Cherish is my favorite word, and I cherish the ability of turning the routine into a beautiful moment.
Nature creates in me, a spiritual and meditative time to bring peace, harmony and balance, into an otherwise ordinary day~
Mary Howell Cromer







Friday, June 25, 2021

12 Year Blog Anniversary Dedicated to this Bald Eagle Season~




How can it possibly be twelve years since I began my blogging journey as of today, June 24!?

1172 published post presentations.  I must say that in the beginning I had no clue how to upload images, place them, or even write up summaries.  As I went along and made friends from around the globe, and with that I learned new techniques, learned about ways to improve my entries.  Learning about what a meme was and how to utilize them was a huge success for me.  In all 12.2k (12,414 to be exact ;) comments have been monitored and published.  There was a time when thousands of those comments went missing and oh what lessons were learned about what can happen from behind the scenes and I knew that I did not want to be on the bad end of that scenario.  My following is at 241 regulars as well as my Facebook followers who tap in using my Photography by Mary Howell Cromer page which connects right to my blog.

For this very special presentation I am going to post 112 images/mosaic mix.   I have waited for 3 long seasons for the Bald Eagles near us to have a season not fraught with utter sadness, disaster and loss  This blog is named after the beautiful Red-shouldered Hawks, and yet they too have had 3 very bad seasons, including this one that ended suddenly this past Monday.  I had hoped to be able to share wonderful images of lovely eyas and yet we have nothing yet to share once again for them.


*Remember to double click on the first image, to view a larger slideshow presentation after  you have read the narratives.  Thanking you so very much~

  

                                                                        I'm joining Eileen at: 

Saturday's Critter

                     http://viewingnaturewitheileen.blogspot.com/

 
 
Anni at:
I'd Rather Be Birdin'
   

 

Angie at:  
Mosaic Monday
 
 
Stewart for:
Wild Bird Wednesday

                                                      https://paying-ready-attention-gallery.blogspot.com/

 



The above mosaic begins the story line for this season, beginning January 13.  The Bald Eagles had begun 2 nests very close together and in the end chose to continue to build this one.  I am thankful that they did as this tree is strong and the crotch of the tree large enough to hold one for a couple of years if they continue to build upon it in coming seasons.  If a nest is successful and the nest does hold, then they will use it again more often than not~


This is our beautiful female, also called the hen.  Females are larger than males in all Birds of Prey species~


Nest building takes months and even when the brooding and raising of young begins, there will be new branches, new little pieces added to reinforce.  Oftentimes if one brings it in and places it, as soon as they fly off, the mate will reposition it.  Does that sound familiar?


The mating/breeding term for birds is copulation.  The female will generally lay eggs 5 to 10 days following the copulation sessions have begun.  Each egg is laid 2 to 3 days apart and it will take 32 to 35 days of incubation before the first hatch~  


Both of the adults will take long turns in brooding, warming, incubating the eggs.  There are many times that you have to look very carefully to know if an eagle is even on the nest.  They build the nest with a deep bowl to hold the eggs and keep them safe and warm and so when the eagle is brooding, especially the male, you may have to try and look for an eye first in the branches, or the yellow colour showing the beak to realize all is well~





The very kind gentleman who became my main contact person now 3 years ago, along with the people at the plant property where this nest was built were absolutely wonderful in making sure that this nest would be protected as well as possible and that the Bald Eagles should have their time to complete the season.  I want to thank David Simmons for all that he did in communicating with the powers that be and ensured that all went as well as it did.  The company was in full support of making sure that this would have a perfect ending and it has~



Both adults are on nest watch duty~


We knew that the eggs had hatched, but we had not seen the tiny eaglets yet when the parents came to feed until April 2.  You have to look closely, but there are assuredly 2 beautiful little chaps in this nest and I cannot begin to tell you the hopefulness of all going well from so many great people...it just had to work out~



The canopy of green is starting to cover the tree and those who are keeping a watch over and observing the process will have more limited access to viewing in coming days and weeks~


An Osprey flies in like a rocket and goes after the Bald Eagle, but the Eagle was on guard and ready.  It only lasted a moment and the Osprey left the area, never to return again as far as I know.  For the past couple of years the Ospreys had a nest on that utility pole where the eagles like to perch.  The eagles pretty much dismantled the entire thing, using some of the branches for their nest~



The images below of the eaglets were taken on April 25.  The process for all birds and how quickly they develop and mature is always so amazing~








The female flying in the brilliance of the mornings first glow of light~






Both adults hunt, feed, and protect their young.  Unlike the pair last season, I do believe with everything in me that this is the original pair that I had observed my first 5 full years.  Last season things were just plain off all the way around.  If there could be a perfect nesting season for this pair, they certainly had one this year~



A Gray Squirrel being brought in for dinner~




I just LOVE this image~


One afternoon I stood and watched something very interesting happen.  Let me say first that when there is a happy pair of Bald Eagles, they are very talkative to one another.  They chatter often throughout the day.  I wish I knew how to read their language and yet on this day I knew that absolutely something was off.  The adult perched in the tree stared at the eaglets for a very long time and never took its eyes off of them.  It never turned away, nor made any noise, but just watched them.  About 10 to 15 minutes had passed when the large female eagle flew in and she was chattering and aggressive!  She flew over and around the nest tree several times, getting louder with every pass!  All of a sudden she made a fierce flight towards the nest tree and chased the eagle that was perched away.  The one that had been there only made noise once as it flew off the branch and then made a turn and flew up into a tree near where I was and watched the nest for a very long time.  This in my estimation had to have been something that could have turned out very bad, but I was so thankful when the uninvited guest had left~


