We are now in our sixteenth year of researching the majestic bald eagle. It has been an amazing journey. It is not just about capturing these majestic raptors in photographs but the knowledge we have acquired through observation. Being up close and personal with the bald eagles as they interact with each other and with other species has given us great insight into their lives. We love sharing these experiences with others…hoping to instill in them the need to keep these raptors protected even though they were removed from the Threatened and Endangered List. We need to remain ever vigilant regarding our environment and the toxic pollutants that can threaten all of our wildlife.
Eagle Research Blind January 29, 2017
The wind is just picking up out of the north/northwest at 8:00am with temperatures around 19 degrees.
The crows started waking up and moving around just when we left the house…and of course the snow started to fall.
First eagle….an adult in at 8:15 followed shortly by some chattering and a 2nd year eagle…same tree. Unfortunately a truck went by and spooked the 2nd year which flew to the north.
I had so much fun with my eagle for almost an hour. The first attempt it made when I was watching a red-tail get chased by the crows…the second attempt was when I bent over to turn off the heater. Once it even tried to get out of my line of vision by going in the tree to the south…but I could still watched it. It made at least six attempts to fly over. Finally it nabbed something further out….ate a bit or two then left it. It finally came in…got a big piece and flew out to the middle of the field to eat it. It’s like it wants someone else to come and try to take it. The 2nd year is out flying back and forth to the west…and it’s only 9:30!!
And there are at least two hundred crows and a few gulls in, too. The crows are fun to watch. One had a piece of meat and was strutting around like…do you want this? Chase me. A vehicle goes by…they all fly up….then down.And sometimes they just decide to fly…one trying to get the better position in the lineup?
I’m a happy girl. I just got some nice shots of the leucistic crow.
We have a little hawk sitting in a tree to the southeast of the blind…no wonder the crows are just sitting in the trees. Interesting. They usually harass them. But it finally flew off and they all starting dropping back on the ground at 10:30am.
Eagle finally finished eating what it wanted and is now back in the tree at 10:30. Chattering…I looked out and a 4th year was swooping around the field. It didn’t take anything but went back to a tree in the woods to the west. Oh and I got some more sweet shots of Leucy.
Busy morning…just the way I like it!
More chattering….the female landed in the field…then the crows were screaming the red-tail back in tree to southeast. Then more chattering the 2nd year across the road…then the female took off to the northwest. All before 11:00am. The male took off after the female. The 4th year showed back up flying over the field. The 2nd year took off after it…and they both are soaring to the west in the heavy snow. Hawk still in the tree. What a morning!!
Then I had the young red-tail in the tree just to the south of the blind…but it finally got spooked and left heading south. So this is the first time since 8:15 that I have been without a raptor in my sights…and it’s 11:15. Cool. Correction…a minute later the 4th year came in landed in the tree then went and nabbed the piece of meat the male had been eating. It took it out in the field farther yet. Buggers.
Well I was photographing my Leucy when I looked out and the 4th year was in the tree….and a 1st year on the ground. I got a quick shot before it took a hunk of meat to the tree.The crows had a grand time harassing it. They were puling bark off and dropping it trying to get the eagle to drop down and leave the real treat for the fake treat.
Then the 4th year chased a crow to the field to the south…eventually coming back to the tree followed by a 2nd year. Finally the 2nd year chased a crow followed by the 4th year. They were swooping and chasing each other…out of my line of fire. Eventually they were all back in the tree till a car slowly went by and spooked them at 12:30pm.But the 1st and 2nd year are now back in the tree.
Oh my gosh just before 1:00pm I had the 4th year come back into the tree with the 1st and 2nd year the an adult…then another young one! Five eagles in one tree. Awesome. But it was short lived…the 4th year and 2nd year heading back west to the woods. But hopefully haven’t seen the last of them. And it is snowing like crazy. We are under a winter weather advisory. The adult just flew to the south. I think the crows are messing around down there. The two 1st years are still in the trees and the crows are making their way back to me at 1:30pm. Still snowing. One young took off after a crow to the west then the adult joined it. 1st year came back to another tree…then the adult came back.
