Friday, May 20, 2016

The Eagle Nest

(Click on photos to zoom in for a closer view)

I have been watching this eagle nest since the middle of February as the parents
take turns preparing the nest, incubating eggs and feeding the babies.  They hatched two babies this year and as you can see from the size of them, they are close to leaving the nest.

The eagles are constantly adding more branches to the nest.  Yesterday while I was taking photos along the river I had an odd experience when an eagle came flying right at me carrying a stick.  He dropped it over my head like one of those planes dropping bombs in the old WWII movies. I stepped back and it hit the ground with a thud, missing me by less than 2 feet. That's when I realized that it was not a stick that bird was carrying, that was a really big tree branch and probably would have done some damage to me if I hadn't moved fast.  I looked it up, an eagle nest can weigh 2 tons, so that might bring the size of those sticks in the photos into more perspective!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Termite Terminator

Got a mouse problem? Get a cat!
Got termites? Get a Cat...bird!
This Catbird was thrilled to find an old piece of wood covered with newly hatched termites. Within minutes he swallowed them all, one by one. Reminded me of myself with a bag of potato chips, only these chips had wings, although I did have a really old bag of chips once and I think I saw some of them moving  :-)

(Click on photos to zoom in for a closer view)

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Pileated Parenting

I found a Pileated Woodpecker's nest hole today which was very exciting because it is one of my favorite birds to watch. They make a lot of noise pecking the trees for bugs and sound like a laughing hyena when they fly so they aren't too hard to find.  In the photo above, the male woodpecker is going into the nest hole to feed the babies. 

It is the largest North American woodpecker and although it looks a lot like Woody Woodpecker, I am told Woody was based on an Acorn Woodpecker not a Pileated (Hard to believe, google Acorn Woodpecker photos and you will see what I mean, Woody does not look like an Acorn Woodpecker).

Once dad was in the nest the babies started making a racket. You can see one baby beak just below his head peeking out of the hole. Mom and Dad take turns incubating the eggs and feeding the babies.

Pileateds perform a courtship dance, the pair in the photo above was chasing each other around my back yard a few weeks ago. They would stop, bow and walk around each other. Pileated pairings tend to be for life. The family will stay together until the Fall and then the young ones will go off to start their own families. Hopefully I will get to see the babies soon!