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Talon's Tidbits

October 14, 2014

Season 5 is sure to be a banner year. It is October and we have lots of eagles around and this makes ID'ing very difficult at times. In fact, we will probably stay away from ID'ing much until we know what female wins over Larry and the nest. Nature will prevail as it always does. The strong will survive.

I don't really expect much as far as nestorations until January and February. However, the eagles will make that determination and we will wait and see. If you have missed some of the action already, don't worry. There is a lot ahead of us. However, if you would like to catch up, take a look at the "Daily Updates" tab in the menu or the "Videos and Pics" tab.

Of course people still ask about Lucy. I do not expect to see her here. I have not seen her since she left. There are too many eagles vying for Larry's attention or to the nest. This is prime habitat!

December 15, 2014

To date, there is no sighting of Larry or Lucy. We have a new pair here and we need to be thankful. They have copulated a couple of times, but remember that there is a short window when the female will be ready to lay eggs. That window is February/March in our area. Most local nests show the female laying eggs in early March. We will not name the eagles until we are sure this is the pair here. As of today, Dec. 15th the young male brought his first stick in. The female has brought in many sticks and even some grass. She is likely teaching her mate what to do. He better be a quick study.

January 11, 2015 

There is still no sighting of Larry. The young male and the female are still around. Last week was brutal with extreme cold temperatures and we did not see the eagles much at all. Temps are expected to be more normal this week. Students are in the process of brainstorming names for the eagles. 

February 22, 2015

February 12th and 13th Blair and Taylor mated. On Friday, early evening, there was an attack on the nest. The eagle that attacked is believed to be Taylor. I have no idea who the eagle was on the nest. It used a high pitch vocal I have not heard. Perhaps it was a stress vocal. If it was Taylor attacking and defending his nest, then he may have been injured. The eagle did hit hard. Taylor has not been seen since, so that is one reason for this theory. The last time we have for Taylor in the tree was 5:34 PM, Friday after the attack. It is possible that something else happened off camera. On Saturday, February 14th, a new eagle joined Blair. Many think that the new eagle was Larry making his return. After comparing pictures there are likenesses. So there is a chance. But, it brings more questions and no answers. Where was he all this time? Why did it take so long for him to come back? I for one will not say it is Larry. 

Fast forward, February 18th at 6:35, Blair laid her first egg. Who's is it? It was likely Taylor's. Is it viable? Taylor is a young eagle. Does the egg belong to the new Mister? He has not incubated at all. So likely it is not his. We do not know his age. We cannot say that just because he is not incubating, he has to be young. Like Blair, he is probably between 6-20. I know, not much help there. Fast forward, February 21, at 5:01 PM, Blair laid her 2nd egg and still no sign that Mister will incubate. On February 19th, he brought in an animal, but that has been all for his contribution. 

Each day, the eggs have been left alone for some period of time. Blair has done an outstanding job, incubating and rolling the egg(s). Today, she left from 10:18 AM - 11:46 AM. Hopefully, she was able to eat. It takes a great amount of energy to keep their internal body temp around 104-105°. This is even more important since she is incubating and needs to keep her eggs at a certain temperature to insure hatching. 

Because the male is not helping in incubating duties, it is unlikely there will be a hatch. Blair will need to get food to insure her own survival since Mister is not really helping with food either. Temperatures will remain cold for some time. Will Mister turn things around? We have no idea. We think with his late arrival, her cycle is different than his. She is in mommy mode while Mister is still in the courtship phase. He has tried to mate with her twice while she was incubating. Blair wanted nothing to do with that. 

So here we are yet again, with more questions than answers. We have a healthy female and a new Mister. If we do not get a hatch, at least there is a high likelihood that they will have a whole year to bond and come back and try this next year. 

March 5, 2015

On Tuesday, March 3 in the afternoon, another eagle landed on the nest. He/she almost appeared to want to incubate and stood over the eggs. The eagle even moved nesting material around the nest bowl. This eagle had a deep beak from top to bottom; almost giving the impression it was female. The eagle didn't stay long and was flushed from the nest by an apparent incoming eagle. At another point the eagle better know as "Mister" was on the nest with Blair. He lay down beside Blair for a while even. He had opportunities to help incubate and showed nearly zero interest. Later that day, TAYLOR CAME BACK! Our last account of him was 5:30 PM on February 13th. He looks to be in a rough shape. He was more than likely recovering from some injury. We know there was an attack on the nest but not 100% certain he was involved, but it seems most likely he was. 


