The following entries are from the Eagle Journal Teresa has been keeping since she and Michael started their research six years ago at Jim Habasco's farm in Charlevoix County in Northern Michigan. Their first season they spent December through March in a roughly constructed "eagle blind". It was a 6' x 4' wooden structure with no insulation and little peepholes with plexiglass covers for shooting out of. They had a port-a-pot and a five gallon bucket to sit on and a little "buddy" heater to help stave off the cold Northern Michigan winter. That did not deter them from going every chance they could that winter. It paid off in aces as they say (see photos of Ripper on the Eagle page).
The following year they had moved on up to the big times with a 1955 travel trailer that Michael was in the process of remodeling to become their summer home/studio in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It did at least have some insulation and a little bed for one of them to lay down on when boredom over took them. And they had real windows! And best of all room to move around in. They were actually able to get the now fully remodeled travel trailer positioned before deer hunting season began in November. So they spent many a day, sometimes even back to back days out enjoying the beauty of Nature at its finest. When not shooting eagles, ravens and hawks Teresa spends many ot this days updating her journal, website and FACEBOOK page. We discovered Jim and ‘his’ eagles over six years ago. Wewere out for a Sunday ‘exploration’ drive when we ran across a field of deer carcasses. On further study we discovered eagles in the trees. We visited the area several more times that winter. On one of those visits we met Jim and the rest as they say is history.
Eagle Journal November 7, 2010 Well it our first time out to our ‘eagle’ blind for this season. I am so geeked. I am like a camera junkie!
I need to be seeking out my ‘prey’ and trying to capture it at it’s best.
It is 38 degrees at 6:30am. We will enjoy the weather while we have it. Of course, the worse the weather is the better the chance to see hungry eagles.
At 7:00 we have two eagles in the trees and lots of ravens!! Sweet! A two year old is on the perching tree and a mature in another. Now another mature came in and tried to knock the two year old off. It didn’t succeed so it headed east soaring away.
7:30 and the seagulls are circling but not landing. Another eagle comes in and knocks the two year off the perching tree. Then we have another eagle. That makes four in the trees- two 2 year olds, a juvenile and a mature.
We have some ravens on the ground by the carrion pile. We have seagulls on the roof. It has taken them three attempts at coming in before they feel safe enough to land. They would get closer and closer to the ground after each pass.
A raven got a piece of meat and headed east followed by the mature eagle. The three young eagles went after the mature eagle after it got the piece of meat.
The mature eagle came back at 9:00am. So we have two 2year olds, one juvenile and one mature! By 9:20 we have added the other mature to the trees. And all is quiet. The seagulls and ravens have dispersed for the time being. We have a mature that like to chatter. Maybe it is Smudgie from last year will have to see if I can get a close up of her.
Well, the game is back on! The seagulls are back flying and swooping around. They finally touchdown fifteen minutes later. The eagles come and go keeping the seagulls on their ’toes’.
The ravens are aggravating the heck out of a couple of the eagles, especially the two year old on the perching tree. That raven is being merciless! I wouldn’t be surprised if the eagle did cause bodily harm to that pesky raven!
One mature and the juvenile fly off to the north soaring leisurely. The raven it still after that poor two year old on the perching tree!
10:00 the juvenile and the mature are coming back soaring over us. Then the other mature and one of the two year old takes off soaring to the north. Still one two year old left in the trees. Now we also have a rough-legged hawk in the maple tree to the west at 10:30.
The other two year old returns, then starts musical trees. They are here-they are there-they are gone! But there is always one eagle left to guard the carrion pile at all times. They definitely do not want the rough-leg to a chance to feed. They certainly are bullies!! The poor rough-leg finally takes off around 12:00 soaring to the north.
12:40 one two year old is still in the tree with a few seagulls milling around. The rough-leg is kettling with a group of seagulls.
The chatty mature shows up back in the tree with the two year old that has been patiently standing sentinel.
1:45 we have one seagull on the ground and a bunch of ravens in the trees next to the eagles.
2:10 the two year old flew over and I was able to off a good shot! Then one of the big beautiful ravens was feeding on a piece of meat and I was able to get some super shots of it for my book!! The lighting is perfect!! Shining right on the birds!
2:30 our two year old makes several passes over the pile almost attempting a snatch and grab. But I didget some really great shots this time!!! Sweet!!!
It is 3:00 and I have just finished this journal up to the present moment. The laptop battery is at 50% so I will probably log off and finish this later tonight. What an AWESOME DAY!!!!!
3:15 our rough-leg hawk is on the pile!! Sweet we were both able to get some good shots of it as it gobbled down a piece of meat before being chased off by the mature eagle.
So we have the mature and a two year old in the trees. Then at 3:50 the other two year old reappears. The mature take off twenty minutes later to the west never to return.
The two 2 year olds stay together in one tree until the waning light of day. Finally they both vanished into thin air. Then one came back and sat until we finally called it a day. And a great day it was!!!
Eagle Journal November 28, 2010
Arrived at Jim’s around 6:15. It is 26 degrees but no wind so it really feels mild. The stars are out with an occasional cloud. It was overcast for a while but cleared up as daylight arrived. I heard the first raven around 7:30 and we had our first eagles in shortly afterward. Two immature eagles in the trees and a third one went behind to the maple? A few ravens are flying around and the seagulls are kettling. 7:45 we have another eagle and a raven on the ground. Now there are over thirty seagulls kettling and another eagle just went behind us. One eagle knocked another off the perching tree. Then a minute later they traded places again. It is so fun to watch them. They act just like kids do. We have a mature in the trees at 8:00. Seagulls are still circling but not ready to settle down yet. We have eight ravens on the ground behind the carrion pile. We now have four immature eagles and one mature in the trees in front of us. Sweet!! Then one flew into the swamps. The mature came in and grabbed a piece of meat. It was then chased by one of the immature eagles into the swamp. They came back but continued heading west fighting as they went. This had all taken place by 8:15. A very action packed first 45 minutes!! The sun is breaking through again!! Now fifty plus seagulls are kettling. The mature is back in the trees with three of the immature eagles. No make that four. One just landed on the perching tree. After the fifth time around the seagulls decided to come into the carrion pile. Let the noise begin!! Another eagle came from the north so that makes 5 immature eagles and one mature. No, make that two matures at 8:30. Action!! A second year landed on the ground behind the post. A second year came down by it. They had a little squabble then flew into the tall grasses to the west where they we joined by a third eagle. Unfortunately, they were out of both Michael and my range to capture any footage. Five minutes later one of the second years came back and landed on our ’new’ post. Michael put a post in the ground about 20-30 yards from the trailer. He angled it and hung a string on it. He wants to study the intelligence of the ravens. They are one very clever bird so we are hoping to capture some fun antics. But we have an added bonus, Jim said that one of the younger eagles loves to sit on the post, grab a piece of meat then go back to the post to eat it. Sweet!!! It didn’t stay long enough to get something to eat but hopefully later. It is like musical trees out there. Then a mature heads west an immature south then back again. An eagle comes in from the north as the seagulls continue to gorge themselves. 9:00 second year chases a seagull that has a piece of meat. Then all heck breaks loose. Eagles flying everywhere!! After everything settled down we had four immature eagles and three matures at 9:40. Nothing moved for the next twenty minutes or so. The seagulls are still very noisy, of course. A raven just took off with something white in its bill. Another raven chases it then one of the matures starts to follow but just ended up landing in another tree. Another mature takes off but just lands in another tree, too. They must be stretching their wings. The mature continues to change trees one mature takes off to the west. A few minutes later it was back!?! First we have two matures in the air then five eagle now all seven eagles are flying and fighting every which way!!! Then back to the tree by 10:30. Wow!!! Amazing to see these powerful eagles flipping and fighting in midair!! Smudge from last year is back. She just flew by and landed in one of the trees to the east. The second year went to the west. They all spend the next half hour flying back and forth and all around keeping the pot stirred up. We had the juvenile come back in and land on the ground but…It didn’t stay long enough for Michael to get a shot. By 12:30 we only have one mature and one immature eagle in the trees. A mature flies over then behind us. Two of the immature eagles are back from their soaring exercise. Mr. Raven lands in the middle of the seagull chaos. He enjoyed every minute of it!! By 1:30 we have a four year old join our mix. It flies in and out the trees being more of a pain to everything including the other eagles. It knocks Smudge off the perching tree then follows her down to the other tree where second year is also at. 2:30 Smudge and the fourth year along with the second year are together in a tree. Then a third year flies in from the north to land in the tree next to the others. So we have two mature and two immature eagles with a lot of seagulls and a raven on the ground. We have had twelve or more different eagles here throughout the day. It is amazing how different they all are. Once you have study them it gets easier to tell them apart. We have two more eagles in the tree behind us at 2:45. The juvenile is on the ground with a piece of meat back by the trees at 3:00. That is what happens when the seagulls and ravens take off with the meat. They get scared and drop it where ever. One mature took off but came right back and knocked the other mature off. That one then flew to the maple tree where two immature eagles were. So we had another round of musical trees. After viewing some of my shots, I found that the fourth year has a band on its right leg. That means that it is a Lower Peninsula bird. At 4:30 we had a mature land on the ground farther out. Then the second year landed next to it then the juvenile tried to upset them both. Eventually the mature flew off to the trees carrying its piece of meat it had retrieved from the ground (again!). The second year sat there for quite a while contemplating whether to come in closer for a piece of meat or not. It finally gave up and went back to the trees to greet the enveloping darkness. We have enjoyed having eagles within our range of sight all day long!!! The seagulls have just now left at 4:55. We still have the third year and Smudge in the trees. Smudge was just chattering at the second year to see if it was ready to head out yet or not. (Well she could be asking that!?!)
Eagle Journal December 5, 2010
It is 28 degrees with the wind howling as we trudge through the trail that Jim had so graciously plowed for us.
7:38 am. The ravens are flying over which is a very promising sight. No sign of eagles yet but it is still fairly dark. The first seagull soars over at 7:49 am.
Twenty or so ravens are gathering at the edge of the carrion pile. I love to watch these interesting creatures.They posture and strut to see who is king of the moment.
An eagle or a rough-legged hawk flew along the edge of the trees where a raven is digging in the snow. It is so darn comically to watch.
The seagulls are starting to swarm and squawk at 8:10 am. A young eagle flew high overhead.
The snow is picking up and the ravens love it!! Another eagle flies low over the other eagle in one of the trees at 8:15 am.
There must be something behind us the way the other birds are reacting.A mature eagle flies into the perching tree at 8:52 am. By 9:25 it has disappeared? But it is back at 9:45.
A juvenile flies over the trees to where? At 10:00 a mature or fourth year flies over from the northwest but heads over to the big pine tree to the east.
The ravens are back around as the snow picks up again. The seagulls are spooked again and again. Once again there must be something behind us across the road.
A young eagle just flew by and went into a birch tree farther down to the west with a couple of ravens chasing it. A rough-legged hawk just came from the west to the tree in front of us. The wind is out of the west. The snow is big flakes that are flying sideways at 10:30.
There are twenty or more ravens and sixty or so seagulls out in the wind and the snow in a state of chaos. The seagulls are playing tug of war posturing to see who the boss is.
One raven is so darn funny. It is picking and pulling the wings of a seagull he doesn’t want to see win the tug of war. Then I see the ravens attempting to play tug of war with a frozen piece of tallow. But after a few attempts they decide it is too much work and looks silly.
One raven has a piece of frozen meat in the shape of a ball that it is flaunting in front of the seagulls It lays on its side and tries to get the other birds to be interested.
This is so not what we had expected today. We thought we would have lots of eagles and lots of action. But instead we have three eagles barely visible in the trees, sixty plus seagulls and twenty plus ravens at 11:00.
Finally we have one- no two eagles flying low over the pile heading east. Then one circled back around with a raven after it.We now have three young eagles and one mature eagle.
Sweet- a first year is close to the trailer on the east side. Action!! A second year came in to where the first year was. And of course a little squabble ensued not just once but twice in a matter of twenty minutes!!
Wow!! Another second year is on the ground. The first year is in the trees full of ravens. A mature eagle comes in from the east.The second year was on the ground for at least ten minutes. Then another mature eagle lands in the tree with two others. Both second years? We now have two mature eagles and three young eagles.
One of the second years comes in and chases the one on the ground to the trees. In the process we have probably two hundred seagulls on the ground in a feeding frenzy!! The noise, the chaos this is what we had expected!!
It is now 12:35 with the eagles now flying in and out of the trees playing musical trees. Each time an eagle flies the seagulls take off again and again!
A mature eagle just snatched a piece of meat in the field chased by ravens and one of the young eagles. The young eagle went back to the trees. The mature and the ravens went north. Another one of the younger eagles is on the ground out behind us with another one next to the trailer again.
Another mature and younger eagle just both nabbed a piece of meat from the field to the east of the trailer.
We decide to take the cover off the window to the east. That seems to be where the eagles are enjoying snatching pieces of meat that the ravens and seagulls have strewn all around.
We have a second year to the east right near the trailer. Oh my gosh, a fourth year just stole the meat the second year had been eating. It was able to devour quite a bit of it before it was taken. The poor thing! This is part of the learning process for these younger eagles. It is what we call survival of the fittest.
We know have three matures, a fourth year and two younger eagles in our vision. It has been hard to decipher how many different eagles we have out there.
The eagle that has been to the east eating is actually a mutant. It is a second year but it is in the molting process. Its upper breast feathers looks like that of a second year. The lower chest feathers look like that of a first year. I love being able to capture the unique stages that these majestic creatures morph from.
It is back to the east of us again. It is lucky we can open that window otherwise we would be missing out on all of this great action!!!
We now have not one, not two, but three mature eagles out in front of us!! One snatches a piece of meat a heads back to the trees. The second one does the same thing. That leaves one fourth year sitting in the snow. It sits and sits and sits. Then another mature comes into the east of the trailer and quickly snatches a piece of meat before I could even focus. Oh well, at least I got to see. It is now 2:30.
I told Michael it would be great if we could blink our eye and turn on the camera behind it. What sights we would see!
We now have four younger eagles-no make that five along with four mature eagles-no make that five, too.
Five minutes later one juvenile then a third year then a second year landed to on our east side. There are four other eagles flying and fighting. OH MY GOSH! They are playing musical trees again but in double time.
They are like flying banshees!! As one snatches a piece of meat three others are there to try to steal it. At one point I told Michael they looked like ‘dementors’ from the Harry Potter books. They were coming down to suck the food from the other eagle.
We had up to five of them in the maple to the west of us but, of course, not where we could shoot them from. It was so crazy even Michael didn’t sleep the day away like he quite often does.
