eaglet

No Chicks for the 2015 Season

No chicks

No chicks

As we mentioned on the Eagle Cam page, last night we witnessed an odd sequence of events where after the sole chick was fed, the adult on the nest sat on the unhatched egg and did not make an effort to get up and cover the eaglet from the cold. At this stage, the eaglet wasn’t able to regulate its own body temperature yet, so after about an hour of being exposed, the eaglet perished. The eaglet seemed to make an effort to get back under the adult, and at one point it appeared the chick was in the view of the adult, but the adult did not get up.

We know that other eagle cam nests have struggled with parents who did not live up to their responsibilities as well as they should, but we were surprised that the adult on the nest seemed to be more focused on covering the egg than the eaglet that was not in the nest cup. In years past, the parent has always seemed to be aware when the eaglets were not properly covered, and we’ve never had an issue with the chicks being left on their own to the elements. As some cam watchers observed, on February 24 we did see the adult leave the sole chick uncovered, but then after a few updates, the chick was back under the parent, so we didn’t think anything of it, although it did look odd to see a chick that young out of the nest cup while the adult was laying in the middle of the nest.

So what could have happened? Our first guess is that we might have a newbie parent (likely the male) and this might be his first brood. The other less likely option is that our male has been replaced with an intruder, who is not motivated to take care of this brood, although we think that’s not likely, otherwise the male wouldn’t have tried to incubate the remaining egg. And the reason we’re guessing it’s the male is because during the two events, it appeared that the smaller eagle was on the nest.

As for the remaining egg, it’s too late for it to hatch now, and it’s too late in the nesting season for a second clutch, so this will be the end of our season. At some point when the weather warms a bit, we’re going to zoom out the camera to a wider view, and we do plan to keep the camera on in order to observe the adults.

If over the coming weeks, we collect any more information about what happened at the nest, we’ll pass it along. We want to thank those who have followed the nest this year — even when the camera was having technical difficulties — and sent in photos for our gallery.

Our ospreys will be returning in a few weeks, so we look forward to that event and the arrival of spring after a long, cold winter.

Until next time,
Lisa – webmaster
Support the Blackwater Cams
Contact Us

Categories: eagle cam, eaglet, eggs | 3 Comments

A One-Chick Nest

One chick in the 2015 nest

One chick in the 2015 nest

Just when we think we know what will happen on our Eagle Cam nest, we get a surprise. During the 11 years that we’ve been broadcasting from this nest, we’ve always had at least two eaglets in residence in a given season, but this year it looks like we’ll have just one.

Because we’re having issues with the camera in the tree (and we can’t fix it while the chick is small and needs protection from its parent), we have to make an educated guess as to when the hatching happened. Based on our observations and what we were hearing from cam watchers, as well as volunteers at the Refuge, here is our scorecard.

  • 1st egg laid: 1/7
    Hatch: 2/15
  • 2nd egg laid: 1/10
    Hatch: 2/17 2/19 (died around 2/23)
  • 3rd egg laid: 1/13
    No hatch

Our third egg is very late and we don’t expect it to hatch. Even if it did, the chick would be so far behind the older chick, that the younger chick would probably have a hard time getting much during meal time, so it’s probably best that it not hatch now.

As for the second chick, he seemed to be doing well, and there was plenty of food, so we don’t know if the chick had health issues or maybe it was an issue with the cold, but he didn’t last long after hatching.

Rabbit in eagle nest

Rabbit in eagle nest

The remaining chick seems very active and is already visibly growing, and there has been plenty of food in the nest to feed it, despite the bad weather. We’ve seen multiple fish in the nest at one time, in addition to a duck or two, and a rabbit, which you can see in this photo.

So the good news is we have a chick to watch grow up and eventually fledge. And assuming our chick is healthy, he should have a good life in the nest, since the parents are excellent providers.

We’ll update the Gallery soon, but in the meantime, if you’d like to see some of the photos that were shared from the nest over the last week, be sure to check out our Facebook page. And thanks to all those who sent in images while we were trying to determine if the hatching was really happening.

Until next time,
Lisa – webmaster
Support the Blackwater Cams
Contact Us

Categories: eaglet, eggs, hatching | 2 Comments

The End of Another Season

Perching eaglet

Now that the eaglets are rarely seen at the nest, we thought it was a good time to wrap up our blog for the season. The eaglets seem to be doing well — having survived their first flight — and they’re now spending the majority of their time outside the view of the camera.

Young eaglets will spend their first summer and fall in the area, with their parents providing the occasional meal and keeping tabs on them. But slowly the eaglets will become completely independent, and by the winter, when the parents are ready to begin a new breeding season at the nest, the eaglets will be on their own.

The eaglets might stay in the Chesapeake Bay area for the winter, since it’s a better place to find a meal than up north, but eventually the eaglets will begin wandering away from the Refuge. If you visit the “CCD Bald Eagle Tracking Success” post on The Center for Conservation Biology blog, you can see a map showing where a young eagle that was tagged at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland went over a four-year period. The eagle, named Fairlee, migrated between the Chesapeake Bay region and the St. Lawrence Seaway up north. Fairlee wasn’t tied to a mate or a nest, so the immature eagle was free to roam. Eventually when a bird like Fairlee reaches adulthood, it will settle down, probably in the area where it fledged, and begin looking for a mate and nest tree.

As for our two cam chicks, Glider and Chaser are likely spending their days perching in the trees, hunting in the fields and over the river, roosting in the trees at night, and following their parents around, hoping for a meal. Below is a nice photo showing two immature bald eagles flying over the Blackwater River. The Refuge is definitely a great place for a young raptor to learn to hunt and fish in the company of other eagles (and ospreys — whose fish they can steal!), and we’re sure Glider and Chaser are enjoying their adventures beyond the nest.

Eagles Over Blackwater River

We plan to keep the Eagle Cam Gallery open (and we have some photos we’ll be posting soon) in case anything interesting shows up on the cam. We want to thank everyone for following our birds for another year and we hope to see you in late November for a new season.

Until next season,
Lisa – webmaster
Support the Blackwater Cams
Contact Us

Categories: blackwater nwr, eaglet, flying | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: