While I was at work yesterday Michael said we had ten eagles in at one time in the trees. Even the red-tailed hawk was on the ground at the same time as a couple of the eagles. There were still three hanging around when I got home. So I did get to shoot a few pics.
Today I got up extra early to get into the blind. Too many eyes watching the carrion pile. I need to sneak in before daylight. Hopefully I get even half as many as were here yesterday.
It is two degrees no wind but cloudy at 6:50am. The crows started moving around at 7:20…sitting in the trees across the road.
I have an adult eagle in the tree across the road before 8:00am. First crow on the ground shortly after that.
8:20 and the 4th year eagle from last night is in the tree by the mini barn and the red-tailed hawk pair is in the tree across the road.
Eagle chattering at 8:30…another did a flyby then went back into Luella’s wood where another adult was sitting in the trees.
The crows and ravens are being hesitant. Michael put out fresh carrion…so they are checking it out. They are on one of the new carcasses. A couple of gulls are screaming around at 9:00am.
Dang my eagle is gone…for now. I can still see at least one sitting back in Luella’s woods.
By 9:00 I have an adult in the east tree and one across the road. The crows and a raven were on the carrion…now everything just sitting in the trees. The feel like temp is now minus three with northeast winds picking up.
The critters are being very dull. Three gulls flew in…picked and poked…flew off…so the crows moved away from the carcass. Everything is just sitting and it’s 9:45am.
Dang…the eagle across the road flew to the east around 10:00am. Everything is still sitting in the trees. The crows will come down for a few minutes then back to the trees.
Heard an eagle screaming…one in the maple in the front yard! Another eagle is back across the road. So I have three in the trees at 10:30.
All three eagles are in the same tree across the road…chattering at 10:50. Nothing is on the carrion right now. Dang…now two have flown…including the one that sat for over an hour and a half in the east tree. Yeah…one is back. Hopefully that means they are just stretching their wings. RTH in the east tree now.
The eagles just scream at each other and the RTH just sits. But it is getting brighter out…if they would just come in!! It is now 11:30am.
Three RTH knocking one out of the tree and took its places…one flew…one in a pine tree. Now two RTH in the same tree next to each other. Two eagles still screaming across the road at 11:40am. Now one RTH flew.
The RTH flew across to sit with the eagles. One eagle flew but returned. Now at 12:30pm the third eagle is back and sitting in the tree by the mini barn. The crows and ravens are finally getting more dispersed around the carrion pile. Hopefully that will attract the eagles. Maybe it’s all the new carcasses Michael put out. But who knows. These raptors are never predictable. Yesterday all kind of activity today hardly any…maybe tomorrow will be better. It’s nature.
One adult and young eagle in the east tree at 12:30pm. The adult chased the young off. Then flew into the mini barn tree. Then it flew. They are moving around….I’m trying to keep track of them but very hard. Hopefully this means they are getting ready to come in.
Well the juvie is back in the east tree but the adults have flown off. What a pain they are being today. It is now 1:00pm. The crows just all left…probably chasing a hawk. So it’s just me and the juvie.
Now at 1:30 the RTH is across the road with an adult eagle and the juvie is still in the east tree. But the crows have now come back and are surrounding it.
2:00pm and it’s just me and the juvie in the east tree. The crows have all gone off to chase something…again. Then back to sit in the trees to the north of me.
Oh my goodness!!! I had the red-tails screaming around at 2:20pm. One came on the carrion…then the first year eagle joined it. Then chaos ensued. An adult eagle came in and fought the RTH. It was the Queen. A 3rd year and another adult, Screecher, joined them. The RTH pair swooped around screaming. The eagles all jockeyed for position. One of the RTH returned and was chased off by Screecher.
It’s been an amazing 35-40 minutes. Then the adults and 3rd year left. The 1st year finally grabbed something off the ground and went across the road. The 3rd had taken something but was back with the crows. Now it’s in the mini barn tree and the 1st year is in the east tree. And it is 3:17pm.
