Live Bald Eagle Nest Camera
Feed from Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge near Vian, Oklahoma
Feed from Sooner Lake north of Stillwater, Oklahoma
Date: 12/08/2013 6:27 pm CDT
Comment: As Fay would say to dark to see anything,. Stan I would love to see 30. high here was 16. Good night see ya tomorrow sometime. SED
Date: 12/08/2013 4:56 pm CDT
Comment: Go Pats !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Date: 12/08/2013 4:17 pm CDT
Comment: Het Stan! Yep, just waiting to see what happens! Hi Louise! Feeling better from the cold I gave you????
Name: Stan in Arkansas
Date: 12/08/2013 4:15 pm CDT
Comment: Temp never got above 30, anything that may have thawed will refreeze. Pretty treacherous out there. All this is headed east and north east. Stay safe and warm Fay.
Date: 12/08/2013 4:08 pm CDT
Date: 12/08/2013 3:16 pm CDT
Comment: A good evening to Fay, Steve, okmeme.BG-OK, Maryef MaryVA Stan..all of you! Keep warm!
Date: 12/08/2013 2:54 pm CDT
Comment: Hey, there's the other eagle on a branch in the water, LOL!
Date: 12/08/2013 2:50 pm CDT
Comment: And here comes Oz, LOL!
Date: 12/08/2013 2:50 pm CDT
Comment: Not true Brat! Patr and Stan also saw the couple, LOL!
Date: 12/08/2013 2:45 pm CDT
Comment: 2nd eagle no no gone already, Well it was Fay saying 2 yea right. LOL
Date: 12/08/2013 2:41 pm CDT
Comment: Comd on you 2, snuggle a bit, will ya? Speaking of which, the "snufflebug" doesn't seem impressed with the snow, okmeme !!!!!!!!!! How adorable are they?
Date: 12/08/2013 2:32 pm CDT
Comment: 2 eagles, LOL, but they must be feuding.......
Date: 12/08/2013 2:24 pm CDT
Comment: and I get to see both.. wonder if water is too frozen to get fish or ducks or coots??
Name: Stan in Arkansas
Date: 12/08/2013 2:22 pm CDT
Comment: Second E just landed
Date: 12/08/2013 2:20 pm CDT
Comment: Wow an E on the xbar.
Date: 12/08/2013 2:13 pm CDT
Comment: there is an eagle in the area. LOl I see it. folks.
Date: 12/08/2013 2:07 pm CDT
Comment: Yep, think I was faked out ,Louise, with the meal.LOL
Date: 12/08/2013 2:06 pm CDT
Comment: yeah!!! got here in time to see one anyway/ glad for that.. is it a hunkered up dad or Mom?? whoever..glad!!
Date: 12/08/2013 1:55 pm CDT
Comment: Still sitting all alone.... Poor baby....
Name: michellee in mwc
Date: 12/08/2013 1:51 pm CDT
Comment: seeing 2 adult eagles sitting over nest at sooner lake one on each end of the wooden frame
Date: 12/08/2013 1:29 pm CDT
Comment: hmm...probably no meal...sitting on crossbar...miserable...
Date: 12/08/2013 1:19 pm CDT
Comment: LKK All is well...glad eagle is back...twirly on CU...but quite sure is eating on nest...whoops ..just flew to crossbar...short meal...
Date: 12/08/2013 1:09 pm CDT
Comment: Looks like this one brought back a meal. Hi Louise so nice to hear you, hope all is well.
Date: 12/08/2013 1:07 pm CDT
Comment: Hi LKK...one circled and then one on bar to the left took off..brrr! Have to keep warm ! So bleak !!
Date: 12/08/2013 1:04 pm CDT
Comment: Refreshed and both gone already,maybe following the coot flotilla I saw awhile ago.LOL
Date: 12/08/2013 1:00 pm CDT
Comment: Nice to see M and D SL this cold, windy day.
Date: 12/08/2013 12:59 pm CDT
Comment: Eagle on crossbar and one on bar to the left
Date: 12/08/2013 12:57 pm CDT
Comment: Eagle on. Rossbar and other one on nest!!!
Name: Steve and Pam
Date: 12/08/2013 12:39 pm CDT
Comment: Oh how cute and a smiling Mom. Pam loved it also.. thanks.