The crows disappeared…an adult red-tailed hawk appeared…in the tree by the mini barn. One of the 1st years left…the one that has already eaten. The female adult and other 1st year that are still here. I don’t believe either has eaten…at least not here. It is 2:00pm. All eagles are now gone…to the north. Maybe red-tail will come in…nope it took off in the same direction. Oh well.
An adult back at 2:20pm. Then gone in ten minutes…but young red-tail in to the south of the blind. Red-tail gone…eagle back. Looks like time for games. Oh my goodness. I looked again and a 1st year was on the ground. It grabbed something and took off. The adult attacked. Great action shots. The young one 943\dropped the meat. The adult left the young one went back to the trees. Another young one made a circle around landed in a tree…then took off to the northwest at 2:50pm. The adult back on the ground grabs the meant and takes off chased by the young. Awesome. Then they disappear. Young red-tail in tree by mini barn took off southeast as a 2nd year shows up. Just 3:00pm. 2nd year left. 3:30 fly over by adult then the 2nd year showed back up. It ain’t over yet.
The 2nd year flew out into the field and landed…then a 1st year dropped down. The adult still in the tree. Finally the two young ones came back to the trees with the adult at 3:40pm. Red tail just landed in the tree to the south. The adult is trying to stir up the crows to carry off something. It just flew over the house…down the road and back. Hawk and the adult are gone at 4:00pm but the 1st and 2nd years still in the tree. Lots of crows…including Leucy. A few minutes later the adult is back chattering at the 2nd year.
Another 1st year came in but got knocked out by the adult. Its headed north…for now. The 2nd year went way out in the field to sit. The other adult came in knocked off the other adult they went soaring to the northwest. Two other eagles soaring around. The 2nd year finally flew back into the tree with a frozen hunk of something…at 4:30pm still tons of crows, too. Another more mature adult just came in harassed the 2nd year. They both flew and lost the hunk of meat. Now both back in the tree….along with the one 1st year. What an amazing day…just like old times.
The 1st year finally went down on the ground and retrieved the mat…then pursued by the 2nd year. It dropped the meat but still chased each other now back in the tree. The crows all just went ballistic probably a hawk. It is now 4:35pm. Starting to snow again and getting dark. Hopefully the little buggers will leave soon…so I can call it quits. It’s been an absolutely amazing day….just like when we were at Jim’s. But we definitely need winter to be here to bring the raptors in. Finally a little after 5:00pm my last eagle left. Perfect day…as it starts to snow again.
Eagle Research Blind Journal January 15, 2017
Clear skies at 7:30am….it’s going to be a beautiful day. Unfortunately I can only stay out a few hours. I have to cover my shift at BAC at noon. This is the first day out in the blind for 2017. Unfortunately we haven't had enough raptor action to warrant going out in the blind...till today.
The temperature in the teens with just a slight breeze. The first eagle arrives before 8:00am across the road. The crows land on the ground by 8:10am. That’s awesome…hope that means they will be active before I have to leave around 11:00am.
Michael had eight eagles in yesterday afternoon after putting out fresh meat scraps. Hopefully some of them will return this morning. Time will tell.
Second adult eagle lands in the tree across the road at 8:20am….lots of chattering. 8:40 one flew to the southeast…a third arrived. The other adult flew to the northwest…so back to one adult eagle across the road. The crows are not as active…sitting in trees. Third one took off to the east a few minutes later.
I looked out to the west and found the eagles all flying around in the field…behind the hill.
Michael spread some scraps…about 45 minutes latera crow took off with a piece…dropped it and in came an adult…it flew around…dropped and nabbed a piece. It went into the tree. Seconds later the female came back in trying to get her mate to share…to no avail. The female finally left headed north toa tree in the field. There a 3rd year was hiding. Finally the male took off and knocked the 3rd year out of the tree. It then flew to the east…all before 10:00am.
I found the first pair of eagles were sitting way back in the sugar bush…just watching and biding their time.
All of sudden both of the eagles from the north came back into the tree. Then they played a little musical tree…flying over and trying to get the crows to fly off with something. I find it so comical that they will work that hard to get something that is practically right in front of them.
Well just before time to leave my eagles both made lovely fly overs for me to get some nice shots. I hate to leave but I was very thankful for the time I did have with them.
All Photographs Copyrighted by Michael & Teresa McGill/McGills Nature in Motion-Unauthorized use prohibited