The crows just all took off after probably the poor hawks. And an adult is now in the mini barn tree with the 3rd year and the 1st year in the east tree at 3:30pm. It’s been lightly snowing off and on.
Just before 5:00pm the adult with dark markings by its eyes landed in the tree with the 1st year who has been siting there for almost two hours. The 3rd year is still sitting in the tree by the mini barn for the same amount of time.
I think they are just guarding the carrion so the RTHs don’t get to come back in as is their M.O.
I have a feeling I will see some these guys back in again tomorrow. ..I hope. There is supposed to be a little brighter tomorrow.
I’m sure I am going to be held hostage till at least 6:00pm. The young ones left just after 5:30…the adult is still here.
Eagle Research Journal February 12, 2019
The next winter snowstorm is already starting as I get out to the blind at 8:00am. We are expecting 6-11 inches and winds up to 35mph. Time will tell.
It is currently 23 degrees…feels like 9 with winds out of the east at 14 mph and snow getting heavier already.
Tons of crows and ravens are already in and being very rowdy. Hopefully a raptor or two will venture out, too.
8:45am and the ground is black with corvids. I love it that I’m finally seeing a few more ravens. There are at least six out there. They are so much more entertaining. And their vocals are amazing.
Rough-legged hawk just flew into the east tree at 8:50am. So much snow I can hardly see it.
Something else is definitely out there flying around because the corvids have all lifted off and flown twice in the last 20 minutes since the RLH arrived.
My roughie flew away around 9:15. Bummer. And it’s back a few minutes later.
An eagle flew in to the same east tree around 10:00 and the RLH left. It sat for about forty minutes when it was dived bombed by a 4th year. While I was photographing the 4th year flying the RLH flew on the pile. It entertained on the ground for about a half an hour then flew into the east tree. The eagles were chattering. They are sitting in the maple in our front yard!!! It’s 11:00am.
Fifteen minutes later a young eagle joined the other two in the front tree. I guess they want to buffer the wind which is coming from the east…and we have a hill behind the house that blocks the east wind. Cool.
Oh my gosh make it four eagle in the tree!!! Another one was flying to the north of the house. Three of them left chasing it. He 4th year is still in the tree. Hopefully one of them will come into the carrion. The little roughie is hiding in the tree to the east. The snow had eased up so I was hoping something would come in then. But I’m sure they will wait till I can’t see them or focus on them. Stinkers.
A red-tailed hawk just landed in the east tree with the roughie at 11:30.What a fun wintery day. Well the snow is back in full force. And a 2nd or 3rd year has joined the 4th year in the front yard at 12:00pm. I still have the RTH and RLH in the east tree.
The RTH flew and a few minutes later an eagle did a flyby…and another young eagle joined the ones in the tree…so there are three. The other one is over the mini barn in the tree. Yeah!
The 4th year eagle flew off about 12:30 and the roughie flew off around 12:40. But still three eagles watching.
OH MY GOSH!! I have had five eagles in around 1:00pm. Unfortunately the mail carrier stopped to take pics and they flew. The three adults eventually returned but not the two younger ones. I have had the three adults in and out. 2:00pm someone else drove by and spooked them but they are in the trees yet. What fun!! I wish it wasn’t snowing quite so hard but all in all a great day!! Best I have had out here in years. It finally feels like winter.
Well two adults left…one in the tree flew in for a few moments then gone at 2:15pm. And that’s ok…I need a break. I still think I will see some more action before the day is through. The 4th year never came in and the young ones didn’t get much to eat before they were spooked.
I no sooner took a potty break and the adult was back in to the carcass. It enjoyed its meal and finally left around 2:45pm. Still snowing heavy but brighter out.
