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 Interesting Observations about Eagles
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By: JudyB (offline) on Sunday, February 14 2010 @ 09:21 PM EST (Read 4550 times)  
JudyB

This thread is intended to be a place to report interesting or unusual eagle activity that might otherwise become buried in the thread of the nest where it happened. It's not exactly a research/reference thread - because we see one pair of eagles do something, it doesn't mean that all eagles behave like that.

But it might provide some hypotheses for further research.

Charter: Anyone is welcome to post their observations here. Screenshots, videos or links to other sites with additional information are welcome. People are welcome to comment on what has been posted - but we encourage those posts that provide additional information. Posts or parts of posts that say, in effect, "wow - that's interesting" may be deleted after a period of time at our discretion, with the intent of keeping the thread compact. Because we hope this will become an educational resource, we ask that smileys be kept to a minimum and animations/moving graphics be included as links. This will make the thread more accessible to those with health issues and to those with slower computer connections. Thanks!

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By: JudyB (offline) on Sunday, February 14 2010 @ 09:50 PM EST  
JudyB

Doug Carrick, who has been watching the eagles near his house on Hornby Island, off the coast of British Columbia, for more than 20 years, has come up with an interesting hypothesis. As he described it in an email to me, he has "been working on the concept that for the survival of the species, it is more important that the female eagle is well fed, than the male. Over the years I have observed that the female often steals food from the male but not the other way around. The male often drops food into the nest for the female." He also noted that when there is food on the beach, the male waits until the female has gone down and taken what she wants before he gets food for himself.

Being scientifically inclined, Doug decided to test the theory that the male would either let the female go first when there was food available, or perhaps bring it to her. Here's what happened, in Doug's words:

THE "BIG FISH, LITTLE FISH" EXPERIMENT

I set up a little experiment, to show that both eagles intuitively know that Ma Eagle should have first priority on food - for the survival of the species. Generally, when food is available, dad eagle allows mom to fly first to pick out what she wants.

Today, both were in the Peters's Tree and I placed two fish heads on the beach - one very large and one very small. They must have been hungry because it wasn't long before the first eagle flew down.

But it was dad. He wasn't supposed to go first! Experiment ruined.

Oh, not really ruined. He flew down and took the smaller piece. That's OK, then. Mom got the largest piece and dad chose it to be that way.

One way or another, mother comes first.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[Posted with permission of Doug Carrick, February 2010]

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By: JudyB (offline) on Sunday, February 14 2010 @ 10:29 PM EST  
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We don't often actually see eggs being laid - but it appears that the female may fluff up a bit as part of the process. Here's a picture from the Blackwater nest in Maryland about the time the second egg was laid:

And one of the rangers at the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge actually taped the laying of the second egg - and you can see it on the Friends of Blackwater site: Laying of the Second Egg

I don't know if all eagles act the same, or if there are variations. We do, however, have another interesting observation made by those who watched the eggs being laid at the Shepherdstown, West Virginia, nest this year - and that is that the female made small chirping sounds while she was laying the egg. Paula was able to tape the laying of the third egg at Shepherdstown, which has a cam with sound. You can see her video on the EagletMomsters blogspot - scroll down to February 9.

Again, we don't know if this is common among eagles, but it will be interesting to watch - and listen - and perhaps we'll have an update on this once more of the nests have eggs.

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By: birdofprey (offline) on Tuesday, February 16 2010 @ 09:40 PM EST  
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Quote by: JudyB

We don't often actually see eggs being laid - but it appears that the female may fluff up a bit as part of the process.


I made a little slideshow last year when the Norfolk eagle laid an egg on Feb. 17 2009 - you can see the fluffed up feathers starting at 12:08 AM.
Norfolk 2009 Feb.17 - egg is laid


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By: MaryF (offline) on Tuesday, February 16 2010 @ 11:30 PM EST  
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wave Long time no see, BOP!!

They really do seem to fluff up during egg laying don't they?! I love your slide show! We seldom get to see them actually laying their eggs in real time so I find these observations by you and JudyB to be very interesting! It must happen during the "big push". It did look like Belle from WV may have been doing a little fluffing as well as chirping there in the snow in that video...poor dear!



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By: Anonymous: Doug Carrick () on Friday, February 19 2010 @ 01:30 AM EST  
Anonymous: Doug Carrick

The Hornby Island female eagle also fluffs up when laying an egg. It also goes into contractions about every 3 seconds and grunts with each contraction. This can be clearly seen on my 36 minute DVD available at Hancock House Publishers Ltd.





       
   
By: MaryF (offline) on Friday, February 19 2010 @ 02:00 AM EST  
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Hi Doug and thank you for reminding us of that!! I'm guessing that all Mom eagles must "fluff up" when they lay an egg! I will have to pop my cd in the puter and take a look!!:blink:



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By: soph9 (offline) on Wednesday, February 24 2010 @ 01:42 PM EST  
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Just loved this picture so I thought I would post it here!

Click on image to download


http://www.northwestmagazines.com/nwt_r ... eagles.php

from this web site!


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