The wind has kicked up in full force!!! And the eagles love it!! This is what we expected to see today and we are!! How awesome is that!! Yes we wish it wasn’t snowing so much. We wish it was brighter out…but nothing matters when you get to experience the sights we are witnessing today!!
It is now 3:30 our second year and the fourth year (Bandit) are swooping landing in the trees. Then they come back around to the east where I was able to follow the second year all the way to the ground! And I was able to shoot it as it took off with a chunk of meat.
One by one the eagles all got a piece of meat and eventually headed off for the night. It is really snowing and blowing so we think we should take off.
As we stepped out of the trailer four of the eagles were kettlling just to the east.A rough-legged hawk was flying west. We had a super day! We are super tired (but a great tired).
Eagle Journal December 19, 2010
It is 6:30 and 22 degrees, mild with no wind. First raven scout at 7:55 followed by one eagle then second eagle then a third eagle. One is really chattering by 8:00.Then another eagle arrives and yet another eagle. The ravens are on the ground just beyond the carrion pile.
Two more eagles fly into the trees. So we have seven eagles in the trees and over twenty ravens on the ground. No make that forty plus ravens by 8:10.
It is always so interesting to study the ravens. Their actions and interactions with each other and the eagles is so facinating. You would be amazed at the sounds that come out of their bills. They can sound like a purr or squawks or even glunks like a frog makes.
We have a juvenile on the ground farther out near the tree line with another one on the perching tree. We have a second year in the trees in front of us with another second year and a fifth year in the trees to the west.
The second year and fifth year landed on the ground near the juvenile where a little ruckus took place. It is so awesome to see these beautiful creatures fight. It is amazing that they don’t injure each other more with those powerful talons extended.
They all headed back to the trees where yet another eagle has arrived. The seagulls are scouting out the carrion pile. The on juvenile is very restless. It must be hunger. Hopefully, we will get some action soon.
One of the mature knocks off the fifth year. Then a chase ensues with five eagles chasing and fighting over the swamp to the east.
By 8:30 we have forty ravens and at least six eagles in the trees.Then ‘poof’ the ravens took off back to the trees!?! Ah ha! We found the reason-a rough-legged hawk is in the maple tree.
It is spitting at 8:45 but only for about fifteen minutes. The ravens are back at it again. Then ‘poof’ they are gone again. The eagles are restless. A mature is playing musical trees. Then a second year decides to chase the ravens that have been bugging it.
Too bad it is such a gloomy day. It doesn’t make for great photos but I am just happy to be able to be here to witness these magnificent birds.
9:45 we have at least eight eagles in our viewing area but no action. The ravens are entertaining though. They are attacking the seagulls that have finally come in to feed. Then ‘poof’ the ravens take off. They are hyper little buggers today.
A little musical trees is played again at 10:15.
We have three juveniles, a second year, four matures but still not moving in to the pile at 11:30. A mature takes a couple of flybys checking out a couple of pieces of loose meat. Then a juvenile lands on the ground. A couple of more matures land on the ground around noon. The fifth year lands and takes off then lands again but it doesn’t get anything.
Ok here it starts a seagull takes off with a piece of meat. A second year and fifth year take off after it. The seagull swallowed it before the eagles could get it to drop the meat. The fifth year heads over the swamp comes back then heads southeast.
12:30 we have a mature flyby then a second mature. We have at least eight no make that makes nine eagles around us. A second year flies by several times. Then another seagull gets a piece of meat and takes off. The second year gets the meat with two matures right after. They head east where another mature leaps out of the big pine tree to add to the chase. That makes at least ten eagles now. Sweet!
Once again, whenever I whine about no action-bam-it happens. Yeah!!!
1:00 a mature swoops in to grab a loose piece of meat then back to the trees. Then once again a seagull takes off with a big piece of meat that drops and breaks in two. A fast moving mature came in and nabbed both pieces. Pooh!! I wasn’t able to get to the other window fast enough to capture it. That is what frustrates me the most-not capturing that amazing moment. Well it wasn’t the first time and won’t be the last time that I missed ’the shot’. But as I have said it is an honor just to be able to witness those moments.
Another seagull takes off with meat. A second year comes back from the east along with one of the mature to get in on some more action.
A mature from the swamp comes in to knock off a second year from the perching tree. Another mature goes to the east of the trailer to grab something out of the drive.
We now have six eagles in front of us, one in maple and two behind us. Another seagull took off with eagles quickly after it. We have eagles everywhere now at least twelve by 2:00.
The brave rough-legged hawk is back in a tree to the east. All of a sudden one of the juvenile took off after the poor hawk.
All heck breaks out with eagles flying everywhere. We have at least twelve eagles all around us.
I make a point to keep track of where all the eagles are and just what the seagulls are doing. I know when the seagulls get some meat loose from the pile that there is a good chance that it will fly. Needless to say the minute I take a quick break-BAM!! A mature nabs one piece of meat and a second year nabs the second piece!! Aaarrrggh!!!!
I have to gain control of myself and get back in the game. Every second can mean the difference in getting that great shot or catching empty air.
We have four on the ground behind us and three eagles in the air at 3:10. A mature flies off followed by a fourth year, a second year and two juveniles.
The one juvenile has gotten a piece of meat and lands on the ground in front of us. The other juvenile lands, then the second year swoops down closely followed by the fourth year. It is so amazingly awesome to see these eagles batter at each other as they land practically on top of each other. Sweet!!
We not only have the four on the ground but five more in the area. Michael and I don’t know which way to look.
One of the juveniles flies into the maple. A mature eagle flies back to the east and the fourth year is having fun knocking the other younger eagles off their perches. There is always a bully in every bunch.
It is now 4:00 and starting to snow. It looks like the eagles are not ready to quit yet. Another mature gets a piece of meat chased by a fifth year. A juvenile eagle lands right in front of us along with a second year but only for a quick second.
The seagulls are dragging meat every which way. There is some to the east of us that I am trying to focus on. Aaarrrggh!! Once again the mature does not go for the piece I am focused on but the one farther to the right.
Now we have two fourth years and a third year in the trees. I so love the third years. Their markings are so different and they are so hard to capture on film. They are the hyper nervous phase of the eagle’s life.
Well by my calculations we have had at least eighteen different eagles the area today. One of the mature eagles is banded on the left leg which means it is an Upper Peninsula born bird. We still have one of the two year olds around that is banded on the right leg meaning it was born in the Lower Peninsula.
It has been a day of Chase, Drop and Retrieve!! What a day!! After 5:00 and we still have five eagles hanging out. We decide to call it quits as all but one juvenile takes off for the night.
We hope to get back out the day after Christmas. I hope we can get a little better weather but what will be will be.
Eagle Journal December 26, 2010
7:30 it is 13 degrees and we forgot the Buddy heater.The first eagle flies in at 7:50 which is about the time the ravens quietly arrived on the ground. The rough-legged hawk must have been in the trees when we arrived because it took off after the first eagle arrived.
Two more eagles arrive around 8:15 along with twenty or so ravens. One of the first year eagles chase one of the ravens.
Another eagle arrives at 8:20. Now we have four immature eagles and at least one mature. We have a four year old and maybe a five year old.
At 8:30 it is now 19 degrees. We have six eagles in one tree. One of juveniles does a fly by. Eight eagles now with a mature and a third year eagle on the ground at 9:00 to the left of the trailer. Unfortunately it is still too dark out to be good for photographing. Of course I desperately wanted to get a close up shot of a third year. They are my favorite stage of the eagles. They are so darn flighty.
