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Thread subject: Question About Bald Eagles
Name Date Message
Tiger 03/27/10 11:09 am I notice that bald eagles often have fish in the nest. Do they fish like ospreys or do they have some other way of getting them?
Marie 03/27/10 11:22 am Hi Tiger.... based on my observations they take a fish from the surface of the water, however if they hold onto a much bigger fish than anticipated, they may drown as the fish tries to get away. Or they swim to shore using their wings if unable to rise into the air because the fish is too heavy. An exhausting behaviour. The Eagles just drag it onto the rocks and eat it there after panting for 10 mins or more. They fly with smaller fish but I have never seen them hold a fish the way Ospreys do. It is usually held by both feet up close to the body on the underside of the tail. I have also seen an eagle fly to the nest with a small fish in its mouth and drop it into the nest for the young. Must have been a 'flying fish' caught at just the right moment ;-)
martyc35 03/27/10 11:56 am I was just telling some family members last night how smart those Decorah eagles are, to have built their nest right next to a fish hatchery. I guess that means that most of their catches are small enough to carry easily. And we shouldn't forget that they will try to snatch a good fish away from an osprey or a gull, too.
FOB Webmaster 03/27/10 02:54 pm Also eagles are big on scavenging. I know ospreys often prefer live fish, but eagles will take dead fish from the shore or from another bird.
Marie 03/27/10 03:23 pm Indeed they are thieves and scavengers. ;-)
So much for the word majesty, associated with Eagles.!
Unlike the Noble Osprey. !
However I heard from a reliable source that ospreys were seen last year taking a small rabbit to the nest at the University of Victoria. We are over run with rabbits up there but unless I see this for real I am not sure I believe it. Someone also reported that newly fledged young were seen on the ground at their nest site foraging for snakes and insects in the grass. If these sightings are true, so much for a diet reported for these birds of 99% fish !
Our Bald Eagles in and around the Victoria area have adapted to the taste of red meat...the breast meat of gulls as the main stay of their diet. Beneath the nests one finds many carcasses of gulls these days as well as cat collars found in nests. Opportunistic feeders that is for sure.
Tiger 03/27/10 03:41 pm Ah DPOF will never be dead while one can count on such sound advice. I always suspected that it was more scavenging but I am not very knowedgable about them. I know we got at least two real experts in bald eagles here.

My first memory of bald eagles is a Horizon programme (BBC2) a very long time ago. At that time the eagles from suffering badly from the effects of DDT and their survival was in doubt. It is great just how well that situation has been turned around.
FOB Webmaster 03/27/10 05:51 pm I did have someone swear to me they saw an osprey take a squirrel.

And yes, even in the Channel Islands the raptors are coming back from DDT. That place may be the last bastion of egg thinning in the U.S.
Shelley 03/27/10 06:45 pm Speaking of the Decorah eagle, does anyone know what that yellow thing is in the nest? It looks a bit like a corn cob but isn't really clear enough for me to see. Also, how long do they sit on their eggs before the eggs hatch? She has been on three for some time now and I just wonder.

I also heard her squawking at something a few times and I have to say, for such a grand and majestic bird, the eagle really does have a rather wimpy and high-pitched squeaky voice! ;-)
FOB Webmaster 03/27/10 07:40 pm Yeah, it might be some kind of corn-related material. We have a cornfield near our nest, and the eagles like to bring things from there to the nest. Since this cam is in Iowa, I'm sure there is a cornfield nearby.

Incubation is around 32-38 days.
Shelley 03/27/10 07:50 pm Thanks, Lisa.

I bet they don't collect blue teddy bears, though ;-)
martyc35 03/27/10 08:05 pm "rather wimpy and high-pitched squeaky voice! ;-)"
Well. you can't have everything! Or, the famous line from "Some LIke it Hot:" "Nobody's perfect."
Melanie 03/28/10 09:44 am Bald eagles do cluck a lot. That ''scream" from all those TV commercials (and even the Colbert Report) that most people associate with bald eagles is actually a red tail hawk. They do have a scream but it's just not as commanding as the RTH. The call of a Bald Eagle just doesn't live up to it's image so the advertising and PR agencies "fudge" it. Lisa has several eagle calls posted on the FOB site
Nancy L 03/28/10 12:17 pm Thanks for those eagle call, Mel.
Anne 03/29/10 06:59 am Tiger, the European White-tailed eagle belongs to the same genus as the bald eagle and their Latin name Haliaeetus means 'sea eagle'. I wonder if they have turned to red meat as they have multiplied and fish populations have dwindled.

I saw in our local paper recently that some body or other wants to introduce WT eagles into the Lake District to boost tourism. Ridiculous idea.

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