Good great egret and eagle news


This is a video from Finland, about a great egret at a river in winter. The river is surrounded by ice and snow, but it still flows; a bit similar to the river of the dipper nest I saw in Finland.

Warden Hans Breeveld reports today from Oostvaardersplassen nature reserve in the Netherlands.

There are 171 great egret nests.

This spring, there is at least one eaglet in the sea eagle nest.

Bald eagle nest in New York City, first in 100 years


This BBC video is called Bald Eagle catches salmon.

From Mother Nature Network in the USA:

Bald eagles starting a family in New York City

The majestic pair have what’s believed to be the first active nest in 100 years

By: Ali Berman

Tue, Apr 21, 2015 at 01:19 PM

In Alaska, seeing a bald eagle swooping overhead is magical, if not relatively common. In New York City, it’s a minor miracle.

An elated New York City Audubon announced that a pair of bald eagles has been spotted with what appears to be an active nest on the South Shore of Staten Island, making them the first of the species to incubate eggs in the Big Apple in 100 years.

“The eagles are engaging in brooding behavior typical of nesting birds incubating their eggs,” explained Tod Winston, communications manager and research assistant for NYC Audubon. “Due to the height and location of the nest, it is not possible to actually see into it from the ground.”

The world won’t have to wait too long to see if the birds have successfully started a family. A normal incubation period for the bald eagle is between 34 and 36 days. Both male and female will take turns sitting on the eggs. If the eggs hatch, for the first two weeks of life, at least one parent will stay with the newborns. The one not watching the babies will hunt for prey to feed the family. To see the juveniles fly, we’ll have to wait between 10 and 12 weeks.

Tourists won’t be visiting the nest of this mating pair anytime soon. New York City does not reveal the exact location of bald eagles to help protect them from large crowds and poachers.

The Audubon reports that it is excited about the bald eagles that are establishing roots in the United States’ most populated city, speculating that there are two reasons for the birds’ change of behavior. The local ecosystem is less polluted than it once was, making it a friendlier habitat, and the bald eagle population has rebounded so well that some birds are moving out of more rural areas and into the city.

In 1963, the bald eagle hit its lowest numbers in the U.S. with only 417 documented mating pairs in the lower 48 states, according to NPR. DDT, a pesticide commonly used in the ’40s, contaminated lakes, streams and eventually fish, the eagles’ preferred food. DDT was found to weaken the eggshells. The pesticide, in combination with deforestation and illegal shooting, led to the near extinction of the species.

Due to the low numbers, the bald eagle was declared an endangered species in 1967, even before the Endangered Species Act passed in 1973. In what is considered a great success story, the birds were removed from the endangered species list in 2007, having rebounded to nearly 10,000 mating pairs.

In the wild a bald eagle can live between 15 and 25 years. Many couples mate for life, often returning to the same nest year after year. The birds don’t acquire that telltale white feathered head until they reach 4 or 5 years of age. Before that, the juveniles are mostly brown, and because of their coloring, can be confused with the golden eagle.

Sea eagles back on Orkney islands after 142 years


This February 2013 video from Sweden is called White-tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla).

From Raptor Politics in Britain:

White-tailed eagles nest in Orkney after 142-year absence

A pair of sea eagles are currently nesting on RSPB Scotland’s Hoy nature reserve. It is the first time these birds have attempted to breed in Orkney since 1873. The news suggests Orkney may become the next stop on the sea eagles’ celebrated recolonisation of Scotland. Alan Leitch, RSPB Scotland’s Sites Manager in Orkney, said, “This is a great moment for Hoy and Orkney. Sea eagles are utterly magnificent birds, with a wing span of up to 2.4 m or 8 feet. To see them over the hills of Hoy is a forceful reminder of the sheer beauty of nature.” “Too often with wildlife, once it’s gone it’s gone. It is a privilege to welcome these birds back to a landscape they inhabited for thousands of years.”

