NCTC - Shepherdstown, West Virginia, 2017-2018

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Dino
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Re: NCTC - Shepherdstown, West Virginia - 2018

Post by Dino » Wed Feb 28, 2018 6:50 pm

Yes. I see it now. I had it backwards thinking the leg we can see was the injured one and the good leg was under her feathers. Thank you for clearing that up for me. Hopefully Belle is ok and will return.

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JudyB
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Re: NCTC - Shepherdstown, West Virginia - 2018

Post by JudyB » Wed Feb 28, 2018 6:54 pm

11:14 am
I think this is Smitty incubating and Belle at the back of the nest - her foot is again held out in front.
20180228_009.jpg


2:25 pm
This is the adult with the injured leg - I'm posting the picture of her calling because her pose is more similar to the next picture.
20180228_022.jpg


3:28 pm
I believe this is the other resident adult arriving - and think he looks smaller, though he is a large male!
20180228_025.jpg

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JudyB
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Re: NCTC - Shepherdstown, West Virginia - 2018

Post by JudyB » Wed Feb 28, 2018 6:56 pm

Dino wrote:
Wed Feb 28, 2018 6:50 pm
Yes. I see it now. I had it backwards thinking the leg we can see was the injured one and the good leg was under her feathers. Thank you for clearing that up for me. Hopefully Belle is ok and will return.
Oops - I have left/right issues - the leg we can see is the injured leg. Mom's right leg (which is on my left side as I look at the screen) is the one that's injured. I'll go back and clarify - thanks, Dino!

Added - I think I have them correct - and it's the leg/foot she's holding out in front that's injured, though we don't know if the actual injury is in the foot or the leg.

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Re: NCTC - Shepherdstown, West Virginia - 2018

Post by Dino » Wed Feb 28, 2018 7:06 pm

They do look different in size when you point it out. In the time I have been watching eagle nests I have only seen one time when an incubating or raising eaglet Mom was driven from the nest by an intruder. It happened at Lake Casitas which I think was in California. I was never able to find any information about how it all ended up but the poor resident female was displaced. I hope that doesn't happen here. I guess as many times as I have heard "trust the eagles" by numerous people on the forum is the way to go here now.

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Re: NCTC - Shepherdstown, West Virginia - 2018

Post by Dino » Wed Feb 28, 2018 7:08 pm

Thank you Judy for the information and pics. It does help me understand better some of the dynamics in play at this nest.

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JudyB
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Re: NCTC - Shepherdstown, West Virginia - 2018

Post by JudyB » Wed Feb 28, 2018 7:09 pm

I was not watching constantly, but every time I looked there was an adult, I think Dad, incubating the egg, starting at 3:28 when I noted his arrival.

At 5:42 pm, he mantled the nest and I saw another eagle on the stump at the upper right.
20180228_031.jpg

I don't have an exact time, but by about 6:03 pm, Dad was raising his head from time to time to look around.
20180228_033.jpg

Around 6:09 pm, Dad looked over to the right, though he didn't seem to be looking up at the other eagle.
20180228_034.jpg

Dino
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Re: NCTC - Shepherdstown, West Virginia - 2018

Post by Dino » Wed Feb 28, 2018 7:14 pm

The other eagle is definitely not Belle. With her injury I doubt she could stay on that particular branch at that angle for very long. So interesting this situation has become in the last 24 hours. Thank you for the great pics. It helps tell the story, at least some of story going on here. I grew up near this nest over the border in Maryland. It is a beautiful part of the country.

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JudyB
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Re: NCTC - Shepherdstown, West Virginia - 2018

Post by JudyB » Wed Feb 28, 2018 7:21 pm

At about 6:14 pm, the adult on the stump jumped into the nest. Dad stayed focused over the nest cup area, and sort of guided the intruder around the edge of the nest.
20180228_041.jpg
20180228_042.jpg
20180228_043.jpg

This is the point at which I started questioning who was who, because the intruder, on the left, looked like a male to me, slightly smaller than the eagle I still think is Dad, and with the sleek look I associate with males. There are sleek females, some eagles are smaller than others, and younger adults may be more slender - and looking at the third picture above, there is a bit of brown at the end of the intruder's tail - but it looks more like she/he has been somewhere dusty than older sub-adult coloring. But there are a lot of people who watch this forum who have seen a lot more young eagles than I have, so we'll have to check on that with some of them.

