Since the nest was vacated on May 9 more geese have been observed checking out the nest, and there are eagles on the refuge. But so far there have been no takers among either geese or eagles to settle in the nest for a new brood. It’s now getting late in the season for either to begin a new nest… but a bit more time will tell.
The goose pair that colonized the eagle nest produced five goslings on May 8. Unlike eagles, which will rear their young in the nest, geese leave the nest shortly after hatching and get down to the waterways to find food.
The baby goslings made their big jump from the nest, which is at a height of about 60 feet, on May 9. Check this 4-minute video, with the goslings getting up their courage for the jump beginning at around 3 minutes.
Do you think that last little fellow was getting a bit panicked?
After many technical hurdles over the past month in getting the camera signal from the base of the tree relayed to the refuge headquarters – and then onto the Internet – this morning we finally have our video stream online! The new camera produces a good, full-motion stream – plus we have audio, which was sorely missing previously.
And lo, as we went online today a pair of geese arrived and immediately made themselves at home. So with the geese colonizing the nest, it appears the eagle nest this season may be a “geegle” nest. Geese, of course, are fascinating too; they don’t build nests themselves and thus will take over the nests of other large birds, particularly ospreys. Typically geese lay 2-8 eggs with a gestation period of 28-30 days. If things progress we may see goslings around May 6-8; the little ones will be in the nest only a day or so, then will jump out to join their parents on the ground below the nest. For this nest high in a cottonwood tree, that’s a drop of about 60 feet.
Thank you to the many collaborators on this project: the Friends of Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge, which purchased the camera equipment and spearheaded this whole effort; Skywalker Tree Care and Michael Richardson for climbing the nest tree and placing the camera; Meadow Creek Computer Works and InterMax Networks for providing networking services and Internet connection; camera tech Carlo Pati for configuring the camera and live stream here; and of course the Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge itself for its partnership.
Now, let’s watch and see what Nature has in store for us, and the geese and the eagles this year!
Work is under way to begin the live webcast of the eagle’s nest in 2014. The Friends of Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge on Saturday, Feb. 23, installed a new web cam at the nest that will support a better live stream onto the Internet (and this page). The eagles’ nest is about 60 feet up a large cottonwood tree, and the project to install the new camera required the special tree-scaling skills of Michael Richardson of Skywalker Tree Care. This photo shows Richardson nearing the nest at the top of the tree; for an album of photos from the weekend camera install, go to the Sandpoint Online Facebook page»
The eagles should begin to utilize the nest soon; last year they laid their first egg on March 5. As you can note from last year’s posts on this page, despite incubating two eggs with apparent care last year, neither egg hatched. We’re hoping for better luck this year!
Even before launch of this new eagle cam page, it had become apparent that the eagles eggs are most likely not viable. Eagle incubation typically takes about 35 days, but with the first egg laid on March 5, as of today it has been about 49 days. Says refuge staffer Talina Richards: “We are not sure why the eggs are not viable: could be the eggs were not fertilized, could be environmental factors, we’re not really sure.” However, when an initial attempt fails, eagles will sometimes try for a second brood. “If it’s inexperienced parents, they may not try again and even if they did, there is no guarantee they will use the same nest,” said Richards.
Currently the eagles are leaving the eggs unattended for longer periods each day. At this point, eagle watchers can only wait and see if they will attempt a second brood.
Greetings: We are kicking off the launch of this page with the web cam. Watch this “Blog Notes” column for occasional news from the nest and interpretive comments provided by naturalists and observers. We hope all visitors enjoy this opportunity to peek into the Kootenai eagles’ nest! Meantime, here are a few photos to give you a sense of the nest:
This photo, taken by Mike Richardson of Skywalker Tree Care while installing the web cam, shows the view from the eagle nest.
Here is a second view from the eagle nest, taken during the web cam installation.
This photo is a screen capture from the web cam, taken about April 2 with both parents in the nest.
Here’s a common sight for visitors to the refuge.