Capture of V98: March 9, 2004
Hello again Students and Eagle Lovers!
We have some good news to start off this week. Not only are some of our eagles on the move now, but we have a new one to follow.
the story of our new eagle, V98.
When we arrived, we found that our deer-carcass bait had disappeared; for how long we don't know, but likely dragged off by a coyote or a bear. We almost always have a "fresh" deer carcass in the truck at the ready, and today was no exception. This new deer was a large one, and once skinned back a bit, the exposed, red flesh sure looked attractive to us!
By 7:15, we had immature bald eagles all over the carcass, on the ground nearby, and in the trees above; probably 6-8 young eagles in all. We were thoroughly enjoying watching the antics of these young birds, fighting for position and a piece of this windfall. One large, likely female, eagle was very good at keeping the deer to herself, until she became full and let others in. As I said, all this was enjoyable to watch, but I was somewhat concerned that we had no adult eagles in sight; our real quarry.
Then, a little after eight-o'clock, I spotted a large adult gliding toward our trap site from up-river, on a direct line toward the carcass. This bird came out of no where, and perched in a tree right about the carcass for about 5 minutes, watching the squabbling immatures on the carcass, until it finally decided it wanted in on the action. Our hearts were pounding as we watched this beautiful adult land on the carcass, take over, and begin feeding. This appeared to be a large and dominant bird, several times chasing off immatures that ventured too close. This is a tense time for us as eagle-trappers. We, of course, want this bird, but we also want to be sure it has settled down into a good feeding posture before we fire our net. At first, eagles landing on the carcass are very tentative and alert; we want them to be focused on their feeding, with their back to the net and head down. So, it's a tense time waiting for this and hoping in the meantime the bird doesn't get spooked off. This usually takes about 10 minutes. As I said, we were lucky today. Kathy held the firing unit out the window, antenna extended and power on, while I watched carefully through our spotting scope. When everything was just right, I quietly said, "fire", and a quick blast of smoke down by the carcass told me the net had deployed. The shot was a good one, and our adult prize was securely contained as we ran up to the net.
far will she go ?
Peter E. Nye,