The hen flies in to chase the intruder away~







The intruder makes a clean getaway~


These birds are magnificent~


By May 19 the eaglets are maturing quickly and looking more like the parents. Many people think that they are black and white, but they are beautiful shades of mink and cocoa brown.  The colouration of these juvies will change a lot over the next 5 years. Their beak will turn yellow. The eyes are brown now, but as adults they will be yellow. It will take the full five years for them to go from a mottled kind of brown stage to a full dark brown with a white feathered head when they will be full adults~



Unlike a few other trees this pair has chosen in the past, this one had excellent branches for the young birds to practice their wing strengthening techniques, their jumping and branching in preparation for flight which can take place between 12 and 16 weeks~



By May 25 the birds are just about at the size they will be when they fledge, leave the nest for the first time.  They will leave in about another 2 weeks~





The eaglet in the foreground is in a guarded position.  It ends up using it's beak to let the other one know that it needs to back away~





Warning... get back and settle down~





Birds pant just like dogs when the temperatures soar~



Catfish for dinner and this time, it is still alive.  This is an important time for the skills of killing prey in nest to take place for each eaglet.  The adult will stay close by to ensure that the meal doesn't escape and the young will take turns as the meals come in so they will be equipped once they are independent~







It's not your turn...I have this one~


I well up from the majesty and beauty of these birds.  I absolutely love them, admire them and take such peace with me in my observing them, caring about them now for seven seasons.  I feel so very blessed for the many opportunities afforded me by people who trust me to do right by, and for these amazing birds~





















June 9. This was to be the last time that I saw both eaglets together on the nest at about 13 weeks of age.  What a magnificent time this has been to observe, take notes, and learn from these beautiful birds.  It's a very happy, though sad time now.  Happy for them, sad for the missing them.  Hoping and praying that they will survive, thrive and have grand, long lives doing what eagles do.  It has been such a pleasure that has given me a gift that I cannot describe adequately~





Partaking of a fish dinner~



The larger bird a female we ascertain and the smaller male based on observing them on nest was the first to fledge on June 16.  She found herself in a spot of trouble though and a great concern for those who care about her.  I joined my friends to try and locate her for 5 hours on the evening she had flown for the first time.  She ended up in a front yard of the adjoining neighborhood where a Bull Mastiff dog was seen running at her.  No one knew if she had been injured, but she was not flying.  The neighbors said that she was only able to hop and run and so we were very concerned for her safety.  We had to leave unable to locate her.  The next morning for 4 more hours we searched, still unable to find her.  It was such a terrible feeling, having come so far, and now very concerned for her safety.  We had just about given up when a gentleman named Marty drove by on his motorcycle and wanted to make one more pass in trying to spot her.  He came back to where we were waiting and motioned for us to follow him.  He thought that he had seen her.  When we got to the spot he had seen a large brown bird, she was not there, but not to fret.  Marty walked to the top of the hill and as one of the adults flew over the basin of water twice, he spotted the missing eaglet in the marsh grasses.  She ran, jumped and lifted off, landing on a nearby fence.  Tears of joy streamed down my face and Marty wiped a few away as well.  My friend Beth and I got the first fully fledged images of the eaglet.  It was a glorious day.  I learned a hard lesson many times over when I had a federal permit to rehab and release Birds of Prey as well as my years with same for Kentucky Wildlife Line, working with small mammals...you cannot take them from the cradle to the grave.  You watch and let them soar, walk, and run as they were meant to do and hope always for the best~ 





She was so close, I almost missed the only flight shots taken of her on June 17~



These images were taken of the two birds following the male also fledging from nest by June 18, or 19 and both birds were doing well!  What an exciting season with these truly awesome creatures!
 My heart has been made very grateful for the opportunity and the extreme pleasure of witnessing this once again~









Those talons will have 1000 pounds of pressure per square inch soon, if not already~


Songbirds are notorious for mocking, for head bopping and utterly making Birds of Prey a little bit crazy and for this juvenile a tiny bit intimidated by these much smaller male Red-winged Blackbirds~ 


And for the other juvenile, yet another kind of songbird giving him a hard time too.  It is all good, it is all finished and I am so very happy to have been along for the journey.  I hope that you have enjoyed the images and the story line.  Thanking each of you for your support and encouragement over the past 12 years.  I could have never done this without you~







9 comments:

  1. Hi Mary :) Congratulations on your Bloggaversary! :) what a great post! I looked through every photo in your slideshow and I have to say #94 was my favourite. Thanks so much for sharing! :)

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  2. Hello Mary,
    I enjoyed your story on your local Eagles, the nesting and the eaglets. I am so happy there was a happy ending. Your mosaic and photos are amazing. Fantastic shots of the Eagle family. Congrats on your 12th blog anniversary. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Take care, have a happy weekend!

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  3. Nice post! Congratulations on completing a dozen years. Quite a milestone!

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  4. I am absolutely speechless Mary!!
    Enjoy the day and thank you for taking time to share this with us birders!!

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  5. Congratulation for your Blog anniversary. Wow... there are so many fantastisc captures here. Especially the englischen are fascinating.

    Happy MosaicMonday

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  6. Hello Mary. I'm so glad to see you back in Blogland and as always your pictures delight! You have so much patience as well as such great skill -- and your love of the Eagles shines through the pictures and your words! I'm so glad the "twins" fledged successfully. I missed watching the Eagles nest in Fort Myers Fl (we missed their season last year because we came back to Oregon early because of "fear of Covid". We do hope to go back this coming Fall. I will try to have a fraction of your patience in taking pictures.

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  7. Mary - congratulations on your twelfth anniversary in blog land! And what a terrific post to celebrate with - a successful fledging! I have been checking regularly for your blog posts, and it is so nice to see you back again and linking up to Mosaic Monday. I am honored!

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  8. Happy anniversary Mary!! And congrats on such a beautiful series of majestic birds!!!

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