Sea eagles have a long history in Orkney. The Bronze Age burial tomb at Isbister, South Ronaldsay (the ‘Tomb of the Eagles’) famously contains their bones, while a Pictish symbol stone found at the Knowe of Burrian, Harray, features a beautifully carved bird.

Sea eagles became extinct across the UK in the early 19th century due to combination of widespread habitat loss and human persecution, with the last bird shot in Shetland in 1918.

Following successful reintroductions since the 1970s on Rum, Wester Ross and more recently in Fife, sea eagles are now reclaiming their former ranges. Success for the pair in Hoy, which have returned to Orkney of their own accord, would represent a significant expansion in breeding range for the birds in Scotland.

The nearest sea eagle territories to Orkney are in the north-west of Scotland, although the origins of the pair currently nesting in Hoy are not yet known. Either or both birds could have hatched in the wild in Scotland, or even in Scandinavia.

Alan Leitch continued, “As Hoy’s first breeding sea eagles in nearly 150 years, we expect this young pair will attract a lot of attention over the next few weeks or months.

“The birds are nesting on the Dwarfie Hamars. To give them the best chance of success, anyone keen to see the birds should keep their distance and ideally keep dogs under close control in the vicinity. The roadside car park for the Dwarfie Stone is a good place to watch from but lingering too long at the Dwarfie Stone itself could alarm the birds.”

“Nesting sea eagles are specially protected by law, so if you see any signs of disturbance please pass your concerns onto the police straightaway.”

The sea eagle is a globally threatened species: there are only around 10,000 pairs in the world, a third of which live in Norway. The re-introduction of sea eagles to their former haunts aims to expand their range and help ensure their survival.

Also known as white-tailed eagles, they are the UK’s largest bird of prey. The birds take around five years to mature enough to breed, but can live into their 30s, generally forming long-term and monogamous bonds with their mates.

The pair currently nesting in Hoy have frequented the area for the last three springs and summers. Both are young birds, thought to be four to five years old, and this is their first known nesting attempt. Although they are inexperienced parents and may not be successful in raising chicks this summer, RSPB Scotland staff are optimistic that the birds will persevere over the coming years to make Hoy their home.

The local RSPB Scotland team are happy to answer questions about the sea eagles, and can be contacted on 01856 850176 or at orkney@rspb.org.uk (office closed Monday 6 April).

April 17th, 2015

Young white-tailed eagle seen again in England


This 2014 video is called The White Tailed Eagle (Birds Documentary).

According to the Twitter account of the RSPB in South and West Scotland, Sona, the white-tailed eagle chick which starred last year on BBC’s Springwatch TV, has been seen again; in County Durham, England.

Sea eagles mating, video


This video is about two sea eagles in Lauwersmeer national park in the Netherlands, mating while shelducks fly past.

Michael Kopijn made this video on 5 March 2015.

White-tailed eagles in new Dutch wildlife film


This is a 27 November 2014 video interview, in English, with cameraman Paul Edwards.

For the new Dutch wildlife film Holland, natuur in de Delta, Paul Edwards was in the Biesbosch national park for months; filming a white-tailed eagle nest and great crested grebes.

The film is expected to be in the cinemas in September 2015.

Young sea eagle seen again in Scotland


This 2013 video from Scotland is called Mull Charters – White-tailed Sea Eagle Fishing.

From Wildlife Extra:

Sona, the lucky White-tailed Eagle, turns up unexpectedly in south west Scotland

A young White-tailed Eagle that hit the headlines last year when her dramatic nest eviction was caught on camera, has caused a new stir after choosing Dumfries and Galloway as her latest stamping ground.

The bird, nicknamed Sona or Lucky in Gaelic, had to be returned to her nest on the island of Mull by Forestry Commission Scotland climbers last June after being attacked by an intruding eagle and falling 30ft to the ground.

