The Bald Eagle Families of Jordan Lake need YOUR HELP. I am asking each of you to spread the word about how to be good citizens when around bald eagles. In 2 of the past 3 days, humans have intruded on two of the bald eagle nests. Keep this well-known fact in mind: bald eagle parents will literally abandon their eggs or chicks if human intrusion occurs. If the parents abandon their family, they don’t have a second chance for a brood of eaglets that year. Bald eagles are Federally protected and there are stiff penalties and fines for disturbing any bald eagle. So, here is what happened:
The cove suddenly erupted in Mom Kate’s high pitched angry alarm calls.
This time the intruder was another bald eagle.
I looked toward the main lake and there was Petruchio making a high speed dash for home.
Dad Petruchio had a fish for his family.
The two-year-old bald eagle wanted to steal the fish.
The dash was on as both raced toward the nest.
Eventually there were two two-year-olds and a three-year-old trying for the fish.
Petruchio made it to the nest and the screams continued.
Finally he and Kate stand side by side and watch the intruders fly out.
So far, the news is very good at the two nests that had human intrusions!
Dad Petruchio bringing a fish to the nest this afternoon.
Mom Kate on the left and Dad Petruchio on the right.
Kinda hard to see Kate – wind was blowing and she was staying tight on the chick(s).
Mom Godiva hasn’t laid her eggs yet; that’s her on the right.
Hershey seems to be singing a duet with her.
You can see the nest to their right.
As always, this nest is the furthest reach for my camera.
Thought I’d give you a wider view of the nest and the surrounding trees.
Do you see Godiva too?
1) On Saturday a person was flying a drone and trying to get it into position to see into H&G Nest. Drones terrify bald eagle parents and they will literally abandon eggs and chicks if a drone is closer than at least a thousand feet for even a few seconds. Non-breeding bald eagles have been known to attack drones – no eagle should have to tackle a drone. I have no concern or sympathy for the drone owner if their drone is destroyed but the real potential for damage to an eagle makes me angry. Also pass along the following information: recreational use of drones is FORBIDDEN at Jordan Lake Dam. The use of drones is FORBIDDEN at all Jordan Lake State Park facilities (ramps, beaches, campgrounds, etc.).
2) This morning I watched a human intruder wander the shoreline below First Nest. Dad Petruchio was on the nest when he saw the person. The father eagle teetered on the edge of the nest watching as the human got closer. When Petruchio could no longer stand the presence of the person, he bolted from the nest. Momma Kate came streaking in from midlake, but she turned back and bolted too. The chicks were without parents – and especially the warmth of those parents – for more than 1 hr 45 min. Twice both parents tried to approach their nest and twice both parents left. The Rangers came and explained to the intruder how his presence was endangering the bald eagle family. The man apologized. But, it was a long cold 155 minutes before Kate and Petruchio felt they could return to the nest. It will be a number of days before we will know if the chicks survived. Photo below is Kate streaking back to the nest almost 2 hours after the human activity had stopped. Petruchio followed her into the nest a few seconds later.
Parent Bald Eagle hand-off of nest duties.
I heard Kate start to call from the nest and knew that she was seeing Petruchio.
He was out of my sight, then I blinked and he was in the nest.
2 blinks later, Kate was out of the nest and way down the cove, heading for the main lake.
I found both mom Kate and dad Petruchio in the nest this morning.
That is dad Petruchio looking out. You can see Kate to the left and toward the middle of the nest.
Petruchio went across the cove and around the bend, out of sight.
He re-appeared with a bunch of soft grasses for the nest.
Mom Kate had made a nest cup within the main nest before laying her egg(s).
The cup holds the egg(s) securely and keeps them from rolling into possible danger.
The egg cup is made of soft materials and the lining gets packed down.
The parents need to replenish the lining at least daily.
Petruchio delivering his bunch of nest materials.
First Nest update
Yesterday, I was standing on top of the dam when a bald eagle appeared, flying up from the south end of the lake.
I got my lens on the eagle, and suddenly realized I knew her.
Kate is the mother eagle at First Nest.
Kate turned her head and looked at me, changed her direction, made a single loop over me and headed back up lake.
I haven’t seen her in about 5 months.
This morning, I went by the First Nest cove.
The nest looked okay and I could hear an eagle calling.
I finally found Petruchio, the father eagle of First Nest, sitting up high on a favored perch in a pine.
While I was watching, he made a long swing down almost to lake level and I thought he was going fishing.
Turns out he wanted to investigate what the crows were doing.