Brunching with Bald Eagles

Bald Eagle with Cargo, photo by Jeff Dehmel

Jeff took this shot last weekend in Milford’s Kensington Metropark.

If you’re looking for an alternative to Saturday morning cartoons for kids & adults alike, the CarbonTV Eagle Cam at the Platte River Fish Hatchery in Benzie County has returned for 2017. While it’s a lot of sitting on eggs right now, before too long there will be all kinds of fun as the eaglets hatch and grow!

View the photo background bigilicious and see more in Jeff’s Kensington Metropark 4.1.17 slideshow.

More bald eagles on Michigan in Pictures.

Bald Eagle Rescue by Wings of Wonder

via leelanau.com

Wings of Wonder Catching a Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle Rescue, photo by Ken Scott Photography

Wings of Wonder is a non-profit raptor sanctuary located in Empire, Michigan that focuses on the rescue and rehabilitation of birds of prey and also in educating people on their role in the natural world. Last weekend, WOW founder & director Rebecca Lessard led a very appropriate rescue for Independence Day. She writes:

Last night I was called in on the rescue of an adult Bald Eagle, down in Manistee County, who had a fishing lure embedded in his left wing, up near the shoulder. With assistance from Law Enforcement Officer P. Wiese I was able to successfully remove the large 3-hook rapella. Due to the severity of the wounds and the poor condition of this eagle it was apparent that the hook had been in his wing for quite a long time, preventing him from flying or eating. He had severe bruising inside his mouth and all around his beak ….most likely from trying to remove the painful hook, and he was extremely dehydrated, thin and very weak. Once we got the hook removed he was transported to Wings of Wonder and given fluids and small bites of clean meat. He spent the night in intensive care and this morning seemed to be feeling a bit better. Even tho he was still quite weak I decided to move him into our large 100 foot flight pen where he could get some fresh air, bathe, eat and rest. He was offered a large chunk of fish which he devoured eagerly.

These kinds of cases truly drive me crazy as they are soooooooooooo preventable. Fishing tackle and fishing line, as well as all other types of garbage and litter that is left behind, can result in a slow death for a variety of wildlife. Remember ALL of our actions result in a consequence … by making responsible choices our actions can help to make this world a more beautiful place … resulting in freedom, independence and health for all … a reminder on this 4th day of July…

(a huge thanks to Ken Scott Photography for the “imagery capture”)

Click to view the entire process from start to finish on Facebook and definitely consider supporting Wings of Wonder!

Platte River Bald Eagle Nest Cam

Platte River Eagle Cam

Michigan Eagle Cam, photo via Carbon TV

Carbon and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources are collaborating on a cool webcam of a nesting pair of bald eagles in Benzie County. mLive explains:

Cameras are pointed at a pair of nesting bald eagles in residence at the Platte River State Fish Hatchery. The large nest is 100 feet above the ground, along the Platte River in Benzie County.

Carbon Media Group alerted viewers earlier this week that incubation time is almost up, and that small holes called “pips” that parents make in the shells can be seen on two of the eggs.

“This pair of eagles have been regular visitors to this nest for the past three years,” Ed Eisch, DNR fish production manager, has said.

Click to view the live camera – which makes a really soothing background soundtrack – and also to check out video clips including an eagle adjusting the eggs from the photo above and visits by owls and pine martens!

Eaglet Morning

Michigan Eaglets in their Nest

Eaglets, photos by Kevin Povenz

The State of Michigan’s page on Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) says in part:

When bald eagles reach maturity (at four to five years of age), they select a mate, with whom they probably mate for life. In captivity, they have been known to live to 50 years, but in the wild, they probably don’t reach much more than 20 years of age.

The beginning of the breeding season, from mid-February to mid-March, consists of the establishment of a territory, nest building and mating displays. The mating “cartwheel” display begins high in the air with the two birds darting and diving at each other, until they lock talons and drop in a spinning free fall, until the last possible moment when they separate. The nest is usually located in the tallest tree in the area, often a white pine or dead snag. They are usually made of sticks with a lining of grass and moss. Nests may be added to each year until they reach enormous sizes, up to ten feet in depth and 20 feet across.

From late March to early April, one to four (average two) pure white eggs, approximately twice the size of a chicken egg, are laid. Both males and female bald eagles participate in the incubation, and the feeding of the chicks that hatch around seven weeks later. In about three months, by late summer, the fledglings are ready for flight. When it is time to move for the winter, the young birds are abandoned by their parents.

Kevin is certainly the Official Bald Eagle Photographer of Michigan in Pictures! View his photo bigger and see more (including more of these little ones) in his Birds of Prey slideshow.

More Michigan birds on Michigan in Pictures.

Fireproof? Michigan’s bald eagles full of flame retardants

Bald Eagle by Kevin Povenz

Bald Eagle, photo by Kevin Povenz

Sorry. I like to start the weekend on a better note usually, I hope you have a good one.