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JudyB
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Re: NCTC - Shepherdstown, West Virginia - 2018

Post by JudyB » Wed Feb 28, 2018 7:25 pm

Dino wrote:
Wed Feb 28, 2018 7:14 pm
The other eagle is definitely not Belle. With her injury I doubt she could stay on that particular branch at that angle for very long. So interesting this situation has become in the last 24 hours. Thank you for the great pics. It helps tell the story, at least some of story going on here. I grew up near this nest over the border in Maryland. It is a beautiful part of the country.
I had also wondered if it might be Belle on the stump because the eagle appeared to have a foot sort of hanging over the edge initially (and many eagles perch on one leg and dangle the other) - but it seemed clear to me from earlier this morning that Belle could not put weight on her injured leg, and the eagle was clearly using both legs as he or she moved around the nest fending off Dad's attacks.

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Re: NCTC - Shepherdstown, West Virginia - 2018

Post by Dino » Wed Feb 28, 2018 7:38 pm

I agree with you now that I see the pictures. That certainly looks like another male. I would just think that the resident male would go bonkers on that intruder. Of course he is protecting the egg while this whole scenario continues.

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Re: NCTC - Shepherdstown, West Virginia - 2018

Post by JudyB » Wed Feb 28, 2018 7:53 pm

For a minute or so afterwards, the two eagles sort of did their own thing. Dad checked the nest, and the intruder looked as if s/he might be eating something, while occasionally looking around. Dad is still fluffed up from mantling and closer to the cam - but he's looking bigger to me than the intruder in this picture.
20180228_044.jpg

I think this is around 6:21 pm - the intruder is coming closer to see what Dad is doing.
20180228_045.jpg

This is a minute or two later, and I'm including it because we're seeing both of their backs, though at a different angle. I'm still trying to decide if the intruder is male or female. I think this is Dad on the nest - and the conventional wisdom (which became conventional wisdom because it's usually right) says that males will try to protect their eggs and chicks from a female intruder, but won't fight with one - that's the job of their female partner. And Dad was acting the way I'd expect him to act with a female intruder. In the grand scheme of things, an adult eagle is more valuable than eggs or chicks so males don't attack females in defense of their nest - females are bigger, and the male is more than likely to be seriously injured or killed. As we've seen, males will attack other males, even if they're bigger. And females attack females (and don't often attack males, though they do a forceful job of chasing them away from their eggs and chicks). But the intruder just doesn't look female to me.
20180228_046.jpg

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JudyB
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Re: NCTC - Shepherdstown, West Virginia - 2018

Post by JudyB » Wed Feb 28, 2018 8:01 pm

At around 6:22 pm, after being fended off by Dad in his/her first few attempts, the intruder got to check out the nest cup area where the egg is. I will note that I did not at any point see either of them remove anything looking like pieces of egg shell, so I'm thinking/hoping the egg is probably intact.
20180228_047.jpg


Intruder is adjusting the fluff, while Dad watches.
20180228_048.jpg

Dino
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Re: NCTC - Shepherdstown, West Virginia - 2018

Post by Dino » Wed Feb 28, 2018 8:04 pm

Wow. I learned something else today. The females defend against other females for the most part. Very interesting and makes sense. Also the thought that a healthy adult is more important to the species then an egg or eaglets. I never thought about the size difference meaning a female bald eagle could do great damage or even kill a male.

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Re: NCTC - Shepherdstown, West Virginia - 2018

Post by JudyB » Wed Feb 28, 2018 8:08 pm

At about 6:25 pm, the intruder decided to move some sticks.
20180228_049.jpg

Another look at the two of them a minute later.
20180228_050.jpg

And then the intruder got a bit too far into Dad's personal space - and Dad went at him and they beaked a bit - but no serious fighting.
20180228_051.jpg

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Re: NCTC - Shepherdstown, West Virginia - 2018

Post by Dino » Wed Feb 28, 2018 8:08 pm

Belle is probably almost ready to lay egg #2. That could make things very interesting.