We have at least nine eagles now. And they are playing musical trees.
10:00 and 20 degrees we have six eagles in our vision. One of the first years does a fly by along with a mature then back to the trees they go. A second year flew to the ground but continued on to the east then to the north. Another second year is on the ground to the east.
Well a seagull flew with a piece of meat quickly followed by a first year and a second year. Now we have five eagles flying! Sweet!
We have three first year, three second year, one third year, a fifth year and a mature eagle in the trees. We now have a first and second year on the ground to the east playing with a plastic bag. Whatever!
One of the first year eagles is playing with eight ravens getting some exercise? Then back to the trees as usual.
The rough-legged hawk is back into the trees again. One raven is chasing another raven with a piece of frozen something. The raven dropped it on the ground and now we have five eagles on the ground trying to get it. They eventually all fly back to the trees.
11:20 a one of the first years does a fly by not once but twice. It is 21 degrees with pieces of blue sky peeking through. 11:30 a first year and second year fly by then we get musical trees again.
Once again a seagull takes off with a piece of meat followed by two first year eagles. This is what happens when we have to put out scraps of meat instead of carcasses. The seagulls pick and poke until they loosen a piece and then the other seagulls try to get it so… of it goes.
At least none of the eagles have really gotten anything to eat yet. And we have yet another first year eagle doing a fly by. A second year is chasing the ravens again.
We have two eagles in the maple, two in the tall tree, one on the perching tree, two in front of us and one to the east of us.
We have the right banded first year eagle which is from the Lower Peninsula. I discover we have a left banded second year old which is from the Upper Peninsula.
It is 12:00 and quiet. We have seven eagles sitting like sentinels in the trees. I am always amazed at how patient and long they will sit. One of the mature eagles sat most of the day in one place. It occasionally took a little break to exercise its wings then back to the tree.
We have had at least three mature , three first years, three second years, a third year and a fourth year. No make it four mature eagles that we have had.
It is 12:45 and with the sun shining. Some of the eagles have head off to other places. We still have six eagles in the trees. The rough-legged hawk is back in the maple.
We have nine eagles in the trees now. No make that ten eagles and a rough-legged hawk in the maple tree.
A seagull is off and flying with five eagles after it at 1:45.They all disperse to other places. We have sunshine but not shots!?! Aarrrggh!!
Six eagles back in the trees at 2:20. Ten eagles in the trees at 3:30. We have two fly-bys by two matures checking out the meat situation. Then before we could barely focus, one of the mature nabs a piece of meat then back to the trees with the others following.
We have thirteen eagles now in the trees around us. And we have had up to eighteen different eagles today. We have had six matures, a Fifth year, a Fourth year, two Third years, three Second years, and four First years.
They all stayed right up to the setting of the sun which was around 5:15. Then a few at a time, the eagles all headed to the east. We would love to know where it is that they roost for the night. Someday maybe we will find out.
Eagle Journal January 1, 2011
Happy New Year! We are spending our day watching eagles(not the Philadelphia ones).
It is 43 degrees when we arrive at our blind at 6:30am. This time we rememberedthe ‘Buddy’ heater but really didn’t need it.
8:00 on the dot the ravens arrive quietly. It is so interesting to watch them interact. A seagull or two flew over but since there is no ‘loose’ meat they don’t hang around.
8:10 and we have three eagles! A raven is chasing a seagull in high speed. By 8:20 the ravens are all around us on the ground.
The ravens and a few crows are squawking and carrying on as they annihilate the carcasses.
Then in one swoosh they are gone…and then they are back.
A rough-legged hawk soared over then headed north. One eagle is swooping around. We have four eagles flying everywhere in the air surrounded by all of the ravens.
We have two eagles in the maple three a second year is on the ground to the west. The ravens are playing a game of ’tag you’re it’. One carries a piece of white plastic around then drops it. Then everyone else tries to get it and then they get chased. They are always so fun to watch.
I heard them before I saw them, two red-tailed hawks, being hassled by the ravens then chased into the swamp.
We have a third year on the perching tree, two eagles in the maple tree and one eagle in the tall tree. Add two second year eagles to the mix. One of the second years does a fly by. We have eight eagles in our area of vision.
The wind is coming from the southwest this morning bringing in some clear skies to us(for a while).
Some of the ravens and a seagull are scrounging in the mud to the east of us looking for pieces of meat.
Three mature eagles flew across the road to sit in the trees there out of the wind. We have three eagles in the maple tree, one on the ground and one flying west for a total of eight.
It is starting to clear out! Yeah!! Now bring on the eagles. And no sooner did I think that then a second year came down on the ground farther out from us. She stayed for a while looking for scraps but didn’t get anything before she flew back to the trees.
We have a second and a third year eagle in the tree to the east. We have a mature in the tree in front of us.
Another second year is on the ground to the west of us quickly joined by another eagle. Then they all flew.
Four of them headed over the swamp. A mature is soaring higher and higher. The others went back to the maple tree.
10:00 we have four in the trees in front of us and two in the maple. Then…everything disappeared!!! Two matures are across the road and the dark clouds are moving in…L!!
One second year is flying over us soaring ever higher! There are twenty ravens all around us as the dark clouds envelope us. It is now 10:50am. Then when I looked up I saw three eagles coming back soaring high above the swamp. But as quickly as they appeared they disappeared. Then nothing!
11:45 we have a mature eagle back in on the perching tree. Ravens are on the ground creeping ever closer.
Our second year is chattering. We have three no make it five eagles. Then…poof! They are gone!!!
Well at least the ravens have been entertaining. We even have a swinger this year. It is so cool to watch.
A couple of years ago we had one doing the same thing. The raven grabs the end of a branch then…swings in midair. If the wind is blowing like it is today they can really get some big swing time out of it. Sweet!!!
1:00 and all is quiet. It is now 33 degrees and wind coming out of the west.
2:20 a break in the clouds but….not for long. We have two rough-legged hawks soaring with six ravens chasing.
2:45 snow is falling. One of rough-legged hawks in the trees but it is snowing so hard I can’t even see it now. Another one is in the maple tree behind. Both disappear with the snow and the wind.
Two eagles come in from the north. One is a mature and one is a two year old. They both end up across the road with several others.
One of the rough-legged hawks returns to land on a stump in the field. But once again it is chased away by ravens.
We decide to leave after 4:00. As we exit the trailer we find that the eagles have all been sitting comfortably in the trees across the road from Jim’s. There was at least five matures and four immature eagles. Most of them took off and soared around but ended up back farther in the cove.
We will be back tomorrow morning to hopefully have more action then we had today. It is very tiring to get up and trudge out to the blind before the dawn. But…it is worth every moment of weariness when we get the chance to photograph these gorgeous creatures.
Eagle Journal January 2, 2011
Well, we decided to come back out today in hopes of finally getting in some hungry eagles. We shall see, hopefully.
It is 17 degrees at 6:30am. a southwest wind and snow flurries. The ravens quietly come in around 7:50am. It is so interesting to see this very boisterous birds being so quiet. The silence didn’t last too long. Several rebel rousers came in to get the party started.
8:15 and we get our first eagle in to the trees. Within fifteen minutes we have our second eagle in.
The ravens are not on the fresh meat and carcasses but on the old bone pile. They are pickin’ on bones, just pickin’ on bones and each other. Then “poof” they bounce back to the middle of the field. Why? You guessed it, an eagle flew in. It was a young one who was getting picked on by a few of the rowdy ravens.
