Quizzical was intently watching his mom Kate.
I heard an osprey scream the “eagle alert”.
I looked across the cove to see a male osprey, flying with a fish in his talons.
Then I saw Kate heading across the cove, I thought to take the fish from the osprey.
No, Kate had other thoughts in mind.
As she dove towards the osprey nest, the female osprey came up out of the nest and dove at Kate.
To no avail. Kate hurtled past both ospreys and into the trees where the nest was, hidden from my sight.
Both ospreys circled a couple of times. The female eventually headed further up the cove.
The male osprey, still carrying his fish, followed his mate.
Some 4 minutes later Kate reappeared. Beak all wet and shiny. She had feasted on the osprey eggs.

Kate the Thief

There is a second nest on the burn schedule. At this nest, more than at the first of the burn nests, one of my concerns has been the age of the chicks. The Wildlife Resources Commission has stated that their “safe” chick age parameters for prescribed burns is 2 weeks to 10 weeks old. I cannot find peer-reviewed journal papers that say this is true. By 10 weeks in age, in a panic because of the prescribed burn, chicks of a certain maturity will try to fly and they fledge too early. They try to fly out before they can actually fly and fall instead 70-90 feet to the ground.  I have been saying for more than 2 weeks that the chicks are older than WRC says they are. The valid papers that I have seen (research done before the eagle was taken off the endangered list) say that a bald eagle chick at 8 weeks of age (not 10) will try to “pre-fledge”. My best guess and it is only a guess (because no one knows when the mother started incubation) is that the chicks are between 9-10 weeks of age.
I am greatly concerned that 1 or both of these chicks might try to fledge early if they panic. The video below was taken this morning.

DANGER to EAGLES of JORDAN LAKE, please help stop the DANGER

Involved are 4 adult eagles, at least 3 chicks and 3 nests that are in trees in the Jordan Lake Game Lands and a prescribed burn that is planned.  This prescribed burn could potentially cause the loss of 4 out of 32 adults, 3 out of possibly 16 eaglets and 3 out of 16 nests at Jordan Lake. This kind of loss is unacceptable to me.   I have received a copy of an application from the NC Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) to be allowed to do a prescribed burn in 2 forest blocks in which live these 2 eagle families. I have received notice today that the United States Fish and Wildlife Service has decided to issue the permit. Once the permit is received, any loss of lives or habitat from the burn would be considered lawfully “permitted”.   A “take” is defined as the loss of eagle life, damage to eagles or the destruction of their nests (see further information at end of letter).

The USFWS guidelines set out how to avoid a take:

the burn should be done in non-breeding season (in NC the eagle breeding season is January 1 through June1)

the nest tree should have debris cleared from underneath it (preferably in non-breeding season) and

if there is absolutely no other way to get the burn done except in breeding season: they must do the burn while the chicks are between the ages of 2 weeks and 10 weeks as that is apparently the only time in the chicks’ lives that they might survive the smoke and fire of a prescribed burn.

I am told by the NCWRC that it is “too difficult” to do the burns in these blocks in non-breeding season, and thus they applied for a permit to conduct the burn, so that if there is a bald eagle take they cannot be said to be in non-compliance with the Eagle Management Guidelines and would not be cited or fined for any take that might occur.  Today NCWRC received the permit from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

Tomorrow, April 15, 2016 NCWRC is going to burn the first of the 2 blocks.

I believe in prescribed burns – I do NOT believe in doing prescribed burns during eagle breeding season.  Especially when the NCWRC has been given suggestions as how to do the prescribed burn and not endanger any eagles or their nests.

PLEASE, if you agree with my concerns call or email and express your concerns:

NC Wildlife Resources Commission at 1(800) 662-7137, 919-707-0053  isaac.harrold@ncwildlife.org

Chair, Wildlife Resources Commission,  Representative Chris Malone  919-715-3010 Chris.Malone@ncleg.net

US Fish and Wildlife Service at Ulgonda Kirkpatrick (321) 972-9089  ulgonda_kirkpatrick@fws.gov

North Carolina Legislators

State Senate – Tamara Barringer (R-17)

State House – Paul Stam (R-037)

US Senator Richard Burr https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/richard_burr/400054

US Senator Thom Tillis https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/thom_tillis/412668

Share this page on Facebook, twitter and other social media.  Copy it and email it.  Post your concerns.  Contact the NCWRC and the USFWS and ANYONE else you feel might want to help us get the word out.

peace and grace, and thank you

doc ellen

from the Bald Eagle Management Guidelines of 2007


Under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, “take” is defined as “pursue, shoot, shoot at, poison, wound, kill, capture, trap, collect, destroy, molest, or disturb.  “Disturb” is defined in regulations as “to agitate or bother a bald or golden eagle to a degree that causes, or is likely to cause, based on the best scientific information available: (1) injury to an eagle, (2) a decrease in its productivity, by substantially interfering with normal breeding, feeding, or sheltering behavior, or (3) nest abandonment, by substantially interfering with normal breeding, feeding, or sheltering behavior.”

Godiva head shot 1