Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Keen eyes spot unusual eagle nest

Tiny tree supports heavy eagle nest

Eaglet waits for a fish meal from its parents
There are at least six eagle nests at the west end of Red Lake that we know about and probably many more we haven't found.
There is a pattern to the trees that eagles normally choose for their nests at our end of the lake. They are always large quaking aspen trees with spreading branches near the top. Many times they are the largest tree in the area.
That's why this nest in a puny jackpine tree is remarkable. It was photographed by Mike and Lonnie Boyer from the Buckeye State, long-time anglers at Bow Narrows Camp and whose photographs are usually about something unusual.
Mike and Lonnie have told me about the location of this nest for years and I still can't find it! So they sent these photos and circled the nest in one.
The weight of the nest makes the little tree it is built on sway back and forth, they say.
There are lots of larger trees in the area; so it isn't apparent why the eagle parents chose this little one.
Eagles are territorial and even in excellent fishing territory such as here, they probably don't build their nests any closer than a mile of each other.
They keep adding to the nest each year until some of these structures are 10 feet high. The weight of the nests and the fact that the droppings from the young eagles often end up killing the tree mean that the eagles must find a new nest site every so often. A lot of times the nests and the trees come down in violent wind storms.
We know of one eaglet that survived the crash of its nesting tree and hopped along the shoreline for the rest of the summer. It was fed there by its parents and as far as we know, survived to become an adult.
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