We always find it fascinating to see how the ravens have no fear of the eagles and their powerful talons. In fact, it is generally the ravens that instigate the confrontation.
We have three eagles flying around the area and over forty ravens making quite a ruckus.
Two more eagles are in at 8:55. A few minutes later a second year does a fly by. The ravens are finally on the new meat which always gets the eagles stirred up. The eagles tend to wait for the ravens and seagulls to loosen the meat up in hopes of them spreading it around the field for easier snatching.
We have at least five eagles in one tree, third year is in the maple and now we have eagles flying everywhere playing musical trees.
Again a second year flies over the pile which causes the ravens all to bounce off again. We finally get an eagle on the ground, a first year juvenile. It doesn’t stay long but flies over and back to the trees.
It is almost 11:00. This is the longest we have had the ravens staying on the ground this close to us. They are usually so easily spooked that they don’t stay long at one time.
We now have four eagles in the trees and three in the maple. A mature eagle lands on the ground to the west of us. A juvenile swoops down to fight with the mature then off to the trees. A second year heads across the road where it seems we once again have eight plus eagles roosting in the trees staying out of the southwest wind. Will they do like yesterday and not come over?!? I certainly hope not! Time will tell.
It is noon and the seagulls have finally loosened some meat. I was just sighting in my camera when, boom, in comes one of the mature eagles to nab the meat. Then it starts the flying and chasing of each other. Another mature tries to get a piece of meat but misses and heads over to the other side of the road. The snow is really coming down now. I hope we are getting this at home.
Yes! We have a mature on the ground farther out in the field. The ravens have moved back too with some of them hassling the mature eagle. They love to try to pull their tail feathers. The eagle doesn’t stay long but we do get some aerial action. Unfortunately, the weather is not conducive for that. The shutter speed needs to be fast to capture the motion of the eagles but I also need to have the aperture opened to let in more light on such a gloomy day. I have increased the exposure to the max but still hard with the snow falling the camera doesn’t know what to focus on.
We have a lot of down time waiting for the eagles to cooperate a little more. Michael snoozes and I try to keep up on my journaling, facebook and our website.
Just as I was booting up my computer we had an eagle come in to the east of the pile. A mature and a second year are on the ground. The mature comes over closer to us. They didn’t stay on the ground long but flew around enough to get us excited.
Ok, it is around 3-3:30. I am typing when all of a sudden it starts!!! First a mature lands then a second year then another second year. Sweet!! Michael and I are so geeked! We don’t know which eagle to focus on. They mature is not letting the other eagles get near the meat pile. The eagles do a lot of sitting like they are contemplating their next move. Therefore, I am standing camera aimed and ready to shoot. I wait and wait and wait…well you get it. After a while my left arm and my back are starting to complain. I am sure I will have to use some ‘bengay’ tonight.
But, you know what; it is worth every aching bone in my body to get the chance to capture these magnificent raptors. We had over an hour of awesome action. Wow!! Words really can’t explain what it feels like. This is what every photographer waits for and hopes to just once get the chance to film it.
Patience!!! That is truly the key word when doing anything with wildlife. Even then it doesn’t guarantee that you will get results. But perseverance will pay off eventually. I promise. Everything has to fall into place. Timing, luck, the weather, patience, equipment working right and a little talent will hopefully result in the ultimate lifetime experience.
The eagles finally one by one or two by two headed across the road to roost for the night. We had six or seven matures, a third year, four second years and three juvenile in the area. When we did finally head out we could easily count thirteen in the trees across from Jim’s. Wish we could come back tomorrow but two early mornings of up at 5:00 have done me in. Besides I have to catch up on everything else around the house before I start another work week. But, hopefully, we will be back next Sunday.
Eagle Journal January 9, 2011
It is 2 degrees below zero when we get to the trailer at 6:30am.
We woke up to the sounds of the ravens around 7:50am. By 8:00 we have a second year eagle coming into the trees along with about a dozen ravens.
It is starting to spit snow. We have one raven on the ground and a mature flying into the trees. Then we have another second year and a fourth year all land into the same tall tree around 8:30.
So we have two mature eagles, one juvenile, two second years, and a fourth year in the trees by 9:00. There are no ravens on the ground but a few starlings come into the bone pile.
We have just a few ravens sitting around the six eagles in the trees. But everyone is being quiet right now as the snow falls and the sun shines.
What is up with this, the ravens are back on the old bone pile at the edge of the woods.
We have a rough-legged hawk or a red-tail hawk coming into the trees chased by several ravens. The ravens abandon the chase and head into the swamp to play.
Everything is still too cold and frozen to do much moving about. One of the mature eagles is chattering at the others as if to say, “Go get me something to eat!” So begins a round of musical trees.
It is now ten degrees at 10:00. We have a rough-legged hawk sitting in the trees to the east.
I need to pull pictures from last year of Smudge and Mudhen to compare with our pair of mature eagles that we have this year.
We have a couple of seagulls scouting the area then disappear probably going back report to the others. Our chattering eagle is at it again stirring up the mix. 11:00 and we still have two mature eagles, one juvenile, two second years and the rough-legged hawk sitting in the trees.
The starlings are the only thing enjoying the meat pile. As I watch them one of the starlings takes a piece of meat to the bone pile but drops it. I thought that was too bad then he takes another piece and does the same thing! Amazing! I believe it is stock piling for the future when or if there is any more. It will be able to go down into the bone pile and retrieve it. Smart little bird.
Our noisy mature eagle takes off to the east around 11:15 along with a few of the ravens. We have a seagull at 11:45. We need some noise and action!!
One of our ravens gets a frozen piece of old meat and takes off with it. Another raven chases after it. The raven dropped it out between the meat pile and the trees. One of the second years flew down to try to retrieve it but no luck. So back into the trees it went. Shortly after that the juvenile and one of the second years took off to the west. Our chattering mature is back in the trees carrying on.
By noon we have a mature eagle in the trees in front of us, a juvenile to the west and a rough-legged hawk to the east with the sun shining beautifully.
We now have ten or more seagulls, a few ravens and some starlings on the pile. The rough-legged hawk is now in the maple tree.
All of a sudden twenty or more ravens come flying out of the old bone pile! They act like they are ready to rumble!
Oh my gosh! We have a red-tailed hawk sitting six feet above a mature eagle! What is that saying, “keep your friends close and your enemies closer”?
12:45 we gave a second year on the ground then the two mature come down. But just as quickly they are all back up in the trees.
The chattering mature knocks a second year off the perching tree. She is driving everyone crazy!
2:00 it is now 29 degrees out with two matures in the trees, the rough-legged hawk in another tree and a dozen or so seagulls on the ground. The crazy ravens are back to the old bone pile again.
Twenty minutes later our mouthy mature comes down to the east of the pile then quick as a wink she is gone! Then she knocked off a second year. It went into the tall tree. Then she knocked it off that tree. She had the poor thing so confused it just left.
The rough-legged hawk in the midst of it all came and landed on the post near the trailer. Sweet! It sat there for several minutes before it flew off and landed on the post farther out to the east of the trailer.
The other mature eagle flew off to the west while the other flew off to the east right by the poor rough-legged hawk who, of course, took off, too.
The seagulls are back. Fifteen minutes later one of the mature eagles and a second year are back. The mature is on the ground then right back up to the perching tree. She definitely wants something to eat. She flies by again then she knocks the juvenile off the tall tree and heads east.
