Bald Eagle nest 2016: Essex County!

February 11, 2016 in Bald Eagle

CF2C8875-001Made a pass by the Bald Eagle nest near the Merrimack River in western Essex County this morning.  The winds were out of the west at 12 MPH with gusts up to almost 20 MPH.  The temp was 24 degrees with wind chill making it feel around 11 degrees.  Noticed an adult approaching and then landing at the nest.  Another adult was already perched on the outside ridge of the nest in a large pine tree.  The approaching adult dropped off prey for other eagle and then took off in flight.  This is a nesting pair that has been at this nest location for past bunch of years.  Was just able to get a number of images that provided positive ID of the left leg gold band.  This band was placed on the bird just before it fledged.  This eagle was banded in June 2006 at North Watuppa Pond near Fall River!

4 photos:

Bald Eagle pair: North Andover

December 17, 2015 in Bald Eagle

CF2C9973-001Bald Eagles continue to be seen along the Merrimack River on the North Andover and Lawrence shorelines.  With some frequency, this pair is seen together perched on a limb about 60 feet over the river.  They seem very content and typically perch on the same limb in close proximity to one another!

Bald Eagles – mating pair?

December 1, 2015 in Bald Eagle

CF2C8638-001There continues to be speculation that a pair of Bald Eagles may be nesting in the area just east of Rt. 495 along the Merrimack River.  One of the biggest challenges is to locate a new nest location! Stay tuned for further updates!

Bald Eagle pair: North Andover

November 24, 2015 in Bald Eagle

CF2C8342-001This Bald Eagle pair is now seen with regularity along the Merrimack River.  A favorite perch location is on a snag that overhangs the river about 60 feet above water level.  The pair is seen often together on the same branch.  There remains a strong feeling that a yet to be identified nest is proximate to this location…..stay tuned!

Bald Eagles, adult pair

September 21, 2015 in Bald Eagle

What a nice surprise to find a pair of perched adult Bald Eagles overlooking the Merrimack River in North Andover!  These local Eagles return to this perch location each year around the end of September.  They are then seen off and on for the balance of the fall until the weather turns colder.  The great mystery is whether or not this is a local breeding pair with a next proximate to the perch location…..stay tuned!

4 Bald Eagles in a food fight!

February 3, 2015 in Bald Eagle

Had an amazing time yesterday morning in very cold temps, watching 4 Bald Eagles along the Merrimack River in Lawrence.   Arrived to find 2 adults quietly perched on tree branch overhanging slow flowing river below. Then one adult slowly departs to the west.

This is the Bald Eagle with the transmitter and antenna. This is a rehabilitated adult eagle that was banded and fitted w/ a non-solar transmitter and antenna prior to release near Auburn ME on 12/11/2005. According Maine Wildlife officials, that 2005 rehabbed bird was banded with one of the last-remaining Maine state orange color bands with a three digit code “E7E”. Due to incomplete records, this bird would be a minimum of 15 yrs old this coming spring!

As the adult flew just a bit upriver, clear eagle cries were heard nearby. After scanning in search of the bickering sounds, 2 subadults were observed on snow-covered ice near edge of river. Watched while they engaged in playful food fight. The adult approached and then joined in the fracas. Fascinating!

16 photo sequence posted:   Click “next” in upper right to advance frames!

Bald Eagle and subadult: transmitter & antenna & LEG BANDS!

