First, l want to thank all of you who have contributed to our fundraising drive to clean and replace several of our eagle cams. While we have not yet received the full funding needed we are well on the way and it is time to act from this end.
In order to have the equipment on hand I have already ordered 5 fine HD cams but at least two more are needed,
Over the next few weeks, literally through September, I will have to undertake all the cam cleaning, repositioning and replacements. The first need is that the adults leave the nest territory so we are not seen at the nest site and risk their abandonment of the nest for a more secure site. Second, we have to get all the little details of re-wired cams and microwave transmitters ready and, for a couple of sites, get the landowner's permission to again proceed or, as in Sidney, get the new nest landowners' permission.
I will deal with the Sidney "NESTS" in this report. As we learned last week, the Sidney adults have started building another nest on another property. This is the same situation that happened in Sidney a few years back. The "Old Oak Tree" nest, while productive, somehow gave the nesting adults some clues that a new nest was needed. We had not been seen at the nest and I suspect, from what happened, that the eagles knew the old site was not going to last them another year. And they guessed it right. By midsummer the old oak tree nest completely disintegrated and off fell the supporting branch. Somehow the eagles knew!
This year's start of a new nest might also be an indication that the old dead tree supporting their nest the past 3 years is at the end of its life. Certainly I have worried the entire tree is going to tumble. On the other hand, their lack of faith in the dead tree might be because they saw us access the tree to rescue the chick, "Flyer", caught in the fish line. I had discussed with the landowner my concerns about the possible abandonment of the nest due to our rescue attempt but the owner took the same position as most of our viewers. If Flyer was about to die, particularly from a manmade accident such as fish line, then we would attempt the rescue. As most of you know the rescue went perfectly as planned and the eaglet was freed and it and its two siblings later fledged.
Now maybe we are paying the price for our nest intrusion or, as this pair has shown before, maybe they realize the dead tree will not make another season. Time will tell us the difference.
Today I visited the nest with several of the local nest ground observers who had recently spotted the adults carrying sticks to start the new nest. The nest is still in its infancy -- but clearly a defined structure in need of a lot of branches.
We saw one adult present, sitting in the shade of a nearby Garry oak tree. After an hour the adult, I suspect the male, flew to another tree near the new nest. We saw no nest building activity but the day was very hot and not conducive to a lot of heavy construction work.
We met with one of the property owners but the family needs to discuss our suggestion of inserting a cam once the adults leave. We hope to get that answer in a few days.
We already know that their big concern is that they have horses in the pastures and could not risk looky lous entering their property and getting hurt or leaving gates open and the horses getting out and run over -- or worse.
This new nest site has a couple of other challenges. We have yet to have the land substrate checked out to see that it would support the 65 ton crane.
If the plans proceed positively and we get the permission to install the cams we will re-assess the situation at that time and consider placing a new HD cam in this tree and, as a backup, place another HD cam at the dead tree nest location used the past 3 seasons. This later cam must be a PTZ placed in the nearby tree. This will cover our options as best we can. This new nest tree I suspect is even a few feet higher than the one in the dead tree. This will be another challenge.
As I am sure the ground observers have reported there have not been any of the 3 fledged young seen in the vicinity in several days -- they all appear to have fledged and left the area as they are supposed to do! So wonderful when the eagles do as we projected.
More as this saga proceeds.
From the Ferry -- just saw a pod of orcas -- so wonderful.
Hancock Wildlife Foundation