Date: 12/08/2013 12:39 pm CDT
Comment: How is Brother doing ,okmeme? Hope his respiratory infection is getting better.
Date: 12/08/2013 12:35 pm CDT
Comment: Haven't checked yet . getting lunchwith Pam. I'll let you know. Oh right now.
Date: 12/08/2013 12:29 pm CDT
Comment: Missing MaryVA and I hope she is having a great time with her little Harper!
Date: 12/08/2013 12:27 pm CDT
Comment: Hi Steve. If you didn't get my email please check again. I missed you and my brother when I sent it. It should be there now..sorry
Date: 12/08/2013 12:14 pm CDT
Comment: Well I've gotten more snow during church than last night and to snow all day. Light and fluffy good. Yes rather have snow than any ice. be carefull, please. Eagle ummm glad you saw it.. Will go check E-Mail for Chandler.. Thanks.
Date: 12/08/2013 12:10 pm CDT
Comment: Yes ,okmeme,haven't gotten over that Bedlam outcome.We'll have to redeem ourselves in the Bowl game.. Chandler is so cute in his Mickey snow gear.He just doesn't know what to think about all that white stuff in his yard.LOL
Date: 12/08/2013 11:47 am CDT
Comment: Sent some emails to y'alls.
Date: 12/08/2013 11:46 am CDT
Comment: Repeating LKK :(:::::::::::: nuf said (not sure if yours is about that game but mine sure is..LOL)
Date: 12/08/2013 11:44 am CDT
Comment: Brrrrrr Morning everyone. Ewwww Stan, I don't mind snow much but hate the ice. It's pretty icy here also, just covered up by the snow. Hope our eagles are staying warm but I guess this weather doesn't bother them at all.
Date: 12/08/2013 10:59 am CDT
Comment: I heard some parts of Arkansa got ten inches of snow. I got maybe two to three inches. But brother is it cold, so inside I will stay. Stay warm Eagles.
Date: 12/08/2013 9:07 am CDT
Comment: Yikes,Stan. stay warm and safe over there in Ark. A few snow flurries this morning is all for us.
Name: Stan in Arkansas
Date: 12/08/2013 9:00 am CDT
Comment: GM to all. Hope everyone is warm and safe, including the E's. Our streets are like ice rinks. Another round expected this morning. Warmer temps not until like Tuesday or so.
Date: 12/08/2013 8:59 am CDT
Comment: I know you hold big bro in your heart all the time,Fay, but it is nice to gather with others that do to and celebrate his life.
Date: 12/08/2013 8:47 am CDT
Comment: Just saw it and it took off.
Date: 12/08/2013 8:22 am CDT
Comment: Eagle on x-bar!!! GM everyone and hope all are safe in this weather.
Name: Ginger in Texas
Date: 12/08/2013 8:20 am CDT
Comment: Saw eagle fly in just as I logged on.
Date: 12/08/2013 7:53 am CDT
Comment: Dah Fay when it's dark you only see black bears .LOL Good morning no E's yet as LKK said. Oh I loved shoveling this morning, only an inch or so and light and fluffy. Off to church soon for our semi annual bake and goodie day. HAGD.
Date: 12/08/2013 7:27 am CDT
Comment: No E's yet but I see other birds flying in a winter wonderland. Stay warm everyone.
Date: 12/08/2013 6:29 am CDT
Comment: My weather is 46-40F over the last few days - gets colder at night but no snow. Dont know if it has reached OC yet in the UK
Date: 12/08/2013 5:04 am CDT
Comment: Mornin' ! I have markers back-guess I did steal them after all? Big bro's anniv. Mass this morning, and then family brunch to "celebrate" him. LOVE that ...... HAGD !!! Oh, too dark to see a dang thing.....
Name: Steve and Pam
Date: 12/07/2013 6:59 pm CDT
Comment: been out all afternoon Christmas shopping for family. Lkk I'm glad you are ok was terrifing I'm sure. Maggies M I know I see you like around getting a wider education of nature. Bedlam = football ummm. Sorry I have markers on my comp. HAGN CUL
We ask that you limit your comments to nest camera topics. Thank you!
