Reader Stephen Barnard sends photos of bald eagles, and the laws of physics have determined that I post them. His notes:
The eagles at Aubrey Spring Ranch appear to be taking over a nest in the heron rookery (Their long-time nest tree blew down on July 4.) One of them is apparently bringing in nest material. It may be interesting when the herons return in the spring. They don’t get along.
8 thoughts on “Eagles in Idaho”
Stephen – what trees are these?
And of course, as John West can attest, the sight of an eagle will always divert attention.
I added a reply below at #3 that I think they are aspens.
It’s a 20 acre stand of mature aspens with two ponds. Wildlife is attracted to it because it provides cover and water and it’s relatively isolated, situated right in the middle of the ranch. It’s common to see moose, elk, mule deer, and occasionally otters.
There are approximately 40 nests in the rookery. You can actually count them from Google Earth.
I’m afraid the herons are in for a rude surprise when they return in the spring.
And what gorgeous blue skies!
To me they look like old aspens.
I like aspens. Aspens give a lot of food to wildlife throughout their relatively short lives. I have a small grove of such tall aspens (bigtooth) in my backyard, now past their prime. Wood ducks nested in them for a couple years, and I’ve seen all the woodpecker species including Pileateds using them for holes and nests and grubbing. Now that the tops are snapping off due to age and the wood is decaying, there is even more activity surrounding them.
It will be interesting to know how long this Idaho nest will stay up there since they get so heavy.
Hysterical commercial. I have never seen this brand.
When I’m driving and I do see an eagle, I am likely to go off the road –which is more common in the past few years (both almost going off the road and also seeing an eagle).
It’s a double hazard in spring when I botanize and birdwatch while driving. I think I need a few warning bumperstickers on my car.
When I moved to the US, there were many more herons nesting in the reeds by Husky Stadium in Lake Washington, but over the last five or six years, Bald Eagles have become almost common in Western Washington, and have reduced the heron population there almost to zero – this year I have never seen more than a single heron at a time, though I have seen three Bald Eagles simultaneously, plus a couple of Ospreys (my favourite raptor, bar none).
Unfortunately, stopping to photographs them is unwise – most of the time they are perching on the light stanchions of SR-520, the freeway across the lake.
We do have both Bald Eagles and Ospreys nesting in Redmond, where I live, all along the shores of Lake Sammamish and in Marymoor Park at its northern end, and there is a Bald Eagle nest on the top of a power pylon in the Sammamish River valley that has been used for the last six years, and is getting pretty big by now – the inhabitants tend to grow them every year, largely without limit where possible. There is a small island in Puget Sound that has a next which is currently around 12 feet across.
There’s a blue heron rookery in Beacon Hill park in Victoria, BC, which was mostly abandoned a few years ago and has been getting repopulated lately. There has also been eagles nesting in the same park at times, not far away. (This is the main city park, near the harbour.)
One year when the rookery was at its most populous, and well stocked with young herons, we were there as two eagles attacked the rookery. The herons raised a ruckus in return, which is a sound I always think of as prehistoric. It was incredible to see and hear.
There is a heron rookery along the Fox River in McHenry County. We took a canoe trip there a few months ago and got a good view of the pair of eagles nesting amongst the dozens of heron nests. They seemed to be very tolerant neighbors. I wonder if there are any scuffles over fish… eagles are known for waiting for someone else to catch a meal and then taking it away from them.