A few minutes later another juvenile comes in from the east followed by the mature eagle. She tries to get it to go to the pile to get her something but it has enough of her nagging. It flies back to the east where it came from.
Well, that doesn’t make her happy. She comes back down to the ground but doesn’t stay. Then she heads across the road where she proceeds to knock four other eagles out of their trees. One mature heads south. The three younger eagles go right back to their trees. That was an interesting turn of events. We think she really was trying to get someone else to do her dirty work. It will be interesting to see what she ends up doing.
Yeah, the rough-legged hawk is back to the post near us. But, of course, it is really snowing now. It is 4:30 now and getting dark, too.
We also have a second year on the ground but takes off when the mature lands down near it. The rough-legged hawk takes off flying directly over the mature eagle that is sitting on the ground. Brave!
Ok, we have both mature eagles on the ground now that it is snowing and growing darker and darker. Michael is filming them as she, the chatty mature, cautiously approaches a chunk of meat. She finally starts eating then her ‘honey’ cautiously approaches. She is not willing to share! So he picks and pokes around her like he is eating her cast offs.
She finally lets him have a go at eating on the meat then just as quickly takes it away from him. The poor thing! She does this to him over and over again. It is downright comical.
A fourth year and a second year get involved briefly but headed east for the evening. Michael finally has to quit filming; it is too dark for his camera to focus anymore.
Too bad they waited till the end of the day to come in but, hopefully, another time. It was fun all the same.
Eagle Journal January 16, 2011
Today we are going to try a different strategy; minimal movement. We will stay away from the windows. We won’t open them till after we have had eagles on the ground around the carrion pile. We will be noiseless; less talking, no chair moving etc.
Well, it is working so far for us. The ravens we have on the ground don’t seem to be too worried. We have over fifty of them squawking and croaking. They are so darn funny to watch. They dig in the snow, they like to bury treasures.
The ravens arrived around 8:00am followed shortly by first one eagle then another and yet another. It is 2 degrees outside but not windy which makes it a little more pleasant.
By 8:50am we have two mature eagles, two second year eagles and a juvenile. One of the second years and the juvenile come down on the ground farther behind the carrion pile. They are there briefly then back to the trees.
Chatty Smudge is in the house! She is chattering up a storm. Hopefully, she will get the party started. By 9:20am she is on the ground briefly then one of the second years and the juvenile come down. The second year is eating something then it take off. The second year lands again on the west side of the field. They both then do a fly by over the carrion pile then back gone.
10:30am a second year comes down to get a long bone. It sits for a minute then Smudge comes down at her. She takes off without her bone. She goes to the perching tree temporarily. Smudge tries to hassle her but no luck. Smudge then does a fly by then somewhere behind us.
The second year must be bored, too. She flies into the swamp then back. Then she flies over to the east then back. She finally comes into the tall tree to sit for a spell.
11:00am the ravens have all flown off. Yeah! We need to have less ravens. When the ravens are in the eagles won’t come down to feed. The ravens hassle the eagles way too much for everyone’s own good.
No such luck! The darned ravens are back in full force. There has to be eighty plus of them!!
Smudge is on the ground briefly then back bothering all of the other eagles.
11:30am the ravens suddenly takeoff, the reason; a rough-legged hawk just came into the picture. Poor thing it just got chased away by twenty some ravens. The ravens can be mercenary.
Fifteen minutes later the ravens are back at it. They carry on bullying each other, hopping around digging in the snow. Then all of a sudden they fly. Then it happens several more times. Half of the time it is only because they like to…or possibly an eagle or hawk flies over or it could just be Jim getting in his vehicle. It is eighteen degrees, overcast with flits of snow.
We have a raven that is missing a foot. Poor thing! It seems to be managing pretty well though despite its misfortune.
We have a third mature eagle in the area. Smudge tries to bully it but won’t have anything to do with her. So she goes looking for something to eat. It looks like she found something and took it back to the tree to eat.
1:15 and we have a mature eagle and a second year on the ground again for a few seconds. Then they are gone in a flash. Thrill!?! L
We have one seagull in to the pile. Does that mean the rest are on their way?
It is pretty quiet and boring most of the afternoon. So I took a snooze. I didn’t get a lot of sleep last night. I was working on my new laptop. I woke up to Michael telling me to move slowly there was a rough-legged hawk on the pile. But, of course, it took off before I could get a shot. It just seems to be one of those days. Well, I can’t be greedy, can I? I have gotten a lot of nice photos so far this winter. We still have a couple of months left.
3:45 we have touch down. Our mature couple is up to their usual routine of a late afternoon snack before they head off to bed. Smudge is, of course, eating on a very large chunk of meat. Mudhen is, of course, watching her eat. She takes off with the meat to eat in the tree once again not sharing with Mudhen. Mudhen does come on to the pile but only briefly then off he goes back to where she is at.
Meanwhile the rough-legged hawk is back. It lands on the fence post just like last week. It is the same hawk, the same time and the same place. Weird! It doesn’t stay long enough but fly back to the other fence post back farther where it sits for a while then takes off to the northeast. Smudge and Mudhen take off to the south. So we decide enough is enough. We don’t want to be held hostage like last week.
As we are ready to head out, the happy couple returns to the tall tree. She is eating and he is watching. I am going to have to call him something besides Mudhen. Slave might be a better name for him!?
Well, I do know that next week I am going to spook the ravens! That was enough of that; too many ravens equal no eagles on the ground!!!
January 30, 2011 Eagle Journal
It is nine below when we arrive at Jim’s at 6:30am. Luckily there isn’t any wind.
We have a few ravens by 7:30 along with one eagle. Around 8:00 Smudge comes from the east along the tree line going west screeching the whole way. She is followed by Mudhen who tries to catch up to her.
One of them comes back but then goes north. Before too long we have a juvenile come in from the east followed by Smudge and then Mudhen. Did she go rouse the baby out of bed?
Then we get two second years in. The one makes several passes before it goes to the trees at 8:15.
8:35 and we have a second year on the carcass!!!! Along with twenty-five ravens who are picking on it.
The second year hops from the carcass to one of the meat balls. He then hops to the other meat ball testing them out to see which one is the less frozen.The poor thing the ravens are relentless!! The one pulled the eagle’s tail several times. While it was on one of the meat balls one raven had to hop up in order to get its tail! Whatever!!
He tried to get relief from them by sitting on top of the bone pile. He looked so forlorn. L
Well he is back on the carcass then a meat ball then he hops to the other meat ball but it rolls him! Neither he nor the ravens liked that very much. The ravens flew back to the trees but little Buddy stayed and ate a little longer. After a half of an hour he flew back to the trees.
9:30 Smudge knocks off the juvenile. Then she spends the next hour squawking up a storm. But she is all squawk and no action. So we have the two matures, two second year and one juvenile.
By 10:30 it is fourteen degrees. The two second years disappear. One of them comes back with Smudge after it. They have a little air fight then gone. Another mature shows up for a little while then boom. They all are gone!?! No, one of the second years is back in a tree to the east at 11:30.
We had a juvenile in the trees for about an hour till I tried to put a piece of tape on the window to stop it from rattling. I guess it caught a glimpse of my finger. L Pooh!
Yeah! We just had Smudge and two second years come back in. A few ravens and crows are into the pile along with some starlings. It is now 1:20pm.