It’s after 3:00 and I just checked the trees and one of the young eagles is across the road. Hopefully it will come in to visit since the snow has calmed down a bit. Well the 2nd year made a pass by but just went and sat in the east tree. It was joined by one of the RTH for a few minutes. 4:00 no snow but getting darker…and the eagle just sits. No crows or ravens on the pile either.
Eagle Research Blind February 4, 2019
I woke up early and decided to head out to the blind…just in case the eagles decide to come for a visit. I was in the blind by 7:30am. It is a balmy 38 degrees with winds out of the southeast at 8-10mph.
I have an eagle in the tree across the road by 7:45am. Hopefully that’s a good sign…and hopefully the fog doesn’t get too heavy. Time will tell.
Well by 8:15 I had a red-tailed hawk fly into a small maple in front of me. But the eagle chattered at another eagle and then it flew.
The eagle is flying and chattering at another eagle somewhere. So hopefully they will show themselves. Yes…it’s a 5th year and it just landed in the tree over the mini barn. At 8:34am. And it’s not as foggy as yesterday.
Well…the red-tailed hawk dropped in briefly at 9:10 then moved to a tree further to the south and is still there at 9:55. Meanwhile the 5th year eagle flew into the big tree to the east around 9:45. I then flew to the field where two other adult eagles are at this time.
They are waiting for the gulls to carry off the meat scrapes for them…stinkers.
The red-tailed hawk left around 10:00 when the two adult eagles flew into the trees across the road. Now it’s just a waiting game. I’m waiting on them…they are waiting on the return of the gulls to carry something to them.
Everything disappeared around 10:20. I have a few crows in a tree…and a few starlings in and out. Patience is the name of the game.
Both RTH flying around. One landed in tree across the road with an adult eagle at 10:25.
And then there were none…10:35am. It’s getting darker…probably going to rain.
Just looked out a few minutes later and the eagle is back. It’s just going to be one of those days. Now the red tail is in the maple in front of me…flew to the tree to the far east. 10:50 the mate showed up screaming. That one flew the other landed in a pine up the hill. The eagle is still in the tree across the road.
At 11:20 an eagle is on the ground in the field because a crow carried off something. It then flew into the tree. Stinkers!!
Well…everything got quiet for a while…then the eagle showed back up across the road around noon. But right now there is absolutely nothing else around…strange.
12:30 and the eagle is still playing the game. A few gulls came in…it flies the gulls take off with something and it chases them till they drop it in the field. They aren’t carrying off much…just some tallow. So the eagle isn’t getting fed very well. So hopefully it will come in.
Well my RTH came in around 1:30 and stayed till after 2:00pm. It ate in the pouring down rain and fog. What a unique season I’m having…blizzard conditions…fog and pouring down rain within a week’s time.
The gulls then came in and the eagle reappeared.
One of the RTH just flew by chasing a crow with a piece of meat. It decided it wasn’t going to drop it so it stopped in a small tree behind the mini barn. Then it flew to a tree to the east…then it flew south. Eagle is still in the tree at 2:30pm.
It has pouring so hard while the RTH was in. It finally quit but the steam has been rolling off the snow like smoke wafting through the air.
The RTH kept making an appearance. The eagle stayed in the tree all afternoon. Finally just before 4:45pm the RTH landed on the pole…sat for a while then flew to the trees across the road where the eagle had finally vacated.
It’s getting dark…colder and windier by the minute. I was just getting ready to quit when the other RTH was back on the pole. Then they both were sitting in the tree over the road…till a car spooked them. I didn’t get great shots but it made for an interesting day. I’ve never had a RTH in as often as this one or maybe two were. No sign of the rough-legs today.
Eagle Research Journal January 27, 2019
The first year is in the tree branch that hangs over the road. She of course flew when we went out to the blind around 9:45am. She will be back. Michael is putting out more carrion. Everything is buried in the 10-12 inches of new snow that has fallen and blown around.
It is a balmy 6 degrees but feels like minus 5 with the northwest winds blowing.
