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Watching Eaglets Grow

Bald Eagle Biology
I've recently added an area for eagle pictures and statistics to my website. At first glance, that may sound a bit redundant at best, given all the websites around the world with cams and discussion but as I wandered from site to site, enjoying the antics of the eaglets and wondering at the fact that some were near fledging while others were newly hatched, I found that something was missing.

I might notice that one eaglet has stubby down-covered wings while another that I thought was about the same age has suddenly sprouted feathers and, having a bit of scientific curiosity, my immediate question is "just how much older is the eaglet with the feathers?"

That isn't as easy to discover as you might think. At the very least, it requires checking the web sites for the two eaglets in the hope that they have an announcement of the hatch dates posted. If not, one needs to wander through the website blogs and the various forums where that nest is discussed until one finds the date in question.

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Violet-green Swallow nest cam active - enjoy

Goldstream Park CamerasThanks to the help of Richard Pitt and Bob Chappell, we've got our Violet-green Swallow nest box camera up and running. This was one of the first nestbox cameras that Bob built for us, and has helped us learn much more about the nesting habits of these swallows. If you watch carefully over the next few days, you'll be able to see the female (much less "crisply" coloured on her head) lay more eggs. As it stands today, there are two recently laid white eggs that are about 15 mm long. She will typically lay 4 to 5 eggs and then start to incubate for 14 to 17 days, until they hatch. The young will be fed by the parents in the nest for 3 to 4 weeks.

If you look carefully, you'll see that the nest is made up of a lower layer of mostly dry grasses, which is completed with a downy layer of feathers. The birds create a cup shape as they are building the nest by pushing towards the sides with their wings outstretched. When they do this you can hear their little legs trying to get a good grip on the floor.

If by any chance you have violet-green swallows nesting near you, I suggest you try offering light, downy feathers to them. If you blow one up into the air, they'll probably swoop down to catch it and take back to their nest. If you are interested in plans for building your own nestbox, we'll be sure to post.

We hope you enjoy viewing these birds over the coming weeks as much as we do! I'll post more information soon, including photos.


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Drama at the Dutch Peregrine Falcon Nest

Wildlife NewsPeople from all over the world have been watching events unfold at the Peregrine Falcon Nest in Noord Brabant, The Netherlands, via the Live Streaming Video. Two cameras were installed in February, 2007: one inside and one outside the nest box.

Three eggs were laid. Before they were hatched, a female falcon entered the nest while the father was brooding the eggs. He flew away, she inspected the eggs, then left, never to be seen again. The three chicks hatched April 14 and 15. On April 22 another female falcon arrived and attacked the mother. The fight began at the nest box and continued in the woods a short distance away. The mother was driven from the nest and possibly mortally wounded because she did not return. The father then took over the responsibilities of feeding and raising the chicks by himself. The chicks were 7 and 8 days old, much too young to be without a mother.

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The Bald Eagles Sleeps

Victoria/Sidney Nest The Sidney Bald Eagle Nest cams are giving some insights into Bald Eagle behaviors that were pretty much impossible to observe before the introduction of streaming videos of a Bald Eagle's nest. One such observation that has been recently discussed in the Hancock Wildlife Discussion Forum is characteristics of the eaglet's resting and sleeping behavior. The Sidney Eaglet seems to prefer to nap and sleep directly in front of the close up camera, giving us a great opportunity to observe in detail.

Ostrich has noted that when the eaglet first settles down to rest, he will repeatedly put his head down on the nest bowl but rise and look around after only a couple of seconds. This pattern will repeat a number of times. After gradually settling down the eagle will finally appear to go into a sleeping mode for much more extended periods however, will still seem to be quite alert if a sudden sound is heard and will cause him to rise and look around instantly. Naturally the question comes to mind - is this behavior the result of needing to be alert to dangers?

Ostrich posed the question, "I wonder if there are any general differences in sleep patterns between birds and mammals"?

AJL answered saying, "One comparative study found differences in rapid eye movement sleep (in the study birds, REM sleep time was 10 to 25% lower than in mammals). When the eagles were incubating, some viewers mentioned Dad sleeping with one eye open; I don't know that regular "one eye open" sleep has been confirmed in eagles, but it has in avian species that sleep on the ground. A paper in the Journal of Behavioral Brain Research presented evidence that birds control sleep and wakefulness simultaneously in different regions of the brain. Only birds and aquatic mammals (presumably so they won't drown while sleeping) do this."

Soundguy posted a video which illustrates some of the sleeping behaviors. Ostrich explains that at the start of the video the eaglet appears to be fully asleep. However, once the parent vocalizes nearby he reacts very quickly, going from a sleeping state to an alert state almost immediately. Video can be viewed at:

Skipper has posted a Video named "The Siesta" which captures napping behavior

For more fascinating insights into the activities in the nest take a look at the Discussion Forum - Sidney Bald Eagle Nest topic

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Sounds of a Bald Eagles Nest

Victoria/Sidney Nest *Sounds of a Bald Eagles Nest*

The Bald Eagles Nest near Sidney has not only two camera's which provide streaming Live Video but also a microphone which is allowing detailed sound recordings of the Eagles' various calls and other sounds in and close to the nest.

Soundguy, one of our moderators on the discussion forum, is monitoring and recording these sounds and has posted voice prints, video/sound clips from this nest and also comparison sound clips from other nests.

*First recorded Feeding of a newly hatched chick * can be heard in this two minute edited clip

*Comparison of the Hornby Eagles Chatter with the Sidney Eagles*:

*Sounds of The Intrusion, where the Sidney Eagle pair protect their nest*. As many as four eagles are involved in a very loud battle at the nest:

*Three waves of Canada Geese fly very close to the nest, and the brooding eagle screeches many warnings*:

*Sounds of a Woodpecker near the nest*:

*Female Eagle communicating with her young eaglet*. This vocal fingerprint is unique. We've not heard an exact duplication anywhere, anytime from the female. Now we have a positive make on the female talking directly to her young eaglet, which will aid immensely in the study of eagle language and communication.

The above is just a sampling of some of the recordings captured so far this season. Recordings of the sounds from the Sidney Nest will continue throughout this nesting season. To read the full discussion and see other links to the recordings go to the Hancock Wildlife Discussion Forum, Sounds At The Sidney Nest

Following the fledge and departure of the Sidney Eagles this fall, we plan to create CD's and/or DVD's to store the eagle communication audio from this years as well as last years activity. These will be dated, and run chronologically.


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