Bald Eagle Migration Update: March 24, 2004
Today's Report Includes:
Migration Heating Up
Field Notes from Peter Nye
Hello Again Eagle Trackers: In looking over this week's data, I guess I'd have to say the excitement is with our golden eagle A00, who is really "flying!" This is the second spring season we have tracked him, and he appears to have wasted little time getting home. Look at the latest fix (21 March); how far away from home do you figure he is here? Also, you might find it interesting to compare how far he's gone now, in how many days, with his last years’ movement.
In looking over this week's data, I guess I'd have to say the excitement is with our golden eagle A00, who is really "flying," so to speak! This is the second spring season we have tracked him, and he appears to have wasted little time getting home. Look at the latest fix (21 March); how far away from home do you figure he is here? Also, you might find it interesting to compare how far he's gone now, in how many days, with his last years’ movement.
I also wonder what the weather is like way up there in northern Quebec right now. I have to imagine it is still darn cold and frozen! What do you suppose golden eagles up there would eat this time of year.....or any time of year! Wouldn't it be great fun to visit his nest site and see what it looks like up there, and see if he has young golden eaglets?
Moving on to our "new" bald eagle, V98, she appears to be "short-circuited" along our Raquette River up in the Adirondacks. Likely because there is open water and suitable habitat for her there for a while yet, while she waits for more spring-like conditions and more open water up north farther. We'll have to wait and see. It was darn cold here in Albany this morning, 11 degrees F on my thermometer. But, the forecast is for 50+ by the end of the week. Things could start opening up soon, and quickly.
Well, that's all from here. Hope you are all doing well with your studies and having fun keeping up with these birds. Till next week...
More Migration Investigations
Pete also mentioned that our other golden, A20, appears content down in Pennsylvania. Do you know when this bird took off last year? You might be surprised!
Check out last year’s data for Eagle A20. Then answer this:
Shhhhhhh – Eagles are Nesting!
“Eagles Nesting – Stay Away!” This is the kind of sign language used by eagle biologists to warn people to stay away from nesting eagles. During the month-long incubation and 3 months of rearing eaglets it is critical that the birds have few human disturbances.
As the leader of the Endangered Species Unit, Peter Nye keeps his eye on all the nesting birds. This week he writes, “We are getting reports of new nests now, and some with disturbance problems that need to be dealt with. One report that just came in today was of a man and his son walking right up to an eagle nest, where the female was incubating, and throwing stones to get her to fly so his son could "see it fly". Unbelievable! And, VERY much against the law! The local sheriff got him!
In NY last year human disturbance was suspected in the failure of 3 active Bald eagle nests. All 3 sites were very visible and close to human activity. Nye suspects that this human activity during the critical incubation period proved detrimental.
After you watch, answer these:
Intensive Checklist: Monitoring at the Nesting Sites
Here is a checklist of the things reported from each nest:
Ask the Eagle Expert - Questions Answered
Since 1995, experts have contributed answers to students' questions about each Journey North species.
This year we had some great questions submitted to our Eagle Expert, Peter Nye.
On Wings of an Eagle: Discussing CQ #13
How far did Golden eagle V98 fly? Between March 9th at 10:15 EST, and March 12th at 17:33 EST she traveled 192 miles (309 kilometers). What was her flight speed?
We calculated that 79 hours and 18 minutes passed between signals. Rounded to the nearest hour is 79 hours. 192 miles divided by 79 hours = 2.43 mph. Now calculating in kilometers per hour, we find that 309 km divided by 79 hours = 3.91 kph.
Thanks for sharing your work, Phillip and Luke!
Interpreting Satellite Data: Discussing CQ #14
"How might an eagle's behavior be different than our migration map shows? That is, what might an eagle be doing during the time the satellite is NOT sending us data? Give an example."
The satellite only sends a snapshot representing a moment in time, but during the time in between the data reports lots of things are happening. Luke, a 6th grade home-schooler wrote to suggest “…an eagle might be hunting, eating, sleeping, moving, or finding a mate.”
Luke directed us to a perfect example of this when Bald Eagle #V98 stopped on her migration trail to feed on a deer carcass being monitored by Peter Nye and Kathy Michell. We know what happened then! #V98 was captured and tagged.
Adaptations: The Body: Discussion of CQ #15
“In what ways is the eagle built for survival?”
Jack, Andrew, and Mary from Ferrisburgh, NJ went online to find more about how an eagle’s body is built for survival. Here is what they wrote, “The eagle's body is strong. Their muscles are well developed for flying. The body also has hollow bones, so the eagle is not as heavy and can fly faster. The bones have braces inside of them so they are still strong. They can get in the air quickly and fly easily because their skeleton doesn't weigh so much."
They shared resources with us, too! Check out their research site:
Peter Nye adds, “Birds, including eagles, also have hollow (yet very strong) bones to decrease total body weight and help in flight. Unlike many other birds, though, eagles are fairly heavy, bulky birds. Because of this, they need a lot of room and a lot of energy to take off, not unlike an airplane. They are not birds designed for quick flight and maneuvers. Rather, they really shine as soaring birds, using their large wings, once airborne, taking advantage of air currents and natural thermals, to float almost effortlessly at great heights and over long distances.”
Eagle Adaptations: Review What You Learned
How can you use this information? I bet you can be creative! Why not use the facts to make a game, or create a poster, or a card game? Teach someone what you have learned. Why not add the most interesting facts to your eagle portfolio?
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