eagles isn’t easy. A day’s work can last over 17 hours
and often starts around 2 AM. This early hour allows us time to drive
to the target site and get everything into position before dawn.
For luring in the eagles we like to put something big on the ice
like a deer carcass. Often I’ll set out carcasses over a period
of time before the trapping date to get the eagles used to coming
to a particular spot. I’m always on the lookout for road kill.
waiting for the eagles to land for trapping can take all day- and
sometimes despite having dozens of crows feasting on our deer offering,
not a single eagle will venture to the ground.
and Pete setting up in the dark
work of trapping eagles requires patience. Since we must keep a close
eye to the frozen river we learn a lot about events that unfold around
the bait. Watching crows is an entertaining way to pass the time.
They are often the earliest arrivals to the bait. They arrive early
in good numbers from their roost, and begin having breakfast on our
deer—this is a good sign!
can make a lot of noise. One of the crows acts like the sentinel
or “watch crow.” You can spot this crow because it usually
stands a bit away from the other crows and will sound the alarm if
something looks threatening. Crows are hecklers- they can persistently
harass other animals. We have even seen crows pull on eagles’ feathers
as they gather together around the carcass bait.
images to see identifying characteristics.
Photo credit Laura Erickson
come to the bait, too. Compared to crows they are much larger and
have powerful beaks. The crows leave the ravens alone but they hold
their ground. Ravens are really alert and on edge. When they land
on the ice they hop 2 to 3 feet in the air and flutter down. This
bouncing up and down behavior makes me wonder if the ice were hot
instead of cold!
to think about:
does trapping eagles require a lot of patience?
do you think they have the trapping site set up so early?
would you summarize the capture experience?
crows arrive to the bait what are some of their behaviors?
of the crows takes the job of sentinel. What does this behavior
tell you about how smart crows are?
you have never seen a raven land on the ground you would miss
out on some unusual behavior. What do they do and why do you
think would they might act this way?