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near Vian, Oklahoma
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Nest updates for 2021
24 November 2020: This is the annual wait-and-see if the eagles will use the same nests as last year. We hope so, but there is never a guarantee that they won’t choose an alternate nest site.
26 October 2020: The camera was hit by lightning some time ago, causing an outage. We recently replaced the camera and the cable to restore the view. The nest tree is now dead, so we don’t know how long it will remain before it falls, or if the eagles will return to use the nest this year after their failure last year, but we can be watching!
Nest updates for 2020:
29 April 2020: A late afternoon nap in the sun for this raccoon.
26 March 2020: The raccoons are still present.
21 March 2020: A new resident has moved in to the eagle nest. Is the eagle pair puzzled? Perturbed? This sequence of photos was taken in two sessions a couple of hours apart. First of the raccoon basking in the sun in mid-afternoon, and later the eagle inspecting the new hole in the bottom of the nest, as well as the raccoon partially emerging from the hole.
5 March 2020: Both adults visited the nest near sunset, prior to roosting for the night.
1 March 2020: Both adults roosting at the nest tonight.
24 February 2020: One eagle roosted in the nest tonight.
17 February 2020: A prey item that appeared to be an American Coot was taken to the nest and eaten this afternoon.
14 February 2020: Since our last update on the 10th, the remaining egg was incubated less and less, and has essentially been abandoned at this point. It is still early enough in the nesting season that it could be removed by the eagles and a new clutch laid, although after a nest failure such as this, a re-nesting attempt may be more likely to take place at an alternate nest site in their territory rather than at the site of the failure. If the eagles do move to another nest site, there is always the possibility of something else trying to move into the nest, as we saw in February of 2013 when a Great Horned Owl attempted to nest here after the eagles failed. The photo below is from this nest in 2013 when the owl laid 2 eggs alongside an eagle egg that had failed to hatch.
10 February 2020: Our last comment about it being “interesting to see what happens” proved prophetic! Life in the wild is never dull, even if the act of incubating eggs for over a month looks sedate most of the time. Shortly after 4 PM on Saturday, the incubating eagle was attacked by an intruding eagle. Less than a hour later, there was a second attack. The intruder was apparently repelled both times, but at the cost of one egg, which had significant damage, and was eaten about 25 hours later by the adult on Sunday evening. Many species of birds from the size of hummingbirds on up face similar attempts by rivals to take over territories and prime nesting sites. While we all are cheering for a successful nest, our camera shows what really happens each day at a wild eagle nest, both the good and the bad. We can’t say at this point whether or not the remaining egg is viable. Because we suspect this is a new male since last season, it is possible that the eggs were infertile (not uncommon in eagles and other birds), or the remaining egg may have been damaged in the attack. We won’t have to wait very long to find out. If the egg is going to hatch, it should happen later this week. Here are some photos from the Saturday attacks, and the next days.
7 February 2020: The first picture below shows adjustments being made to the nest lining. Still two eggs, and based on the laying date, the hatch timing is more likely to be later this weekend rather than today. A number of people have commented on how infrequently the mate returns to the nest. We are gearing up for three major projects this spring, and have had limited time to watch the nest this year, but we agree that the pattern of visitation by the mate this season is very infrequent compared to previous years at this nest, when he often returned almost hourly. This likely indicates that something happened to the original male between last nesting season and this season, and the female has a new partner this year. There can be significant differences in attentiveness and other behaviors among individual birds. As always, it will be interesting to see what happens!
Coming back for incubation duty!
5 February 2020: It looks like the first egg has pipped! This is right on time for the expected hatch date of February 6 or 7
for the first egg. The process of hatching in eagles can take up to 2 days. It is a lot of tiring work to break out of that shell!
3 February 2020: Incubation must be easier on February days like this when the temperature reaches 70 degrees F!
29 January 2020: A flock of Red-winged Blackbirds passes by the nest while the eagles take a brief break from incubation.
23 January 2020: The eagle pair roosting with heads tucked after sunset.
7 January 2020: A second egg was laid today!
4 January 2020: The first egg was laid this afternoon!
Nest Updates for the 2019 season:
28 May 2019: The internet connection at the refuge seems to be struggling today, but the chick is still there and significant flooding is visible below the nest.
2 May 2019: As viewers have seen, the eaglet is occasionally out of sight of the camera now as it prepares to leave the nest for good. It may occasionally return in the next few weeks, but also don’t be surprised if it leaves soon and isn’t seen again on camera. This is normal.
26 April 2019: The eaglet has been branching recently, as shown here. This period of exploration outside of the nest precedes fledging.
24 April 2019: The egg is gone, after being seen with a hole in it last week (see April 16 photo below).
16 April 2019: The eaglet is exercising its wings regularly in preparation for leaving the nest within the next few weeks.
2 April 2019: Stretching feels good!
1 April 2019: A little bit of gray down is still present on the chick along its back, as visible here, but the dark brown juvenile feathering is now almost complete.
27 March 2019: A subadult eagle landed on the nest and began eating leftover food. Before long, one of the adults flew in to aggressively displace the intruder!
13 March 2019: It is a wet day at the nest!
11 March 2019: More and more feathers are appearing as dark blobs within the chick’s coat of gray down.
4 March 2019: Feed me! The chick has grown substantially in the past week, and can spend a little more time uncovered, even with the chilly weather.
26 February 2019: An adult returns to the nest after a short break away.
21 February 2019: While the majority of time is spent brooding the young chick at this stage of the nesting cycle, the chick is fed a number of times each day, which provides good viewing opportunities.
18 February 2019: Feeding time at the nest.
10 February 2019: The new arrival has more fish than it can eat for quite some time!
8 February 2019: While the first egg has likely failed, it looks like the second has been pipped! And food is arriving!
7 February 2019: Still two eggs!
6 February 2019: Still two eggs!
5 February 2019: Waiting for the first egg to hatch!
29 January 2019: All appears well at the nest, with incubation of two eggs continuing.
25 January 2018: Nighttime incubation and roosting on a nearby branch.
18 January 2019: Another mild day at the eagle nest, but it is about to turn colder tomorrow.
16 January 2018: After a short break, an eagle returns to resume incubation.
15 January 2019: Here is an action shot of one adult leaving while the other takes over incubation.
14 January 2019: Incubation of two eggs continues. One picture shows both adults at the nest, while the other shows one bird preening after taking over incubation duties while the second bird flies off to a nearby branch for a break.
7 January 2019: A second egg was laid the evening of January 6!
4 January 2019: Two adults at the nest with one egg. And a photo of turning the egg for incubation. Bald Eagles begin incubating when the first egg is laid. Any subsequent eggs laid a few days apart then hatch at later dates than the first egg, and the chicks will be slightly different ages and sizes. This incubation strategy differs from some other birds such as quail, which start incubating when their full clutch is complete and all chicks hatch at about the same time.
3 January 2019: The first egg is here (as of yesterday), on a cold and rainy day for incubation!
September 2018: We have replaced the broken camera at Sequoyah NWR in preparation for the 2019 nesting season. Now we are hoping that the eagles decide to use this nest once again! We should know sometime in November or December. Here is a photo from 22 September of an adult at the nest.