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Re: NCTC - Shepherdstown, West Virginia - 2018

Post by JudyB » Wed Feb 28, 2018 8:15 pm

After a minute or so of that, the intruder moved to the left side of the nest and Dad did a bit of digging, then the intruder laid down in the nest.
20180228_052.jpg

Dad stared at him/her for a bit that snapped at him/her, and the intruder got up. At this moment, the intruder (on left as we view them) looks more like a rounded female than angular male - adding to my confusion.
20180228_053.jpg

After a few more minutes, the intruder laid down again, while Dad continued to dig in the nest bowl area.
20180228_054.jpg

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JudyB
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Re: NCTC - Shepherdstown, West Virginia - 2018

Post by JudyB » Wed Feb 28, 2018 8:25 pm

After a couple of minutes, the intruder dug in the nest a bit. And s/he is looking bigger now.
20180228_056.jpg

A bit of a faceoff....
20180228_057.jpg

More digging, another faceoff, then the intruder went back to the left side of the nest and lay down again. They stayed that way for maybe 10 minutes, intruder lying down, Dad looking around. I think this was around 6:50 pm.
20180228_058.jpg

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Re: NCTC - Shepherdstown, West Virginia - 2018

Post by JudyB » Wed Feb 28, 2018 8:39 pm

Then the intruder did some more digging while Dad stood back on the right. Then they both wandered around the nest puttering with sticks (as far as I could tell - it was getting dark), then another confrontation, beak to beak on tippy-toes (I'm not sure who is who at this point).
20180228_060.jpg

Then I think it was the intruder who lay down in the nest for at least 5-6 minutes, though my guess is that s/he was testing it for size and comfort more than incubating. (It was getting dark enough that I stopped recording at that point.)
20180228_059.jpg

They both flew off at 7:08; I heard some trills in the distance; two eagles came back at 7:11. At 7:12 pm, one was incubating while the other was perched on the edge of the nest.
20180228_040.jpg

At 7:22 pm the eagle on the edge of the nest flew off; the other one followed a moment later. Two eagles returned at 7:24 pm; one went to the nest area and the other perched on the edge of the nest. Then the one on the edge moved into the nest with no apparent difficulty - so neither of them was Belle. And that's when I left for dinner.

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Re: NCTC - Shepherdstown, West Virginia - 2018

Post by JudyB » Wed Feb 28, 2018 8:41 pm

11:39 pm (how'd it get to be so late?)

I'm seeing one eagle sleeping on the nest incubating the egg - which makes me think the egg wasn't damaged with all the coming and going today. I don't see any other eagles.
20180228_061.jpg

Good night, everyone. :offtobed:

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Darlene
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Re: NCTC - Shepherdstown, West Virginia - 2018

Post by Darlene » Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:03 pm

10:00 I recorded throughout the evening and just came to check the recording. At 12:01 an eagle attacked what I believe to be the intruder on the nest incubating the egg. They both went over the edge and 2 minutes later I heard what sounded like more fighting so hopefully that means they both were alive still after the fall. It was quite intense I hope both eagles are fine! :(
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Dino
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Re: NCTC - Shepherdstown, West Virginia - 2018

Post by Dino » Thu Mar 01, 2018 2:31 am

My goodness. What a turn of events on this nest. Nature can be so amazing but I also hope all is well. Beyond worried about poor Belle.

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Re: NCTC - Shepherdstown, West Virginia - 2018

Post by JudyB » Thu Mar 01, 2018 7:05 am

'Morning, everyone.... And thanks for the overnight coverage, Darlene. I checked Facebook, and Terri Bayles posted a video of the intruder coming down from the stump yesterday afternoon - https://youtu.be/h5hpJQzZKbE - thanks, Terri! Debs posted there and suggested that this may be a young female - which could explain Dad's behavior, and the leaner look.


9:59 am
Nest is empty.
20180301_001.jpg
I need to do other things, but will try to post if there is activity.


10:15 am
Hearing calls, I think nearby. One eagle for sure.

10:38 am
Hearing something/someone near the mic.

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Pauljk
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Re: NCTC - Shepherdstown, West Virginia - 2018

Post by Pauljk » Thu Mar 01, 2018 8:40 am

Is there anyone at NCTC who can take a look around the nest? With the high winds coming in tomorrow it might be best to take a look today, if possible. Looks like the facility is closed to the public.

