time for an after dinner nap. These are two full eaglets.
April 13, 2016 3:30-4 PM It was a beautiful day today! With no leaves on the trees, it gets hot up in that nest. The eaglets do not drink water, but they get all they need by eating the fish. Not all birds have one, eagles do. What is it? A crop. When they eat and their stomach fills up, they keep eating and the extra is stored in a bag-like crop. As your stomach digests and is emptied, food stored in the crop moves to the stomach. This helps birds fill up.
Everyone is home!
These eaglets sure are getting big! I think they are officially in the "Clown Feet" stage. Look at the size of those things!
When eagles get hot, they pant like a dog. Dad is trying to give them some shade.
April 12, 2016 Good morning! Last week a student asked how the eagles fish. Did they dive under the water? I explained that there is no diving, but they use their talons to reach out for the fish. I promised I would find a video to show them. This one came to me within days. It shows some great slow motion shots of those talons at work. Enjoy!
April 11, 2016 6:30 AM Love that ifrared cam. I can watch while I have my breakfast.
Hello Eagle Eyes! One of my 2nd graders visited me this afternoon to read a poem he wrote about the Eagles. He is a big live cam watcher, just like me. He said I could share the poem here. I hope you like it as much as I did.
"Every day the baby eagles get bigger.
A stinky fish lays in the nest.
Gianormous Dad sits in the nest.
Large babies sit in the nest.
Eagles are big.
Surprisingly the babies are so cute." -smt
Thank you very much, smt!
9:30 PM The morning might have been cool, but the day warmed up and it is a warm night. Looks like the little ones are going to bed tonight without any covers.
April 9, 2016 8:30 AM Keeping warm on another cold morning, but two little eaglets want to see what is going on around them. They are more steady on their feet these days. Speaking of those feet, they are getting big! The beaks and feet grow fast at this age. It will take their bodies more time to grow into them.
April 8, 2016 7AM Morning time and everyone is up. The first fluffy white feathers are beginning to change to the more wooly gray ones.
It is another cool morning and those warmer feathers are not fully grown yet. The eagletes still need the body warmth of the adults.
9:30 AM Time to for a little snack.
April 7, 2016 7:30 AM Time for breakfast and what will the eaglets be eating?
F-I-S-H of course! Look how many are in the nest today.
April 6, 2016 Good morning Eagle Eyes! Even though we have very cold early morning temperatures today, both chicks are up and peeking out from under Mom. They want out, but they still need Mom's body heat to keep them warm.
April 6, 2016 8 AM Everyone is up. Little ones deep in the bowl looking for more to eat.
Noon and it must be time for lunch! There is plenty of fish in the nest. Still white and fuzzy, but look at the size of the beak already.
April 5, 2016 Earlier in the morning Mom came flying into the nest with that great big fish. The eagle family will be eating fresh fish today!
10 AM Kindergartners were in the lab this morning just in time to see both Mom and Dad on the nest. They are sitting trying to keep those little ones warm on this very cold April morning. They also had a chance to see the little ones when one of the adults flew away. Lots of excitement in the Kindergarten class today!
1:50 PM Second graders were just in time to see an afternoon feeding today. Dad was in the nest giving both eaglets a snack. These eaglets are growing fast!
Many of you have been asking what bald eagles sound like since there is no sound on this live cam. I recorded some bald eagles eating fish and talking to each other on one of my trips to Alaska. Click on this very short video and turn up the sound. Listen carefully, you can hear them using two different kinds of calls.
7:30 PM Mom had flown back home with another big fish about 6 PM. She fed the chicks and then tucked them under. They didn't stay quiet for long before Mom was up and feeding both one more time before dark set in for the night.
Goodnight eagle family.
April 2, 2016 5:45 AM and these two are still sleeping, but not for long!
This position shows a little bonking about to happen. Bonking is a fight for who will be fed first and more. Big is about to hit Little on the head with that bill. I have watched Little fight back or start a bonk. Before anyone gets hurt, one will usually lay down and give the fight to the other. Remember, this is normal behavior.
With the strong winds the past couple days, watchers were worried about the eagles. Everyone seems to have made it through OK. The nest bowl is nice and deep so the little ones seem to be OK. The adults have it a little rougher. They can hold on to the nest with their talons to help them stay put on the nest. Late afternoon, the cam operator zoomed very close to the nest. Here is a great shot of Dad's bands, but also those big, sharp talons!
April 1, 2016 Tuned in today to see the eaglets enjoying a late afternoon snack. When Dad was done feeding, he tried to tuck them in for a nap but one is very wiggling.
Lookout with Dad.
Finally the end of the day has come and it is time to sleep. It was a warm day and even warmer night. These little ones will sleep out from under the "covers" tonight.
Look at those talons next to the eaglets!
March 31, 2016 Another busy day today. Today, I'm off to Lake Galena in Pennsylvania for some more hiking and camera work. I checked in on our favorite little eagles just in time for a dinner break. They are both eating well. There is some fighting going on, but not much and this is normal behavior.
I wondered if something flew over or by the nest during this dinner break. Both eaglets ducked down in the nest bowl at the same time. They stayed there for a couple seconds.
March 30, 2016 Busy day for me today. I'm off to the Great Swamp for a day of photography. Before I leave, I checked on the nest. It was breakfast time. Eaglet chicks do lots of fighting for their food. Since the age difference of these two is only 2 days, they both seem to do their share of "bonking" of the other. Mom and Dad usually do not stop this action. It is survival of the strongest so the species go on. This Mom and Dad are good at making sure each chick gets its share of food. Sometimes they both feed together, standing between the chicks. Both chicks are getting fed and it looks like they are both doing well.
March 29, 2016 When eaglets hatch, they still need the warmth from Mom and Dad. They are kept under the adult except for short periods of time to feed.
Up for Breakfast 7:30
Noon - Wow that's a big fish Dad brought home for lunch!