The crows and ravens showed up about a half an hour later…just sitting in the trees checking out the new eats.
10:50 am. One gull shows up and the crows are all over the place.
Now I know why the crows keep flying….a red-tailed hawk just went after a gull with a piece of meat. Now it’s in the tree across the road at 11:45am.
WooHoo!! Not just one red-tail hawk… but three!! One came in an landed on the totem pole. The other two were flying and screaming around.
It looks like I had two red-tails and one young rough-legged hawk. That’s why the red-tails were screaming. The young roughie just came in and spent about a half an hour with me. How fun!! The four or five big ravens were pulling the poor things tail. It would fly from pile to pile trying to get away from them. It even went into the old bone pile. Poor thing. This is why we do what we do. If we can help one raptor survive a harass winter…it’s worth all the effort.
It is almost 2:00 and I just had an adult eagle across the road…but now gone. Hopefully it will be back or at least the hawks. I think it just came in to spook off the poor little roughie.
Still snowing and blowing. Oh my goodness…I not only have one young roughie…I have two!!! They both just flew over one landed in the east tree then flew…the other landed on the totem pole. 2:10pm.
The adult is back…just flew over…then came down to try to nab a piece of meat…at 2:20pm.
My two roughies just did a flyby at 3:10pm.
Roughie in before 4 for a few minutes. Yeah….it came back in for about twenty minutes…then everything gone. It did its typical hopping and flying from place to place. So happy to have two of them here.
The other roughie flew over then hid in the pines for a few minutes then flew away. 4:30pm.
Another flyby and gone. I’m heading out at 5:15pm.
Eagle Research Journal January 22, 2019
I didn’t go out into the blind till around 10:30am. That’s the time the eagles have been showing up. It is 18 degrees with a wind chill of 8…overcast and winds out of the south.
The juvenile was in briefly but Michael had to bring out some more carrion…most of it out here was eaten. So hopefully she will come back in later.
Well the first year came back around 11:10. She flew by then landed in the tree over the mini barn. About fifteen minutes flew to a tree across the road…then fifteen minutes later to the mini barn tree. Then she finally landed on the ground…briefly and went into the tree to the east. She came back down ten minutes later…then back in the tree. Finally back down around 12:10 she came in close to the carrion. But once again back to the east tree. Unfortunately a gull took off with a piece of carrion and dropped it. She nabbed it and is eating it in a tree across the road. Dang. I did see a rough-legged hawk fly north to south up the hill from the blind. But with all these crows and gulls it doesn’t stand a chance to come in.
Hopefully that will just tantalize her into come in to get some of her own. It is now 12:20 pm and getting darker out…of course. She finally came after one after more back and forth. She ate for about 20 minutes before a car came through and spooked her. Her daddy Screecher showed up across the road. She flew over near him. She eventually flew up and knocked him off. He flew into the tree by the mini barn she flew into the tree to the east. Then he knocked her off and she went across the road. Then he flew over and knocked her off. She flew to the tree over the mini barn and he is across the road. Good grief! It is now 2:00 and it is snowing of course. Hopefully I will still some action from these two.
Well he flew over and landed in the east tree…then came down on the ground. But another car went by and spooked him. But hopefully he will be back in. It is 2:15pm. Looks like the adult has left me around 2:30pm. Really snowing now. The juvie is still in the tree by the mini barn.
Well she came down on the pile around 3:00pm till a car spooked her off. By then a fourth year was back across the road. Then it was a waiting game. The juvie did try to swoop down and pick up a piece of loose meat to no avail then back in her tree to the east. Now at 3:50pm she came down nabbed the skimpy piece of meat and the adult went after her. I heard chatter…the fourth year is back across the road and juvie just flew by and landed in the tree by the mini barn. Oh my gosh…this I crazy. It’s snowing like mad…and they are just playing games.