Oh no, ten ravens are chasing a poor little red-tailed hawk right into the swamp!Poor thing!
We have the rough-legged hawk in on the carcass at 1:30. Then a second year eagle comes in for a few seconds, long enough to scare off the hawk. Then we get quiet again but still a couple of eagles in our sights.
There are now two juveniles in the tall tree with Smudge farther down to the west in a tree at 2:15.
3:10 musical trees. The wind is picking up and the clouds moving in.We have two other matures flying over.
4:00 the rough-legged hawk does a fly-by of the two matures in the tall tree then lands further down to the west.
We decide that Smudge and Mudhen are not going to come in today so we call it a day at 5:00.
Eagle Journal February 6, 2011
It is overcast and mild with temperatures today around 30 degrees. We have one juvenile in the trees around 8:00 with a few ravens squawking around.
9:30 we have the juvenile and a second year in the trees. The wind has died down and a few snowflakes are falling.
The ravens seem to be happy just being back on their old bone pile near the treeline.
It is way too quiet today. A handful of starlings is all we have on the meat pile. The eagles should love the fresh red meat Jim brought out last night but…I guess not. Jim said there weren’t any eagles out yesterday too.
We had a crow in on the pile at 11:00. Whoopee!!I am trying hard to find the good in this bad day.
By 12:00 we only have one eagle, 12:15 no eagles. By 12:30 they are back!
2:00 and there is still no action!?! The juvenile is in the tall tree with a dozen starlings all around it. Amazing! Hey, the sun is trying to break through the clouds.
2:30 the eagle in the tall tree has disappeared. The other eagle is further down to the west. L
Eagle Journal February 13, 2011
It is 33 degrees at 7:30am. The winds are strong out of the southwest. We have a rough-legged hawk in the trees. By 7:45 we have a second year eagle in the tall tree but fifteen minutes later it is gone.
There are about eight ravens hither and yon along with a couple of starlings.
Jim had eagles in the last couple of days. They were all mature eagles. Hopefully we will get some of the under fed young eagles in today but….9:15 and still nothing.
Ok, I am setting goals. We should see ravens in on the pile by 10:00 and eagles by 11:00am. We shall see!
Yes, the ravens are pretty much on time. There are only six of them but they are taking turns eating along with more starlings.
Sweet by 11:10 we have two matures one went into the trees the other one on the ground for a few minutes. Michael was able to get a little footage before it took off.
That’s ok they will be back. The ravens feel safe enough to eat and so will the eagles. A mature is soaring over the swamp at 12:00. Another mature is in the trees at 12:15. Yes!!! He came in to the pile but not quite on it. He stayed for over an hour!!! He didn’t eat. He tried calling in another eagle to stand guard while he ate but no luck.
I thought my arm and back and everything else was going to break. It isn’t easy to stand still with your camera pointed and not make any movement in fear of scaring your subject! But it is worth every ache and pain when you get to capture these magnificent creatures close up and personal!!!!!!!!! A couple of ravens did join him when he called much to his chagrin.
We have a second year in a tree. The ravens are chasing a poor red-tailed hawk all around. It finally lands in a tree only to be chased off again. It is now 2:15. The second year left by 2:30.
The rough-legged hawk is in a tree at 3:00 just when it starts to rain!!! UGGGGH!!
By 4:00 we have the mature back into the trees. He tried to call someone else in but no luck!
Eagle Journal February 20, 2011
The ravens are rousting about by 7:30 with calm winds and 20 degrees temperature.
Shortly after that we spot a coyote skulking along the edge of the field then finally vanishing into the thick underbrush.
A few minutes later a second year eagle comes into the trees. It stays for about an hour then…gone.
10:00 and the ravens are back on the ground picking on the old bones scattered around in the field. It is 30 degrees and fairly bright out.
Then the starlings come into our bone pile. They are singing so sweetly. It is getting close to courting time. Spring will be coming soon.
Around 11:00 we have a fourth year in on the tall tree. Hopefully, he comes in for a photo op. I love his stripes over his eyes making him look like a bandit.
An hour later a juvenile comes into the trees to the east of us. Now maybe we will get some action.
No such luck. The fourth year flies by and heads east never to be seen again.
The juvenile does come down on the ground to check out what interesting things the ravens are picking at.
She hops around too far out to get any good shots. She scrounges for fifteen to twenty minutes before deciding to go back to the trees. By 1:00 she heads into the swamp and then vanishes. It is now 34 degrees but very overcast.
The ravens are finally in on the pile at 2:45pm. We had decided if we don’t have any more action by 3:00 we would call it quits.
Of course, now there’s action. It is gloomy out and getting windy. We have a rough-legged hawk in the trees.
A crow is on the pile. Then more crows join in. Now the ravens are coming back around. Here comes the rough-legged hawk…wait here comes another rough-legged hawk. They converge at the pile then scatter. Pooh!! I was hoping to capture some action. One went to the west to sit in a tree. The other headed across the road.
Well, we hope that maybe one of them will come back in. No, that is not going to happen now. We now have the happy couple in the tall tree. I mean Mudhen and his lovely spouse, Smudge, are now keeping guard on the pile. We can hope they might come in but…doubtful.
We shut it down at 5:00. It is too dark and they are not moving. Maybe we will have some luck next weekend. We are running out of weekends. Spring is coming and the mature eagles will get back together with their mates. New couples will be formed. Nests will be built or restructured. And the continuation of the species will endure.
Eagle Journal February 27, 2011
It is a calm crisp morning at Jim’s with temperature at 7 degrees.
We have the ravens calling at 7:00am by 7:15 we have ravens on the pile! I see a red-tailed hawk but it heads across the road when the ravens all came in. By 7:20 we have a mature eagle sitting in the trees!
We had something in front of us most of the morning. The ravens and crows were enjoying their breakfast. It is so much fun to watch their antics. The ravens dig in the snow to uncover buried treasures which are usually old bones. One raven has a piece of snow in his mouth then he lies down on his side and plays with it with his feet. Another raven comes over to try to take it. Funny!!
8:30am we have a crow trying to get at a piece of meat that Jim hung from the post that Michael put in just for this purpose. The crow bounces up several times to get nibbles off the meat. It finally gives up and goes elsewhere.
It was definitely a busy day in Ravensville! They all flew off at 9:00 probably because I was trying to get a picture two ravens that had been kissing.“Two little ravens sitting in the snow K-I-S-S, I don’t know.”
The temperature is climbing. It is 26 degrees with calm winds and an occasional snowflake.
9:45 the ravens returned. They never really left the just went and sat in the trees which is unusual. They usually take off to parts unknown.
The mature eagle switched trees at 10:30. Big deal!Then we have a juvenile eagle on the perching tree. The mature goes and knocks the juvenile off. The juvenile heads east never to be seen again.
Another mature is flying around to the east of us. Our mature takes off after it and chases it away. He comes back to the tall tree. Then… all is quiet.
The mature disappeared! No crows no ravens no anything! L
Ten minutes later he is back. Shortly after that the crows and ravens start to come back a few at a time.
12:30 the fifth year eagle flies in near the pile. The ravens hassle him. He sits and walks then sits. When he finally comes into the pile he eats and eats and eats!! Oh my gosh!! We film and photograph him for over an hour and forty-five minutes!!! We will call him Tearer!! Get it rip and tear. We already have had a Ripper so this guy is definitely Tearer!
