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.

Bald Eagle nest, Essex County #1

March 13, 2017 in Bald Eagle

_W7I3858-002For Bald Eagles, eggs must be kept warm, shaded from harsh sunlight, and protected from predators. In addition to incubating, the eagles also need to turn the eggs about once an hour to ensure that the eggs are evenly heated and that the embryos don’t stick to the insides of the shells. When turning the eggs, the eagles often balled up their talons to prevent their sharp claws from puncturing the eggs. The eggs are rolled over by either parent about every hour to 2 hours during the incubation period. The purpose of this roll is to make sure that the lighter yolk does not rise to the egg surface and the delicate blood vessels that cover the yolk touch and stick to the shell surface, killing the developing chick.The brood patch is an area of bare skin on the bird’s breast that is formed when the bird removes its own feathers. By removing the feathers the parent bird allows his/her body heat to better reach the eggs and keep them at the proper temperature.

The female was observed late afternoon rising above the level of the nest while she was doing her egg turning thing, providing nice looks!

Bald Eagle nest: Essex County

March 7, 2017 in Bald Eagle

_W7I3326-001This new Bald Eagle nest may well be used for the first time in 2017.  The nest was completed in the fall of 2015 and the Eagle pair spent a great deal of time around the nest in the spring of 2016.  But it appears that no eggs were ever laid.  This “playing house” is not unusual among  a newly formed pair of Eagles.

It has been stated for many years that a Bald Eagle pair will mate for life, but if one partner dies, or disappears, the other will if lucky find another mate. A newly bonded pair may work several years on a nest before actually breeding. They may desert one nest site and start again somewhere else, usually within 1/2 mile. In Eastern Massachusetts, bald eagles will begin to nest sometime in February or March.  Each nesting pair will spend a great amount of time preparing the nest before any egg is laid. The successful nest is generally located in a large tree, within one mile from water, either a lake or river, where adequate food is available.

Bald eagle nests are generally found from (50 to 120 feet) above the ground, in a tall, sturdy tree. It takes at least two weeks for a pair of eagles to build their nest.

A typical bald eagle nest will range from 6-10 feet in diameter and about 6 to 10 feet high. The nest cavity, where the eggs are laid, will be about 12 to 16 inches in diameter and about 4 inches deep.

A pair of eagles, once established, may use the same nest several times over a period of years. Each year more materials are added to the nest, which increases the size of the nest each year that it is used. Nests weighing up to 2 tons have been found.  Stay tuned!

Bald Eagle: Merrimack River, Lawrence

February 27, 2017 in Bald Eagle

_W7I2553-001Always be on the lookout as you pass favorite locations, cuz you just never know why you might see!  For the past many years, Bald Eagles have been seen perched along the Merrimack River across from the NX Stage inc. corporate headquarters on Merrimack Street in Lawrence.  But since the recent park went in the Bald Eagles have for the most part avoided this location as a popular winter perch.  On this bright sunny Monday morning, it was a wonderful surprise to encounter this adult Bald Eagle perched and enjoying the morning sun overlooking the Merrimack River!