January 13, 2015 in Bald Eagle

For those with an interest, a fascinating additional sighting on Tuesday of the transmitter/antenna adult Bald Eagle.  Photos include partial view of leg band codes, PTT transmitter, and antenna.  No clarity around possible origin of this bird and no clear way to whittle down the possibilities, with lots of expert input as you’ll see below.  Stopped by the Great Stone Dam again in Lawrence Tuesday morning and encountered both an adult and a subadult bald eagle on the ice!Looks like a gull had been ripped apart and they took turns.  Was able to watch and capture photos from the west side of the Great Stone Dam bridge.  The bridge is on South Broadway and is also known as Rt. 28.  The adult had a transmitter and a PTT antenna that sticks up……so fired away with camera hoping to possibly get band codes.  The adult looks like it has a possible “E” on the band.  I’m not able to clarify any further info.  The subadult looks like P/7 which has been seen and photographed previously.
Links to photos:
Adult feeding on gull, cleaning bill, walking ice, and drinking:   CLICK “NEXT” UPPER RIGHT TO ADVANCE
4 photos of subadult (2.5yrs) with P/7 leg band:
4 photos of adult leg band:
2 photos of PTT transmitter and antenna:
P/7 info from Tom French:
Bald Eagle
Band numbers:  0679-04089, and P/7 burnt orange
Banding date and Location:  06-12-12 – MA, Essex Co., Amesbury, Powwow River (tributary of the Merrimack River).
Sex:  Possible female based on size compared to sibling (7.25 lb)
Siblings: P/6 (5.75 lb)
No previous band reports
From Charlie Todd, Coordinator of Endangered/threatened Species in Maine:
A few of our orange anodized bands deployed on eagles during 1984-1987 (N = 249 eagles) still show up.  Most are faded to pale gold but at least one I’ve handled was absolutely colorless.  As you know, anodized aluminum bands of that era were not very colorfast.  However, only one bird with an orange color band (code = E7E) was fitted with a PTT satellite unit.  It was a rehab bird released near Auburn ME on 12/11/2005) and the transmitter failed years ago.  A few of the 1984-87 eagles had VHF transmitters (with the long floppy antenna dangling over the tail) but that first photo shows an erect antenna typical of PTT satellite units.  Quebec has used orange color bands & some PTT transmitters in recent years.  Check with Charles on possibilities from there.  Best – Charlie

Charlie Todd                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Endangered & Threatened Species Coordinator                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Maine Dept. of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife

From Charles Maisonneuve, bird biologist in Quebec,

There are no numbers on the bands we use to mark bald eagles, only a combination of 2 letters, one over the other.  If you are sure the code ends with a 5, then it’s not a bird banded in Québec.

Charles Maisonneuve, biologiste

Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs

Direction de la gestion de la faune du Bas-Saint-Laurent

Any and all further input and comments most welcome as we gather more information.  These were best of the limited band photos!

Bald Eagle pair perched overlooking Merrimack!

December 12, 2014 in Bald Eagle

What a treat to find a pair of adult bald eagles perched close together overlooking the Merrimack River just east of Rt.495 in Lawrence.  They were perched on an overhang about 70 feet above water level.  This is a very regular perch location, but recently only with single adult eagle sightings.  The skies were heavy overcast with light rain, fog, and mist.  Visibility was under 4 miles and winds were light out of the north at about 6-8 miles per hour.  The vantage point was from the ball field located off of Incinerator Road next to the Essex County correctional facility.


Bald Eagle adults in flight!

October 27, 2014 in Bald Eagle

The pair of adult Bald Eagles continue to be seen along the Merrimack River just west of Rt. 495 between Lawrence and North Andover.  They are normally seen in the mornings more so than in the afternoons at this time of year.  This morning, they departed their perch and proceeded with a number of lazy aerial loops before heading downriver to the east!  A joy to watch them in flight!!

Bald Eagles copulation sequence

April 9, 2014 in Bald Eagle

While checking on a pair of nesting Bald Eagles along the Merrimack River, observed the male launch into flight from a perch on back side of the nest tree. He made a large aerial loop and then seemed to go into a stall above a taller nearby pine tree. Then he began to descend with legs and talons outstretched while making loud calls. To my surprise, a female was atop the pine tree and bowing forward. Up until now, I’m under the impression that at least one chick has hatched and should be large enough to be seen fairly soon, based on prior feeding observations. The bald eagles engaged in a copulation sequence that lasted just a few seconds. Found some commentary on the web that perhaps explains the behavior:

1. Sometimes the male initiates the act, but the male must be careful approaching the larger female, and occasionally, the female injures or even kills the male (Wolfe and Bruning, 1997). In most cases, the female initiates mating. She bows her head, spreads her legs, and raises her tail. The male then approaches the female with his tail raised. The female emits a single-note call, and the male clenches his talons so he won’t hurt his mate and then climbs on her back. He lowers his tail and cloaca to meet the female’s as she raises her tail and cloaca. Copulations occur often during the breeding season but slow down once the eggs are laid and stop after the eggs hatch (Wolfe and Bruning, 1997) .

2. In the book “The Bald Eagle,” eagle biologist Mark Stalmaster says, “Copulation takes place in as little as five to fifteen seconds, but can last one to two minutes, and may occur several times a day. Most copulations occur from six days before to three days following the laying of the first egg. Sex is more common in the early morning hours. The sex act, however, has been observed after construction of the nest, and might even happen outside the breeding season.”

For those with an interest, more sequence photos posted:

Click “next” in upper right corner to advance frames!