Although the nest at Sequoyah NWR began as a Bald Eagle nest, a pair of Bald Eagles incubating two eggs abandoned the nest in January. Subsequently, a Great Horned Owl began incubating a single remaining but no longer viable eagle egg, and later began a clutch of her own. Meanwhile, the Sooner Lake eagles have returned to the pole nest. Read our updates below, and stay tuned to see what develops!
Scroll down this page a little farther to read our informative blog about current nests as well as see photos and videos.
Having trouble seeing the video? Check the bottom of this page for suggestions.
This camera project would not have been possible without the major support of: OG&E, OneNet, Atlas Broadband, OU College of Arts and Sciences, University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma Biological Survey, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, ConocoPhillips. Additional support provided by individual donors.
14 August 2013: The young eagles have made their first excursions away from the nest site, and can be tracked along with 10 other eagles on our tracking page at http://www.suttoncenter.org/pages/eagle_tracking.
15 July 2013: An eaglet eats a fish brought in by an adult at about 4 pm.
8 July 2013: An eaglet pauses for a moment while eating a fish. A strong breeze is parting its neck feathers, exposing the white feather bases.
1 July 2013: Both eaglets visited the nest this morning. The photo below shows one after it finished a small meal.
26 June 2013: An eaglet mantles over a fish just dropped off by an adult.
25 June 2013: The eaglets continue to spend time at the nest. The photo below shows them resting at 3 pm on a warm afternoon.
17 June 2013: In the first photo below, an eaglet is performing what is known as mantling, in which it speads its wings and tail and arches its body over a prey item to hide and protect it from a competing raptor, in this case its sibling eagle which is watching intently. The next two photos show a fight in progess over access to food.
14 June 2013: The eaglets have returned to the nest today. They have likely spent the past few days learning (by trial and error) to fly more effectively.
10 June 2013: It was a big weekend for the eaglets. The first one left the nest for the first time on Saturday morning, the 8th of June. The video below shows the first one leaving the nest (it happens near the very end of the video). The second eaglet left a few hours later and is shown in the second video. It is likely that they will make some return visits to the nest in the coming weeks.
5 June 2013: The young eagles have been through another spring thunderstorm, and are looking wet and ragged this morning, but they are doing well.
31 May 2013: Resting at the nest.
29 May 2013: The eaglets are spending time on the outer rim of the nest, and exercising their wings, all in preparation for their first attempts at flight.
24 May 2013: This eaglet demonstrates its ability to tear apart and eat a fish on its own. It will soon need to learn how to catch a fish as well.
21 May 2013: The chicks are regularly exercising their wings in preparation for their first attempts at flight. Here are a couple of interesting views. The first shows a chick jumping up while flapping its wings, and provides a good view of its tail, which is mostly dark in juvenile eagles. The second shows a close up view of part of its wing, including the secondaries, inner primaries, as well as many of the wing coverts.
17 May 2013: Should we eat it or just stare at it?
16 May: All four eagles at the nest:
While the chicks have been learning to feed on their own from prey brought back to the nest, they are still willing to have an adult do the work on this fish brought in at 2 pm.
15 May 2013: Here are a few recent photos from the eagle nest.
An American Coot with its head already removed:
A "cow pie" in the nest:
A Scissor-tailed Flycatcher nest within the exterior of the eagle nest. Oklahoma's state bird nesting alongside our national symbol!
13 May 2013: While one chick rests, the other surveys the surroundings that it may return to as an adult in several years.
The oldest chick is learning how to manipulate prey in the nest as well as feed on its own. In the two photos below, it takes the initiative and moves the coot around in the nest before feeding. For information about coots, see page: http://www.suttoncenter.org/pages/what_is_a_cootand_other_eagle_foods
Up close by the camera!
9 May 2013: The close up cameras on the Sooner Lake nest are older models, and do not have a zoom function. Today we switched to the second close up camera because it is slightly farther away from the nest and provides a little larger viewing area within the nest.
Our climber made a few observations at the nest yesterday that you may find interesting. The nest contained part of an armadillo shell. While it is unlikely that an eagle actually captured a live armadillo, eagles will scavenge food, and as Oklahoma drivers know, there are many dead armadillos along the roadsides at this time of year. He also reports that there was a "cow pie" in the nest. This is a bit harder to explain!
You probably noticed as well that he removed the pesky stick that everyone loved to hate. You know, the one that was sticking up right in front of the camera all this time. He said it was surprisingly small, just a twig that was thinner than a pencil, although it looked larger because it was so close to the camera.