On March 4th, just after 6 AM, Blair and Taylor picked up where they left off on February 13 and mated on the side branch. Mister never actually mated with Blair, but he tried. I may have missed something though. Most of the time she was incubating, and would not get up.

Today, March 5th, Taylor went fishing and brought in what appeared to be a trout, or part of one. He needs food as badly as Blair does at this point. He needs to heal. She devoured the left over fish in no time. Taylor flew up to the perching branch and stayed for quite some time, and then as Blair got up off the eggs and left, so did he. She came back quickly and began incubating again.

 

March 9, 2015

Many have asked, "Has Taylor began to incubate yet?" The answer is no. He has appeared to come close a few times. He has brought food, two trout from Beaver Creek. He is also bringing grasses and a few sticks. He looks much better today than the day he showed up last week. Finally, we get some warmer temperatures, which should make it easier for the eagles in the area. Eagles need plenty of food in frigid temps. Blair could go a bit longer if need be in mild temps that are expected to be in the 50°'s all week. Even temps at night are going to be comfortable. Of course we are comparing this to temps in the single digits to below zero.

Will the eggs hatch? Are the eggs viable? We really have no way of knowing if the eggs are viable or were fertilized. Keep in mind; the first egg can take around 37-38 days to hatch. Pipping can start around day 35, and can take 24+ hours. I would expect the incubation to be longer in this situation.

We do know that many new eagle pairs have difficulty the first year. We are definitely seeing that here. Everyone will have to wait until the end of March to early April to see if there will be a hatch. There is count up widgets on the sidebar showing the time since the eggs were laid. If a female eagle can incubate solely by herself and be successful it would be Blair. She is one great female eagle! Of course logic stands against her. For now, let's be optimistic and look forward to the coming days. Enjoy the weather!

March 21, 2015

Ms. Blair continues to be the sole incubator. Taylor, (AKA: Mr. T. or Tay Tay) has rolled the eggs several times now. He continues to bring in food from time to time. He has brought in fish, pigeon, rat, and rabbit. 

I have a theory to why he is not incubating, and have no idea if it is right. Taylor went missing and was apparently in eagle triage. This was right about the time when he should have been developing a brood patch or close to it. His hormones likely dissipated and the brood patch likely did not develop. So if he does not have a brood patch he may not know what to do about it. His time away was critical. I can imagine him saying when he gets close the eggs, "Umm, now what am I suppose to do with no brood patch?" 

Blair continues to leave the eggs to go eat, and stretch. Her time away has been much shorter than early on. She is doing as well as anybody could expect a female incubating all by herself. If anyone is aware of another female incubating, as Blair has done, I would like to learn about that situation. For me, this is unprecedented. She is in her 30th day of incubation, and if there is a hatch, I expect it to be after day 40. It just seems logical to me that delays in incubation, and time off the eggs means it will take longer. Keep in mind, there may not be a hatch, even though we see them both bringing grasses and carrying on as usual, other than Mr. T shying away from incubating. We are realists, but of course hopeful that eaglets inside the shells are developing, as they should, and the kids get to witness something special!

March 28, 2015

Yesterday (3/27/15) was a banner day in the life of a young male eagle the kids named Taylor. Mr. T. as he has been called or Tay Tay finally learned how to incubate. He did it twice and gave Blair some relief. Maybe it wasn't relief for her, as she was probably a bit worried. Anyway, she was seen on the fishing tree being the preen queen herself. 

This morning, he was perched in a different location downstream between the nest, and the fishing tree. He came in, and incubated for a third time giving Blair yet again some time to stretch and relax. When she arrived he was observed to get a stick and corn-husk and bring them back to the nest. I think I heard him say, "Never know when these things will get plowed under! Get 'em while they are hot!"

There is no change in the eggs in my opinion. They look good by all accounts, but have the temperatures already done the damage is still the question? The count up widget says we are in day 37 here so not too late. We appreciate everyone's optimism, yet realistic attitude. So with caution, I will make this the announcement that this nest is on PIP watch, but with caution.

April 4, 2015

It is likely the eggs will not hatch. We see no real change in the eggs. We are not certain if they were fertilized correctly, and in many cases of new pairs it simply doesn't work out. Or is it simply because the eggs were left alone and the temperature was too cold?

