3 Bald Eagles: Merrimack River, Lawrence

December 5, 2017 in Bald Eagle

_W7I1194-001Two adult Bald Eagles perched along Merrimack River, 125 yards apart, and then a third adult flies in from the west, loops a number of times and lands on a proximate perch, while one of other eagles takes off downriver; quite a nice show!  The number of wintering Bald Eagles along the Merrimack continues to grow as the weather gets colder.

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Bald Eagle perched Merrimack River, North Andover

December 4, 2017 in Bald Eagle

_W7I1120-001Another bright sunny morning, clear skies, winds light from NE under 5MPH, and temps in mid-30’s.  Observed this adult Bald Eagle on a regular perch overhanging the Merrimack River in North Andover.  This perch location is a regular one at this time of year.  It is just down river from where Sutton Pond empties into the Merrimack River, to the east of the Rt. 495 overpass.

Bald Eagle: Merrimack River

November 16, 2017 in Bald Eagle

_W7I7508-001In these late fall days, Bald Eagles are seen both solo and in pairs along the Merrimack River in Lawrence and North Andover.  They perch high up on branches that overhang the river.  They tend to select locations that provide excellent visibility up and down the river.  Bald eagle winter roosting sites typically contain open water, ample food, limited human disturbance, and protection from predators. Preferred roosts are usually coniferous or deciduous super-canopy trees.

This adult Bald Eagle did have leg bands.  They were only visible later when the Eagle departed in flight.  Stay tuned!

Bald Eagle Essex County nest #2

April 11, 2017 in Bald Eagle

_W7I4186-001A stunning morning with cobalt blue skies, bright sun, winds from the south at 8MPH, and temps in low 60’s.  Observed  a beautiful adult Bald Eagle near an occupied nest, taking a break while the mate incubated eggs.  Hatch time for this nest is right about now and we should see signs of feeding young over next few days!

Bald Eagle adult perched Merrimack River

April 4, 2017 in Bald Eagle

_W7I1111-001On a cloudy overcast morning with light rain, winds from the East at 16MPH, gusting 25MPH and temps reaching 40F, was surprised to find an adult Bald Eagle perched in a tree overlooking the Merrimack River.  For most local Bald Eagles, it is nesting time and time for protecting the nest habitat unless not there yet!  This perched Eagle was in North Andover seen from the Incinerator Rd ballfield complex next to the Essex county Pre-Release Center in Lawrence, MA.

Bald Eagle: female on nest

April 3, 2017 in Bald Eagle

_W7I0866-001Under bright sun, blue skies, light wind and temps close to 60F, was able to observe this female Bald Eagle who has been incubating for the past month.  At this point in calendar, likely use has hatched at least one egg and the young eaglet is now growing!

Bald Eagles around nest

March 30, 2017 in Bald Eagle

_W7I9698-001Made an morning visit to Bald Eagle nest and observed both male and female both perched and in flight around the nest while sitting and watching from a distance under clear skies, bright sun, light winds from NW and temps in mid-thirties.  Both adult Eagles were seen with leg bands but unable to make any positive ID on the leg band codes during this visit!

Bald Eagle Essex County nest #1: with fish

March 23, 2017 in Bald Eagle

_W7I7590-001Sixty to ninety percent of a bald eagle’s diet consists of fish. The birds generally scavenge dead fish, although they will catch live fish as well. The bald eagle is an opportunist and will sometimes steal fish from an osprey or crow. But ospreys have been observed stealing fish from young eagles as well. The bald eagle uses several fishing techniques. A favorite method is to perch in a tree and watch for a fish swimming in open water nearby, and then swoop down to capture it. If a suitable tree is not available near the water for perching, the birds may also fly out over open water looking for fish below. In winter, they may perch on the edge of ice near open water and wait for fish to float by, or to wash up on the ice.  After catching a fish the eagle fly back to a perching tree to eat it, bring it back to the nest, or if the fish is small enough, swallow the fish whole while the bird is in flight. Occasionally, eagles will carry a larger fish they have caught back to the ice or to the shore to be eaten. In over 80% of their feeding, wintering bald eagles along the Merrimack River, feed upon small fish they can eat while flying.

Bald Eagle, Essex County nest #2: female on eggs

March 23, 2017 in Bald Eagle

_W7I7236-001A lovely sight to observe this female Bald Eagle on next with eggs.  She is hunkered down in the nest and takes infrequent trips away from nest for quick bathroom breaks and feeding runs. Throughout the 33-35 day incubation period, one parent is always on the nest, not only to keep the eggs warm but to protect them from squirrels and gulls which would relish the chance to break open and eat the eagle’s eggs!

Bald Eagle nest Essex #2: pair at nest

March 15, 2017 in Bald Eagle

_W7I4072-001Observed the male perched adjacent to the nest with the female hunkered down after the big snowfall.  Incubating eagles will sit on the nest almost continuously.  The eggs need to be maintained at a temperature close to 105 degrees Fahrenheit.  Adults share incubation duties. Nest exchanges may occur after only an hour but usually take several hours between exchanges. Frequently the incoming adult brings a new branch or fresh vegetation for the nest, then the incubating adult carefully stands and takes off while the other settles over the eggs and rakes nesting material up against its body.  During nest exchange adults may both be in nest or sometimes one adult may leave eggs unattended for a few minutes before the other adult arrives and resumes incubation.  The first nest exchange of the day often occurs at or before sunrise, with next exchanges following every 1-4 hours.