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Re: NCTC - Shepherdstown, West Virginia - 2018

Post by JudyB » Thu Mar 01, 2018 11:25 am

2:30 pm
Someone just landed on the nest - Dad? He's moving freely, so not Belle as I'm sure she'd still be pretty sore even if she didn't break anything.
20180301_004.jpg

He called a couple of times as he came in, and he's now lying in the nest - incubating?
20180301_005.jpg

Pauljk, I know that the people at NCTC have been notified. I also have heard that the person who is most involved with the cam isn't there and I'm not sure when he's coming back. And I know they are short-staffed. That said, I expect someone took a look in the area around the tree - and we know from other times there have been injured eagles that they are very good at not being found.

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Pauljk
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Re: NCTC - Shepherdstown, West Virginia - 2018

Post by Pauljk » Thu Mar 01, 2018 11:44 am

Thank you JudyB. I know they may hide to recover. I remember what happened with the Trio nest mom last year and she was never found. I hope this turns out differently for Belle. Good Thoughts.

Update: I sent an email to NCTC in Shepherdstown and just got this response:
Hello!
Thank you for your email concerning the eagle nest. We are located in Shepherdstown and do appreciate your concerns. We have contacted the Fish and Wildlife Officer who is our on campus animal contact and he has went to the nest and found no issues.

Thank you for your concerns,

Meghan
Updates are being posted on the Bald Eagles 101 Public Group Facebook page. They have a detailed explanation of everything to date. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1690426 ... 665731833/

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JudyB
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Re: NCTC - Shepherdstown, West Virginia - 2018

Post by JudyB » Thu Mar 01, 2018 4:10 pm

Pictures from 2:35 pm that I didn't get back to post earlier, as the eagle was flying to the stump.
20180301_006.jpg
20180301_007.jpg

From 2:43 pm - I think this is the same eagle, perched on a branch behind the trunk
20180301_008.jpg

I haven't been here constantly - but have not seen any eagles when I have been here. It's now dark at the nest, and I think it's raining.

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Re: NCTC - Shepherdstown, West Virginia - 2018

Post by Darlene » Thu Mar 01, 2018 6:29 pm

9:28 It is pouring at the nest! Oh beautiful Belle, please be safe out there somewhere! :(
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Pauljk
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Re: NCTC - Shepherdstown, West Virginia - 2018

Post by Pauljk » Fri Mar 02, 2018 4:51 am

Eagle on the nest this morning at 7:45. It wasn't there for long. It had a clean, shorter tail and didn't look like the intruder. I didn't see it walking, but it did seem to be able to balance on both feet. Hmm.. Hoda on Bald Eagles 101 says it's the intruder. Probably true since the current thinking is that there is a pair of intruders (male, female).

Added the flyaway..
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JudyB
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Re: NCTC - Shepherdstown, West Virginia - 2018

Post by JudyB » Fri Mar 02, 2018 6:01 am

Good morning, everyone, and thanks for the picture of the early visit, Pauljk.

I checked the Bald Eagles 101 Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/1690426617860075/), and observers there are reporting that someone - they think the female intruder - was on the nest much of the night.

There was also a post by Steven Chase from NCTC, and he is apparently back now, and he reports that they have not seen or found any injured eagles so far, and confirmed that if they found an injured bird, they would get it veterinary assistance. I don't know the area - but he says "This nest is in a prime location, only a few hundred yards uphill from the Potomac and less than a mile from a dam that ensures an ample supply of fish. It is the perfect location, what eagle would not want it?" - and that does make sense. He's also not the first to note that the population of bald eagles has grown from near extinction to very healthy, and the "sometimes violent competition we have seen the past week or two is part of natural selection. In healthy ecosystems, this is how nature works, even though it can be cruel to watch." I'm not sure if you need to be a member of Facebook to read his complete post - link is https://www.facebook.com/groups/1690426 ... 719047161/.

9:00 am
It is very windy at the empty nest.

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Pauljk
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Re: NCTC - Shepherdstown, West Virginia - 2018

Post by Pauljk » Fri Mar 02, 2018 6:20 am

Thank you for the update JudyB. It is some comfort to know that Steven is keeping an eye on things. I suspect that that facebook page is like the others and that you can read the posts, but it will keep bothering you to login. You do have to have a facebook account and join their group to post/comment there.

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