Friday, May 12, 2017

Nesting Season is Here!

House Wren

A few weeks ago, I hung up a birdhouse in our yard that I had found in our basement.  I had no idea if anything would use it.  Almost instantly,  I began seeing activity around the birdhouse.  There was some Black-capped Chickadees that checked it out.  The other was a wren that I later discovered was a House Wren.  Well, it looks like the House Wren has claimed it!

It has filled the box with sticks as you can see from the above picture.

The House Wren is known to be a very fierce little bird.  They chase off much larger birds from nest boxes and sometimes drag out hatchlings or eggs too.  This is it staring me down for getting too close to the box.

What a fun little bird and they have beautiful songs.   Here is it singing away from above it's new nesting box.  I'm looking forward to checking in on it's progress during the season.  Happy Birding and enjoy your nesting backyard birds!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Eagle Report for 5/4

Two Nests and Two Differing Reactions

I have always been fascinated by wildlife behavior especially in raptors.  How will they react to a certain situation is intriguing.  While monitoring Bald Eagle nests, I have seen many defenses of the nests by adult pairs.  Sub-adult Bald Eagles are a large portion of the intruders.  They have not yet reached adulthood to have a nest of their own and they are always looking for an easy meal.  They will take anything from an unguarded nest including an eaglet and any food left in the nest.    

Two nests separated by a few miles took a very different approach to the nuance of sub-adult Bald Eagle intruders.

If you have read the blog for awhile, you might have remembered this drama from last season.  The first nest seems to constantly have intruders around the nest.  The above pictures is of one of the adults chasing off one of the young eagles that got too close to the nest.  The adult hit the sub-adult 4 or 5 times while chasing it.  Obviously, the intruder had angered the pair and they wanted to make sure they proved their point.   The other member of the pair was back at the nest protecting the eaglets while this was going on.  They are a well tuned machine when it comes to defending their nest and nest territory.  No intruder goes by the nest without at least being warned to stay away.

At the second nest further downstream, the above young eagle soared and circled near the nest.  The adult perched nearby paid no attention to the intruder and it didn't even call out to warn the other eagle.  There was no sign of alarm at all.  The below picture was the reaction of the adult eagle.

Why would two nests close to each other and most likely dealing with the same group of young eagles react so vastly different?  It is hard to say for sure but it is very interesting.  We will see if the reaction from the past weekend by both nests is a consistent behavior or if they react differently in different situations. I am excited to see more... Stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Eagle Report for 4/11

Eaglets are Here!

The eagle pairs in the Capital Region of New York are busy tending to their young eaglets.  I finally got a glimpse of a fuzzy head this weekend!  This is one of the most critical times in the nesting season.  The small hatchlings are too young to regulate their own temperature so the adults continue to incubate them similar to the what they do for the eggs.  The difference is a slightly higher position that allows the eaglets space to breathe.  While one of the adults is incubating, the other is hunting for food for the rapidly growing eaglets.  They return to the nest and rip off smaller pieces of the prey and feed them to the eaglets.  During one of the returns to the nest on Saturday, the male got a face full of eaglet poop! When they are older they poop over the side of the nest to keep the nest clean.  Oh the wonders of parenthood!

At this stage, there is an adult on the nest typically at all times.  The eaglets are too small to defend themselves and can be taken by other birds of prey, Raccoons, and other predator that can access to the nest. Here is an story of a nest defense from last season.

Quick update on the Red-shouldered Hawk pair

I have not seen much from the Red-shouldered Hawk pair lately.  I have heard some calling from the woods so I think they have eggs in the nest and the female is busy incubating.  In about a month they should have hatchlings.  More updates coming as their season continues.

Happy Birding and enjoy the more Spring-like weather!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Hawk Report for 3/23

Still No Eggs yet...

Yesterday, The Red-shouldered Hawk pair was perched together. This morning, The pair was perched again together for a short time.  The nesting season for them still hasn't started.  It should be soon though.  I believe that they got started last season in late-March or early-April.  Once the female lays eggs, she will be incubating for about 30 days.  A little bit shorter than their larger cousin the Bald Eagle.  While a lot of Bald Eagle pairs share the incubating duties, Red-shouldered Hawk females do about 95% or more of the incubating.  The male will be busy getting food for both them.  She likes to "scream" at him from the nest and I have heard this a number of times overt the nesting season.  

I have always been a little hesitant to name nesting raptors.  I know it's pretty common on the nest cams but I just haven't ever done it for any of the Bald Eagle pairs that I have watched.  Should I name the Red-shouldered Hawk pair? What do you think?

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Hawk Report for 3/16

It's Almost Nesting Season

I have been seeing a lot of the Red-Shouldered Hawk pair of late.  Especially, the female has been perched in a tree in the sun almost every morning. Right after this shot,  I saw them copulating so it shouldn't be too much longer before they have eggs.  When that happens, the female is rarely off the nest and I usually hear her calling for her mate from deep in the woods where the nest is located. 

After the 2 feet of snow in the recent storm, the pair was perched together.

Luckily, They haven't started their nesting season but it might be tricky to locate prey in all this snow. The Bald Eagles aren't as lucky.  All the pairs are incubating eggs and it had to a difficult few days for them.  I'm hoping they all made it through and will have eaglets soon.  Stay tuned  for an eagle report soon.

Happy Birding!  

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Florida Trip Part 2

Pelicans and Dolphins

The weather is warming up lately and it makes me think about our Florida trip.  On our last full day in Treasure Island, FL, I had my best beach walk ever.  The Brown Pelicans were very busy fishing along with the Ospreys and terns that I wrote about in one of my last posts.  This bird has a special spot in my heart.  The Brown Pelican was another one of the poster child for the effects of DDT and just like the Bald Eagle, they have recovered amazingly well.  

Then I noticed something, The pelicans seemed to be attracted to a certain area where I caught one glimpse of a dorsal fin and then another, and then another.  The Bottlenose Dolphins were fishing too.

I think there was about a half dozen dolphins hunting right off the beach.

The pelicans were using the dolphins to locate fish and round them up.  Then they would....

SPLASH DOWN!!!  It was really fun watching these two kinds of animals fish and indirectly work together to catch their breakfast.  Treasure Island beaches are one of the best spots to view Bottlenose Dolphins in Florida.  Who needs to take a boat tour when you get up early and get a little lucky walking the beaches?

Happy Birding! 

Friday, February 10, 2017

Feathers on Friday for 2/10

Snowy Egret 

Happy Friday!  It is pretty ironic that I found a bird named Snowy Egret in Florida while trying to get out of the snow and cold of New York.  But this smaller egret does migrate south and is a common site around the beaches of Florida all year-round.  

Showing of it's yellow "socked" black feet

I had a lot of fun watching this guy forage in the surf.  It kept running away from the waves when they came in.  

Then in between waves, It looked for something to eat.

Have a great weekend and I hope all those in the Northeast have gotten dug out after the big storm.   Happy Birding!  

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