Monday, April 18, 2011

Mid-April Update


Many thanks for all of your posts and questions! As many have alluded to we have been observing some unusual behaviors at this nest over the past few weeks. The short of it is that despite our great view of this nest it can be very challenging to determine exactly what is occurring at the nest and around the area of the nest.

It is also very difficult to identify individual eagles when birds are not marked with unique bands or tags.

As for those of you who are confused or wanting clarification about the 'rampant speculation' on the chat bar on ustream. My apologies. I would recommend that you join us on the BRI online community located at this link, rather than the ustream chat bar. This is a great place to catch up on happenings and post photos of your observations.

Additional response to comments:
(1) Eagles have not nested here since 2007.
(2) We will not be able to determine the outcome of this nesting effort until we observe chicks or fail to see chicks by May 1 (realistically, this is a late hatch date based on March 24 egg-laying).
(3) The possibility of an eagle laying an egg several weeks after a first clutch is very low but as a biologist I have learned that nothing is impossible.
(4) It is not unusual for eagles to tend a nest past the likely hatch date even when the eggs are no longer viable.

I hope this clarifies some of the questions that you have put forth. I think that it is important to recognize that observation and not speculation is the first step of the scientific process. I know that I remain at the observational level and appreciate the opportunity to learn what will happen next. i remain cautiously optimistic.

Have a great day and enjoy the webcam.

Patrick Keenan
BioDiversity Research Institute

Friday, April 01, 2011

Turmoil at the nest!

An eagle turns egg(s) at the NextEra Maine Eaglecam1

What a week it has been for those following the activity on the NextEra Maine Eagle Cam 1! Here is a quick summary:

Monday: Concern over the eggs being left for nearly an hour on a cool, windy day.
Wednesday: Chainsaw sounds and what appeared to be a spring cleanup occurring in proximity to the microphone and nest (along with some whistling at the eagles by a person).
Thursday: An attack on the incubating male by an eagle. Watch a video of the attack posted to the online community by laurad.
Friday: Late season nor'easter is dumping heavy, wet, snow across Maine and the webcam is snowed in.

I think that all of this activity provides a true picture of what eagles face as they establish a territory and lay eggs to rear young. And that is just that start of the long road that eagle offspring face as they develop over the course of 8-12 weeks until they are prepared to leave the nest for the first time.

I do hope that we can all keep a positive spirit amid the challenges that these particular birds are facing now. Many thanks for all the posts and for more frequent updates I would direct you to our online community where there is a discussion forum. You might also seek us out on Facebook. Please learn more about eagles and BRI's research.

Responses to blog posts:

My apologies for not posting your comments sooner. We have to manually review comments because we receive so much spam here. Thanks for all your comments

Are these the same eagles that nested in 2006 and 2007?

Because the eagles at this nest are not individually marked there is no sure way of know if these are the same eagles that have used this nest in the past my sense is that they are not. Observations over the past few years suggest that the nest may have been overtaken by a new pair or at least a new female in 2009. This is somewhat speculative but members of the online community have provided evidence (dark spots at the base of the females tail) to support this.

What about the eagles at the BRIeaglecam-Central Maine whose nest was destroyed during a storm last fall?

I am pleased to report that in February a nearby resident did report that she had observed eagles carrying sticks in the same direction toward an area about a quarter of a mile from the original nest. Then just two weeks ago I gott another message indicating that the birds were observed perching in trees within 100 yards of there old nest and carrying sticks. I am hoping for another report soon.

That is all I have for now. Hopefully this snow will clear and we will have a view of the nest soon. Please keep in touch.

All the Best,
Patrick Keenan
Outreach Director
BioDiversity Research Institute