The 4th year left around 4:45 and the juvie finally left at 5:00pm without coming in again. I’m sure they will be back tomorrow when I’m not here.
Eagle Research Journal December 25, 2018
Merry Christmas from my research blind. It is 23 degrees with a slight wind out of the south/southwest and mostly cloudy. The crows were in the tops of the trees when I headed out shortly after 8:00am. They of course flew off…but are working their way back in.
Michael brought some fresh carcasses out…so they disappeared again at 8:30am.
Well 9:00am and the gulls are in screaming and carrying meat off…but no eagles just crows. It’s at least getting brighter out.
The sun is breaking through…and not an eagle in sight. It is now 10:30am and still no eagle in sight. It doesn’t look promising.
Finally a 4th year eagle came flying in to check out what a gull had dropped. It came from the south and went back to the south. Little bugger. I did get a shot or two off before it disappeared at 10:50am.
Clouding up at 11:30…the crows are sitting in the trees and the gulls have been gone since the eagle flew through.
Just when I think of leaving an adult flew into the tree at 12:15pm. It made a flyby then back into the tree. Then it went and dropped behind a hill across the road…after the crows. Then a 2nd year came out of the woods to the southwest and I got to enjoy some long distances aerials for about ten minutes before they both disappeared again.
Calling it a day at 1:00pm…It’s been three long days of family and wildlife. I need to rest up for days of after Christmas retail sales.
Eagle Research Journal December 16, 2018
I didn’t get out in the blind till after 8:30am with a juvenile eagle across the road and crows on the pile. They all flew when I approached but about a half an hour later the crows and gulls are making their way back in. So hopefully the eagles will too. It is 21 degrees with a slight wind from the southeast and SUNSHINE!!
Adult eagle is back in the tree across the road at 9:45…just sitting…waiting for gulls to take off with something…but everything is too frozen to the ground to carry off.
She finally flew across and landed in the field and sat for a while before flying back to the north to sit in a tree around 10:30.
Rough-legged hawking flying over around 10:45. The clouds have moved in from the south so not constant sunshine. The gulls and crows are in and out.
So around 11:00 Michael brought out some fresh meat. By 11:30 the gulls were devouring it. Shortly thereafter a gull took off with a piece of meat. The eagle finally took off after it circling high in the sky.
Then it’s quiet…nothing around. Finally around noon the crows are back but being very quiet. The gulls seem to be circling but not coming in. Typically of a nice sunny day…no birds.
I’m leaving at 12:30…too nice out to stay cooped up.
Eagle Research December 9, 2018
It’s my first time in the research blind for 2018/19 season. There is a strong west wind temps at 29 with wind chill at 18.
The crows are already gathering in the trees across the road at 8:00am. They are on the ground by 8:30 then a few gulls.
Yeah! I have an adult eagle in the tree by the mini barn at 8:50. Then a second one joined it five minutes later. Hoping for a good day. Michael said we had five at one time yesterday.
A third adult is flying over to the east along with a rough-legged hawk. Looks like it may be a good day here in Northern Michigan.
Well the eagles took off around 9:15 and the gulls moved back in. The eagles are just flying around.
Adult and juvie are in the trees across the road at 9:30am.
I have had two adults and the 2nd year flying all around for a good 45 minutes. They still are not coming into the carrion. They want the gulls and crows to bring it to them. One adult chased a gull followed by the 2nd year. The gull dropped what it had which was bread. Both eagles landed in the field to retrieve it. But didn’t seem to like what they found. LOL.
The 2nd year chased one of the adults out of the tree several times. Now the adults have left…the 2nd year dropped to the ground behind some rubble where the crows were playing. That’s the last of seen of them at 10:30am.
A few minutes later and the 2nd year eagle was sitting back in the tree. A few minutes after that one of the adults…the female…came back. They had a few skirmishes and they both left. But I’m hopeful they will return. Less than ten minutes later an adult is back in the tree. 10:50am.