Environmental Health News recently ran a story bluntly titled Michigan’s bald eagles full of flame retardants. It says (in part):

Michigan’s bald eagles are among the most contaminated birds on the planet when it comes to phased-out flame retardant chemicals in their livers, according to new research.

The study, published last month in the Journal of Great Lakes Research, found that the top predators in the Great Lakes are highly exposed to banned flame retardants, still widespread in the environment.

Michigan’s population of bald eagles is stable, but the compounds have been linked in other birds to impaired reproduction, weird behavior and development, and hormone disruption.

“While the sensitivity of eagles to PBDEs has yet to be determined, there is a possibility that the exposures reported here may be associated with sub-clinical effects,” Nil Basu, an associate professor at McGill University who led study while at the University of Michigan, said in an email.

More than four decades ago, companies started putting polybrominated diphenyl ethers, PBDEs, into furniture cushions, electronics and clothing in an effort to slow the spread of flames if they catch fire.

…The chemicals “are everywhere,” Basu said. “They build up in the food chains so that top predators – such as bald eagles – accumulate high levels.”

Flame retardants have been found in birds all over the world – from the United States to China.

Read on for lots more about a sad story for these amazing animals. Oh, and don’t forget. Humans are a “top predator” too!

About this photo from last November, Kevin wrote:

Went down by the Grand River to see if any eagles were around. Now the conditions were not the greatest, quite windy, grey overcast skies and light mist in the air. But I haven’t been out all day so I said to myself that I just got to do this. Well I got to see the Eagles and this one just looked at me with the expression like “why are you here on such a crappy day”

Kevin is far and away the master bald eagle photographer in the Absolute Michigan pool on Flickr – heck, I just featured one of his eagle photos a couple of weeks ago. View his photo bigger and see many more of his really great Michigan bald eagle photos on Flickr.

Lots more about bald eagles on Michigan in Pictures.

Home Improvement: Bald Eagle Edition

Nest Builder by Kevin Povenz

Nest Building, photo by Kevin Povenz

Kevin took this shot of a bald eagle building a nest in late December near the Grand River in Ottawa County. The State of Michigan’s page on bald eagles says (in part):

During Michigan winters, bald eagles are seen throughout the state (almost all counties), while they nest mainly in the Upper Peninsula (especially the western portion) and the northern portion of the Lower Peninsula. These eagles don’t really migrate, they just move south enough to stay ahead of the ice and congregate near open water. Immature birds may move further south.

When bald eagles reach maturity (at four to five years of age), they select a mate, with whom they probably mate for life. In captivity, they have been known to live to 50 years, but in the wild, they probably don’t reach much more than 20 years of age.

The beginning of the breeding season, from mid-February to mid-March, consists of the establishment of a territory, nest building and mating displays. The mating “cartwheel” display begins high in the air with the two birds darting and diving at each other, until they lock talons and drop in a spinning free fall, until the last possible moment when they separate. The nest is usually located in the tallest tree in the area, often a white pine or dead snag. They are usually made of sticks with a lining of grass and moss. Nests may be added to each year until they reach enormous sizes, up to ten feet in depth and 20 feet across.

Read on for more and have a look at this encouraging chart of the steadily rising number of eagle nests in Michigan. Also check out this page of bald eagle sightings in Michigan for ideas of where to look near you!

View it bigger on Flickr, get more pics of these eagles at his Grand River North Ravines tag and see more in his Birds of Prey slideshow.

More eagles on Michigan in Pictures!

Bald Eagle in Michigan

Eagle turning

Eagle turning, photo by Deirdre Honner

I think this is one of the best bald eagle photos I’ve ever seen. The Michigan DNR’s bald eagle page explains that before European settlement, bald eagles probably nested in all regions of Michigan.

In the early 1900s they were described as being “generally distributed,” but “nowhere abundant.” A decline through the early and mid-1900s was probably related to slow but consistent loss of suitable habitat and available food, and predator control by humans. These eagles are so disturbed by the presence of humans near their nest that they may be induced to abandon the nest, or even chicks that have already hatched. By 1959, the species was considered, “largely restricted to the northern half of the state.”

…Nests are usually constructed near seacoasts, lakes or large rivers to be near their most common food supply: fish. Although they are quite capable of catching their own, sometimes even wading in shallow water to stalk fish like herons, they have often been seen stealing fish from other birds such as osprey. When fish are not available, such as in winter, eagles will also feed on waterfowl, small mammals (up to rabbit-size) and carrion (even road-kill).

During Michigan winters, bald eagles are seen throughout the state (almost all counties), while they nest mainly in the Upper Peninsula (especially the western portion) and the northern portion of the Lower Peninsula. These eagles don’t really migrate, they just move south enough to stay ahead of the ice and congregate near open water. Immature birds may move further south.

Lots more about bald eagles at All About Birds and you can also view recent Michigan bald eagle sightings.

Check this out background big and see more including a shot of the eagle in flight  in Deirdre’s slideshow.

More Michigan birds on Michigan in Pictures.