This video from Scotland says about itself:

A dramatic sequence indeed: An immature White-tailed Eagle lands on a branch next to the nest. The chick starts to call repeatedly. At 1min 45secs the immature WTE jumps into the nest. There follows a tense stand-off. At 4mins 30secs the chick is forced from the nest, and falls 30ft to the ground. The intruder starts to eat the food.

This video from Scotland says about itself:

The male (Cuin) arrives with a fish, food for what he believes is his chick. However the intruding immature WTE reacts extremely aggressively, taking Cuin by surprise. This short fracas ends up with Cuin hanging upside down over the nest edge while still holding on to the fish. He then breaks free, only to return a short while later to try and evict the immature WTE…. He fails and again flies off. He returns later and lands on the branch next to the nest constantly calling for his own chick. Possibly hearing the chick below on the ground, he flies off. – continued in “White-tailed Eagle 29/06/14 – Nest Invasion Part 3″.

This video from Scotland says about itself:

White-tailed Eagle 28/06/14 – Nest Invasion Part 3

Having established that the chick is on the ground, the immature bird is finally evicted by the male (Cuin) and the female (Sula). The nest is reclaimed. However their chick remains extremely vulnerable on the ground below. FOOTNOTE: The following day the chick was returned to the nest by two Forestry Commission Scotland climbers. A thorough health check confirmed that it was quite unharmed. Of course the chick’s fate would have been quite different if it wasn’t for the live camera on the nest and the “eagle eye” of RSPB Mull Officer, Dave Sexton.

The Wildlife Extra article continues:

The behaviour, which can be seen at www.carnyx.tv, had never been recorded before and was a surprise to the experts.

Now Sona has provided a further surprise this January after being repeatedly sighted in the south west corner of Scotland, where White-tailed Eagles haven’t bred for over 150 years.

Dave Sexton, RSPB Scotland Mull Officer, says: “We know this bird well after all the drama last summer, and I’m extremely relieved to hear that she’s alive and apparently healthy.

“We got her back into her nest uninjured after her dangerous fall, and she fledged a few weeks later. But that’s often the last we’ll see of these young eagles, as they wander quite widely in their first few years.

“It’s unusual to have so many sightings of a juvenile like this in Dumfries and Galloway, even though it’s perfect eagle habitat.

“She’s gone from the Isle of Mull to the Mull of Galloway, probably via the Mull of Kintyre, so she clearly likes to mull things over!”

Sona was one of the stars of the BBC’s Springwatch in 2014. She was just eight-weeks old when she was forced from her nest on FCS land on Mull.

A member of the public, who had been watching the nest webcam, alerted the Mull Eagle Watch team to the truth behind her tumble, allowing the dramatic footage to come to light.

It was also members of the public who spotted the bird in Dumfries and Galloway, and their photographs and film sent to the RSPB identified her.

Chris Rollie, RSPB Scotland area manager for Dumfries and Galloway, says: “We’d heard reports of White-tailed Eagle sightings from several Wigtownshire locations in the last few weeks, and thanks to her leg rings and local birdwatcher Brian Henderson’s photography, we were able to positively identify her as the lucky Mull bird.

“As you can imagine, people have been very excited. White-tailed Eagles are such distinctive birds and it’s an absolute pleasure to see one.

“They haven’t bred in Dumfries and Galloway since 1856 and Sona will probably move on to another area before long. But it gives you a real glimpse of what the future could be and the hope there is now, just 40 years after their re-introduction, that these magnificent birds could once again be seen in our skies right across Scotland.”

White-tailed Eagles were re-introduced first to Rum in 1975, and quickly spread to nearby islands.

An east-coast re-introduction project began in 2007, with the first chick successfully fledging in 2013.

Sona’s mother, Sula, was a Norwegian bird released in the first year of the east-coast project, showing that the two populations are now starting to come together to breed.

Sula, and her mate Cuin, will once again be the stars of the Mull Eagle Watch webcam (provided by Carnyx Wild) this year, and you can also visit them in person through organised trips starting in April.