Flyby from the adult almost touched down…followed by the 2nd year that almost dropped down, too. Then the roughie was flying high over the area. It’s a great day for the first day of the season…and it’s just 11:00am. The poor rough-legged hawk never had a chance…the crows chased it relentlessly all day.
Just as an adult flies back to knock the 2nd year off the tree…the farmer arrives to get hay…right by the house. I had hoped they would go back in the field for it. But at least he is hauling a trailer to fill up. So hopefully it won’t be as disruptive as it was last year.
Well at least the two eagles sat there and just watched the farmer gather his hay.
Adult just flew over at 11:40am now in tree by mini barn. A few minutes later the 2nd year knocked the adult out and is in the tree by the mini barn. And the adult is across the road. I haven’t had more than ten minutes without an eagle this morning. Fun!!
Both eagles took off around 12:15pm. Now the crows are starting to work back in.
It wasn’t five minutes and an adult was back in the mini barn tree….another adult flying around.
12:40pm the adult came in full force and grabbed a piece of meat. The 2nd year flew back into the mini barn tree. The adult flew over about 1:00pm and knocked the 2nd year out of the tree. It has been none stop action with these two. I’m still hoping to nab a good pic. I couldn’t even get my camera up to my face when the adult swooped in.
A lot of screaming is going on between these two eagles. The 2nd year is just soaring around…not landing.
They are playing cat and mouse with the gulls…hoping they will take some meat scraps and drop them across the field. They fly around then go sit in the trees till the gulls come back. Oh my aching neck. But it’s a good thing…at least they are active today…finally.
More messing around…chasing gulls…but now we have another adult in the trees. I think is the family from last year. The big juvie female is now the 2nd year old arguing with her momma the Queen.
The games are on at 2:00pm the gulls land. One has a piece of meat and the eagles take off after it. It drops it between the blind and the garage. The 2nd year landed but the adult got the treat…again. It’s not like they are hungry. There is plenty of good meat out there for them. They just like to play a game with the poor dumb gulls.
The 2nd year sat in the tree near the mini barn for a half an hour while the juvenile joined the adult across the road around 2:45pm. Finally the 2nd year and juvie took off. The gulls came in and the adult scattered them. It made a quick pass not getting anything…and neither did I. Urrrgghhh! It is now 3:10pm and the adult is sitting across the road.
Damn eagle…she waits until a gull has something in its mouth then comes in and scatters them. Knowing full well it will drop it as it flies…out of my line of vision. I almost got her…she was right next to the blind but flew back to the tree where another adult and the 2nd year flew in to greet her. It is now 3:35pm and getting darker by the minute. They did it to me again. This time the juvie and 2nd year were after the adult. Then another adult showed up. So I had four eagles flying around across the road unable to get any really decent shots. Another adult eagle came in to the mix and was immediately chased by to its territory to the northwest. Now one adult and the 2nd year are sitting across the road in a tree. Now there is the juvenile and a 4th year in the tree!! Seriously??? They couldn’t come over and visit me. It’s getting darker and gloomier as they chatter away. I forgot just what kind of games these raptors play…especially when they aren’t really hungry. They love to chase the gulls…whichever one of them that picks up a piece meat. It’s not about food at this point of the game. Honing skills for when it becomes a matter of life or death.
This is why snowy owls have become my new favorite winter raptor to photograph. They will look at you with those soulful yellow eyes…just looking at you curiously then…maybe fly off. But an eagle will immediately take flight…saying ‘kiss this’. But I still love the dang things.
Well I’m calling it quits the adult and 2nd year are still just sitting around squawking at each other. Hope this continues throughout the winter…but with more close-up shots. Leaving at 4:30pm dark cold and windy. I didn’t leave till after 5:00pm the two adult eagles didn’t want to leave.
All Photographs Copyrighted by Michael & Teresa McGill/McGills Nature in Motion-Unauthorized use prohibited