We continue to observe these two do what comes naturally. It has been enlightening to see Taylor do such a nice job when it became his time. Who knows, this might have been the same outcome even if the other male didn't show up. "Nature is neither kind or cruel, it just is." I am not sure who that quote comes from but it makes perfect sense to me. We use the cams as a window into their world, and try to get perspective. Blair & Taylor could incubate for some time and wait for the eggs to tell them they are not OK.

April 21, 2015

Today we experienced the first sign of one of the eggs with what appeared to be a hole, or area where the egg was decomposing. It is day 61, and Blair and Taylor have put in their time. It is time for the eggs to break apart which will give them time to move on. I do not believe that Blair could have done anything to produce a hatch here. We would most likely be observing this even if a male was here in the beginning sharing duties. The eggs were more than likely not fertilized and therefore no growth inside. Let's call this a great trial run, and they will be ready for next season. We will continue to make observations, and leave the time widgets on the web site until the eggs are gone. I would like to personally thank everyone for viewing this incredible season along with us. Every season here has been different in some way. I personally would love next season to be like Season 2. 


May 6, 2015

Last night brought a new experience for Taylor, and all our viewers. For the first time in 75 days, Blair did not come in for night duty. Instead, Taylor kept doing what he believed is his job! It is rare to see a male take night duty, and hopefully, this is yet another sign that good things are on the horizon for these two for years to come. I for one, have never witnessed a male incubate at night. I am sure someone else has but we just don't see it much on LIVE cams. The eggs really haven't changed all that much from the outside. In the two soft areas, more feathers seem to stick. Maybe the egg is seeping. Blair did come and sit for a short time this morning, and then left the eggs. Taylor came back after a good while and incubated. Blair flew to the side branch, and molted a lot of feathers upon landing on the branch. Taylor did the same when he landed. They are ready to move on, just not sure how much more they will sit. How long the cams will be on? For sure they will be on until the end of the month. After that, there are no guarantees.

May 13, 2015

Late yesterday, Blair flew into the nest with a small pine branch. Shortly after, she started to pull up nesting material and place it over the eggs. She took her time while doing this. We knew this was a likely scenario. After she was done, Blair and Taylor were seen on the side branch for about an hour. When I got there, there were turkey vultures soaring overhead. I heard a bit of chattering, maybe to warn the TV's to move on. 

Taylor finally left the side branch with a beautiful fly off. Blair followed, signaling to all watching this might be the finale. It wasn't. Later, Taylor flew back, uncovered at least one egg and incubated. Although, I am not certain the word I should use at this point in incubated when an egg is 80+ days old. Taylor kept getting up and moving around the egg, and then we could see both. He is still there this morning and it is 7:30 AM. He will make a great father eagle someday, hopefully in SEASON 6. It appears he has molted the tail feather that was the darkest, and still has one with some dark on it. Will he lose that by fall? Probably, but he has several dark feathers on his head. We hope he keeps at least a couple of them for us. 


Blair covers the eggs.

 

June 1, 2015...SEASON HAS ENDED

Last week, on May 28th, the raccoon came in, and destroyed the eggs. The only problem was, what took him so long? He had been playing with them for about two weeks! The next morning, Blair even flew to the side branch and watched him play around in the nest. It was like she was saying, "Finally! And don't leave any fragment of them either." It was strange to observe a female bald eagle let a raccoon destroy the eggs she sat on for 70+ days. In the end, the eggs lasted for an incredible 98/95 days.

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Both Blair and Taylor gave us some much needed camera time last week. It was fitting  considering the cameras were scheduled to be turned off for the summer on June 1st. People still interested in talking with each other can still use the Social Stream (SS) on the two-cam page, but chat is turned off to give our mods a much needed break. I will try and get some pictures when I can, or at least pass on some information when the eagles have been sighted. We have no idea what their summer routine is or how far they might travel. The Mississippi River is about 20 minutes away by automobile from the nest.

Please check in on the updates or FaceBook page for anything new. If you haven't had the chance yet, take a look at the raffle for a quilt (link) that was handmade by one of our viewers, Connie Makin. Someone will win a fine quilt! If quilts are not your thing, then it could be gifted to someone. That's a win, win!

Please enjoy your summer months, and everyone stay safe, and join us sometime late summer/early fall.