Bald Eagle Migration Update: February 25, 2004
Today's Report Includes:
Back to the Eagles
"Hi Kids," Pete wrote this weekend, "Just back from a week with family skiing in Quebec; but here's the data." One look and you'll see that the eagles aren't ready to venture up to Canada for skiing or nesting!
Everybody is STILL staying put!
Link to Latest Data:
Thinking Like an Eagle
Take a look at the map of minimum temperatures in the US. Imagine the map included Canada:
Injured Eagle: Fly Away Home
Park Rapids, MN students have been part of our Bald Eagle Migration studies the past few years. They are also involved with eagle rehabilitation. Injured eagles found in their area are flown to the Univ. of MN Raptor Center in St. Paul for treatment and eventual release after rehabilitation.
This year Mr. Maanum and others at their school convinced the Raptor Center to ship one of their eagles back up to them in Park Rapids for release. Do you think this eagle would have found its way back to home if it had been released in St. Paul (over 150 miles away)?
This rehabilitated eagle had a fish hook in its stomach.
Lead Poisoning: A Rehab Story
Read the details of Eagleye Nye's story of this eagle's rehabilitation:
Many poisons in the environment slowly or quickly break down into less harmful chemicals. For example, DDT, is a complicated, big molecule that very slowly breaks down into smaller molecules. But lead is different. It's an element, so it's already as broken down as it can get, and never gets less toxic in nature. And once lead is in nature, there is no easy way to get it out. Eagle 004 was very sick and almost died from lead poisoning. How did that bird come into contact with lead? How does this element get into the environment? These are all important questions.
Catch and Carry: Talons vs. Beaks
Last week we read about a winter visit to an open patch of water on the Mississippi River in Minnesota. Eagles and ducks were both finding the fishing good. While the ducks snatched their dinners out of the water using their bills, the eagles had a different plan. Once an eagle spotted a fish in the water it would drop down and snatch the fish out of the water with its talons (if it was lucky enough to succeed).
Eagles, hawks and owls have a very sharp beak as well as talons. Many of them use their talons to grab a prey animal, and then use the sharp point of their beak to bite the animal at the base of the skull, or in the neck, to kill it. Eagles don't bother with that when they're carrying a fish, but ones that learn to hunt rabbits or ducks may. Even though an eagle's beak is strong, powerful, and huge, it never carries sticks or fish in its beak. Can you think of some reasons why eagles always carry items in their talons rather than their beaks?
Why Count Eagles in Winter? Discussion of CQ #5
Peter Nye says New York's eagle counts are always sure to be the highest in January. We asked you, "Why do you think more bald eagles are found in New York during the winter months than at any other time of the year?"
Iselin Middle School 7th Graders' discussion led to these great ideas:
Fifth graders at Park Rapids Middle School discussed the question and added a few more interesting possibilities:
Bald Eagle Adaptations: Talons - Challenge Question #8
This spring we're looking closely at eagles, from head to toe. Each week, we'll pose a Challenge Question related to the next week's featured adaptation. Remember: There's always a WHY behind WHAT you see. So whenever you see an unusual behavior or body part, ask yourself WHY...
Are you ready for this week's adaptation?
Eagles, like other birds of prey, have very special feet, different from all other animals. We call those special feet talons. Eagle feet, of course, have claws. But so do the feet on dogs, cats, squirrels, raccoons, robins, and even tiny hummingbirds.
What makes eagle feet different? First, the claws must be strong and sharp. When an eagle catches a fish, those claws have to slice into a stiff, strong fish with thick scales protecting its body.
But sharp claws are NOT the reason eagle feet are called talons--after all, cats have sharp claws, too, but they don't have talons. What makes talons different?
Now’s Your Chance: Ask the Bald Eagle Expert
Do you have a question you want to ask Peter Nye? Remember, the deadline is Noon Central (or 1 pm Eastern time) on March 5, 2004.
If you have trouble, please contact the Journey North office: our feedback form
Answers from the Bald Eagle Expert will be posted on March 19, 2004 via e-mail and on the Journey North Web site.
How to Respond to Today's Challenge Questions:
an e-mail message to: email@example.com
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