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By: JudyB (offline) on Friday, July 06 2012 @ 08:15 PM EDT (Read 6890 times)  
JudyB

I'm setting this thread up as there are a number of questions about Linux's stay at O.W.L. (Orphaned WildLife Rehabilitation Society), and his return to the nest.

In time, it will likely be updated to cover some more general information.

Feel free to post questions (or answers!) - but they will be deleted once the answers are posted in an effort to keep this reasonably concise. Thanks!

Added:
Link to the story of - Linux's Great Adventure

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By: JudyB (offline) on Friday, July 06 2012 @ 08:15 PM EDT  
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By: JudyB (offline) on Friday, July 06 2012 @ 08:16 PM EDT  
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By: JudyB (offline) on Friday, July 06 2012 @ 09:49 PM EDT  
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Q - How did Linux end up on the ground?

A - He was doing a lot of leaping and flap-hopping into the branches on Tuesday, July 3rd, and by mid-afternoon, he was jumping from branch to branch, up above the nest. At about 3:13 pm he flew from the nest to the right, and could not be seen in the tree.

Forum posts for July 3 start here

Up in the branches

Departure


Forum Admin jkr called our friend Bev at OWL, which is drive from the nest, and asked if someone could check to see if Linux was branching out of sight or if he had fledged - or if something else had happened.

At 4:17 pm, jkr reported that Mindy from OWL had found Linux on the ground, and that he couldn't fly to get away from her (as would be expected if he was ready for flight), so she brought him to OWL for a checkup.

There was a report a couple of days later from a forum member: "I also talked to a city worker who said that Linux fell from the tree. He didn't know it was an eagle but he was working right there and said he was shrieking all the way down."

Bev Day from OWL also reported that the branches on the tree are quite slippery, and not easy for Linux to grasp initially, though I had the impression he was firmly in place when they left.

My personal opinion, based on watching a lot of cams for the past six years - I'm suspect that Linux did not fly down intentionally and may have been planning to land on another branch - but know of several younger eaglets who jumped from the nest and glided down safely, so even if he missed a landing, it's more likely that he was surprised than hurt.

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By: JudyB (offline) on Friday, July 06 2012 @ 10:17 PM EDT  
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Q: Why wasn't Linux left where he was? Many fledglings spend time on the ground.

A: When a potential predator (Mindy from OWL Whistling) approached Linux, he ran to get away. I've heard eaglets his age described as "flighted but don't realize it" - and I think that is likely the case here. He had been getting some good height when he practiced flapping - but still hadn't realized that flight was the best way to avoid a land-based predator (and may not have actually figured out yet how to take off without an assist from the wind).

Those who know Mindy know she's not a threat Smile - but Linux didn't know that, which made her believe he wouldn't be able to escape if a coyote or large domestic dog decided to go after him.

He was almost 12 weeks old at the time - well into the 10-14 week old range for fledging - but was not acting like an intentionally flying eaglet.

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By: JudyB (offline) on Friday, July 06 2012 @ 10:42 PM EDT  
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Q - What was learned while Linux was at OWL?

A - First, we've been right in our choice of gender - he does appear to be male! He was a bit thin, and initially a bit wheezy, though that might be caused by the stress of the fall and his subsequent capture. His weight was 3.94kg -- for you non-metric folks that is 8.69 lbs.

He didn't try flying when first put in a flight cage - and didn't even try flapping up to the perches, though that might have been because he was a bit sore - or general stubbornness. The wheezing disappeared fairly quickly, and once another young eagle joined him, he became more interested in his food and in showing that he too could fly up to the perches and make short flights around the pen.

He was also given a microchip, which I think will only allow them to identify him if he's rescued in the future, and not track where he's been - though I'll check on that.

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By: JudyB (offline) on Friday, July 06 2012 @ 11:48 PM EDT  
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Q - Tell us about Linux's return to the nest tree. (I love it when I can make up the questions! Titter )

A - Jkr, who was in touch with the folks from OWL, reported that Linux was released into the nest tree about 30 feet off the ground at about 3:25 pm on Friday, July 5 (about three days after he landed on the ground). Bev Day from OWL told us that the bark on this tree is as smooth as ice, and the first attempt to put Linux on a limb, he slid down, so they had to try again until he grabbed on.

My thought - 30 feet up is almost half way to the nest, and is a nice compromise. It's not intruding into the nest itself, so the adults might think it's not a safe place to raise a family, but it gets Linux well above the reach of land-based predators, and gives him a good start if he's making his way up to the nest in small steps.

Asked if Bev would come get Linux and return him to OWL if he just clings to the same branch and the parents don't show up, jkr responded "I don't think he will stay on the same branch. He likely knows the sights and sounds of his own territory and will feel quite safe. It's really hot today so he may just sit in the shade until it cools down this evening. He won't go back to OWL unless someone finds him injured or in distress one day but Bev is quite confident he will be fine."

Bev said that Linux had a good meal before being returned, so he won't need food for a day or so (though like any teenager, I'm sure he will be quite happy if more food appears!).

At 7:57 pm, Bev Day from OWL reported that they'd gone to check on Linux, and Mom had moved closer to the tree than she was earlier when Linux was released and Dad is not too far away. Linux, as far as Bev can make out, is still approximately where he was when he was released.

My thought - If you've watched nests where eaglets are banded, the chicks tend to remain motionless for up to several hours after they're returned to the nest, because that is the safest thing for a non-flighted eagle to do if he feels in danger. They gradually begin moving around, and are generally back to normal in a day or two. There is an added level of complexity here in that Linux is in a place he's never been before, rather than back in the nest - so once he's relaxed from his sort of scary adventure, he needs to put some effort into getting back to the nest - but it will be using the same skills he was getting quite good at as he semi-flew from the nest to the upper branches and back again over and over on Tuesday.

Added -
My fellow admin jkr reminded me that Linux had spent the night before he left the tree perched on one of the upper branches, sleeping as a "big eagle" does (forum/viewtopic.php?topic=390936#390936), so he may be content staying in the lower branches of the tree for a couple of days, hiding in the shadows and practicing his flapping - and reminding his parents that he still expects food to be delivered on schedule!

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By: JudyB (offline) on Friday, July 06 2012 @ 11:55 PM EDT  
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Q - Where exactly is the nest?

A - It's on private property in a residential/farming area in the municipality of Delta, DC, not far from Vancouver. One of the conditions for putting the cam in the nest is that it not cause any disruptions in the neighborhood - so we actively discourage people from going out to look for the nest.



Q - How tall is the tree? And how high up is the nest?

A - Thanks to Debs, gd, stim and David Hancock - we now know that the nest tree is a cottonwood tree. It's about 90 feet tall, and the nest is about 75 feet up.

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