The ravens and crows are back around 3:00. Tearer is still in the trees just watching. It is clouding up and getting windier and colder. By 4:00 everything disappeared. It is possible that Smudge and Mudhen might come in toward dark but we had already had such a great day we decided to call it quits.
Eagle Journal March 6, 2011
It is 1 degree at Jim’s this morning. It is a clear, crisp morning and no windwith the sun just breaking the horizon as we enter the blind. We can tell that it is time to spring ahead this coming weekend. We even got up fifteen minutes earlier. Next we won’t have to get up till 6:00am instead of 5:00am, at least it sounds better.
At 6:40 I hear the ravens and crows in the distance. We have a mature eagle in the tall tree at 6:50. Yeah! The eagle changes trees from the tall tree to a tree to the east. By 7:20 we have a second mature eagle in a tree. We have fifteen ravens on the carcass to the east and a dozen crows in the trees.
Smudge is the first eagle that was in with Mudhen next. A second year eagle lands in a tree to the east. Smudge screeches and Mudhen comes running. It is so cute they are side by side on the perching tree or should I call it the kissing tree?!
It’s like Smudge just wanted to make sure that Mudhen when come whenever she calls then, “go away I was just testing you.” Whatever!!
8:45 16 degrees and all is quiet. The three eagles are still in their trees. The ravens and crows flit in and out.
9:00 Smudge chatters for someone to do ‘something’ but nothing happens.
As I sit and gaze upon this beautiful day I also listen to what is going on all around me. The little starlings are on the pile of bones making all sorts of interesting noises. As I listen I can hear R2D2 from Star Wars chattering just outside the window. Amazing how someone’s imagination may have actually been inspired from nature and not computers?!
By 9:30 there are crows on the meat and it is now 20 degrees. But where did the second year go?!
Smudge calls Mudhen back over to sit by here on the perching tree again. I think they are actually starting their ‘Spring’ courtship. How sweet. It is not every day that you get to witness the courtship of these beautiful creatures. To be allowed this intimate glimpse into their lives is priceless. And it is worth every boring, cold hour, minute, or second we have to endure. Maybe the human race should take a lesson-at least once a year, don’t take your mate for granted!! Woe them like you did when you first started datingJ. Who knows, maybe we would have less divorces?! Of course, we should also kick the kids out of the house once they are grown?!That might help the divorce rate, too.
Well, Smudge got tired of Mudhen’s aggressive behavior so she knocked him off the perching tree. She proceeded to sit for over three hours just preening and watching. 11:30 she takes off along with Mudhen. I am not sure where they went. Ok, she is back but not Mudhen.
We have six big ravens on the carcass. All of a sudden they take off. Looks like the ravens want to rumble with a poor red-tailed hawk. Smudge disappears again around 12:00. Everything is quiet so I decide to catch up on my journal…but, of course that is when the action beginsJ.
12:40 we have a mature eagle in. He looks like the beautiful one that I photographed four weeks ago. Well, a raven has a piece of meat and, of course, takes off with it. The eagle takes off after the raven. The raven drops meat and the eagle nabs it and heads back to the tree to eat it.
I guess that tasted so good, he came back for more. He sped toward us swooped around and got a juicy morsel in his talons. I was lucky enough to get a shot of him just as he snatched up the meat. Sweet!!
When the eagle got back to the trees to eat his catch, he was visited by Smudge. She quickly left and went into the tall tree. Yet another mature eagle comes into the tree with Smudge. She starts nagging him. You guessed it; it’s Mudhen.
Well, Smudge and Mudhen decide to stretch their wings and soar heading north. That leaves us with the beautiful mature male.
We gave a poor red-tailed hawk being hassled again by the crows and ravens. Then it comes back to land in the top of a pine tree just on the edge of the swamp.
Whoa! What just happened?? The red-tailed hawk came out of the swamp to land in the tree right above the eagle. The eagle was not too happy about that so it flew out of the tree but…the red-tailed hawk was right on its tail. An aerial fight ensued with two red-tail hawks after the eagle!! I got a shot of the young red-tailed hawk fighting with the mature eagle!!! The hawk was on top the eagle was flipped upside down with talons blazing!!! Awesome!!! The two red-tailed hawks sat in the maple tree while the eagle headed across the road. To the victors go the spoils?
We have a little quiet time before the mature eagle comes back at2:00 to land in a tree with a bunch of ravens. Whatever! Well, one of the ravens took a piece of meat and flew….with the eagle on its tail. The raven, of course, drops it, the eagle, of course, gets it and sits in a tree to eat.
And repeat…except this time the eagle caught it as it fell out of the raven’s grasp but dropped on the ground. The eagle went down to retrieve it along with four or five ravens. Then back to the tree to eat it and it is still sitting there at 3:00.
In the meantime the crows and ravens take turns on and off the meat. Fun!! There is one raven that has squawked all day long. Every time he approaches a raven they move away from him. Poor thing he even tries to make friends with a starling, to no avail.
4:00 we have a raven take off with a piece of meat. A mature eagle shows up out of nowhere. The raven drops the meat and the eagle scoops it up. Then out of nowhere comes a third year eagle!! Sweet!! I love the markings of the third year. A battle ensued, finally the third year took off and the mature eagle hid in a tree eating his spoils. Eventually, the mature disappeared.
A little later we looked out to find Smudge and Mudhen sitting in opposite trees. Smudge chattered, Mudhen ignored her, and they sait and sat and sat. Finally around 5:00 Mudhen took off heading to the east for the night.
We figured Smudge wouldn’t come into the pile without her backup, Mudhen. But still she sat and sat until out of nowhere comes one of the red-tailed hawks! It proceeded to chase Smudge out of the area. The second hawk showed up and landed in a cedar tree on the east end of the field. We decide that the pair must be going to nest in the area and were staking their territory. Interesting.
Eagle Journal March 14, 2011
We did not come out yesterday due to the five-six inches of snow we got Saturday night. Michael had to plow several of his customers. That was just fine and dandy because the weather yesterday was not good.
Today is gorgeous!!! The temperature was five degrees when we got to Jim’s this morning but quickly warmed up as the sun rose higher and higher.
The ravens and crows started making noise around 7:30. The first eagle, the juvenile, was in the perching tree by 7:45. A second year came in about fifteen minutes later.
The ravens and crows were on the meat by 8:15. Shortly after that the juvenile flew down to the ground to the east of us. It walked over to one of the carcasses picked up a piece of meat then headed to the trees. The second year quickly took off after the juvenile. They both landed in the same tree but the second year quickly moved to another tree.
By 9:00 we have another second year in the trees. It is 18 degrees and getting brighter out. That second year went down to the ground by the tree line. I am not sure if it got anything to eat or not.
After a while that second year flew to the trees to the east. By 10:00 it is 31 degrees with 15-20 noisy ravens and crows.
The juvenile and the other second year stretched their wings then flew into the trees to the east where the other second year was hiding. Shortly after that the one second year took off then ten minutes later the other second year.
The juvenile at some point landed in a pine tree further to the east. Everything else disappeared.
By 12:00 we had the two red-tailed hawks soaring around but did not come close.
Finally at 1:00 the noise makers are back J.
Jim brought out some meat to see if that will entice our little friends. LOL!
Well, no luck. We finally decided to leave about 3:30. Hopefully we will get the chance to come back out next Monday. If not, this will be the last time till next Fall.
All Photographs Copyrighted by Michael & Teresa McGill/McGills Nature in Motion-Unauthorized use prohibited