We have also created a new page (located in the left side menu of our eagle tracking pages) that provides some additional detail about the tracking transmitters and how they are attached. Here is a direct link: http://www.suttoncenter.org/pages/transmitters_and_bands
8 May 2013: As you have probably noticed by now, the two chicks at the Sooner Lake nest are now sporting new satellite transmitters. These backpack-style tracking devices were fitted yesterday afternoon, and will enable us, as well as you, to follow their movements over the next 3-5 years, provided the chicks survive that long and the transmitters keep working. We first fitted juvenile eagles with transmitters in 2010, on two birds at a nest in Sand Springs and we are still following those two birds today. We are currently following 10 young eagles, and these two Sooner Lake chicks will bring that total to 12. You can read more about the process of catching the young eagles at just the right age to attach the transmitters on page http://www.suttoncenter.org/pages/eagle_tracking_information. The photos below show the Sooner Lake chicks with their new transmitters, as well as a numbered federal leg band that will identify each eagle if it is ever captured again or found deceased. Be sure to follow the progress of all of our tracked eagles on page http://www.suttoncenter.org/pages/eagle_tracking.
Stretching and exercising its wings:
6 May 2013: Breakfast is served at 10:05.
3 May 2013: This subadult eagle spent at least 30 minutes in the Sequoyah nest today, even rearranging some of the nest lining materials. This bird is older than the one that stopped by on April 27 (see photo below).
1 May 2013: A fish breakfast is served!
29 April 2013: Feather growth in the chicks is occurring rapidly!
A young eagle was seen visiting the Sequoyah nest over the weekend.
25 April 2013: The chicks continue to gain weight and size, as well as growing feathers to replace their down.
24 April 2013: Additional sticks are occasionally brought to the nest and arranged around the perimeter.
22 April 2013: During a morning feeding today, the brown feathers can be seen to have developed rapidly on the oldest chick (compare to the photo below from the 19th), and are just starting to appear on the youngest.
19 April 2013: As another fish is delivered to the nest, the first dark brown feathers can be seen emerging through the coat of light gray down on the older chick.
18 April 2013: A freshly caught fish is delivered to the nest.
17 April 2013: This shows one of several brief moments each day when both adults are present on the nest with the chicks.
14 April 2013: Evening light bathes the chicks.
11 April 2013: The arrival of an adult with food rouses the chicks from an afternoon nap.
10 April 2013: Today is a cold, wet day at the Sooner Lake nest.
9 April 2013: An adult eagle rearranges nest lining material. Below, both adults perch on the nest with the two chicks.
In a move that all of the camera viewers at the time were probably applauding, the adult eagle attempted to move the stick that partially blocks our view of the nest. Unfortunately, it was pretty well locked into place and sprang back after it was pushed out of the way.
Another attempt to move the stick an hour later also failed.
5 April 2013: New visitors to the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge nest! A pair of Ospreys spent some time in the nest this afternoon. Also known as "fish hawks" because of their exclusive diet of fish, Ospreys are a reasonably common migrant in Oklahoma each spring and fall. Mated pairs are not known to migrate together, and it is very possible that this pair could be exploring possible nest sites. There are very few nest records in Oklahoma. One from the Salt Plains in Alfalfa County dates to the late 1950s, and another documented nest was near Kerr Reservoir in Sequoyah County in 1983, not far at all from the nest shown on the camera. We'll see what, if anything, developes here. Thanks for watching!
Carp for breakfast at Sooner Lake!
Very little remained of that fish by 3:30 pm as the chicks napped in the sun.
4 April 2013: The chicks receive a meal of American Coot on another gray morning, with the promise of clearing skies ahead.
The sun came out before noon.
3 April 2013: The chicks continue to be brooded during several days of cold rain.
2 April 2013: A bedraggled looking eagle broods the two chicks during what promises to be a wet and cold couple of days at the nest.
Both wet adults huddle on the nest at about 3:30 pm.
1 April 2013: The chicks are growing larger, and appear to be doing well.
29 March 2013: A sunny morning in the nest after breakfast:
An adult portions out morsels of an American Coot to the chicks a little before 11:00 am.
28 March 2013: The nest is down to two chicks. As feared, the youngest chick appears to have not survived very long after hatching. Another of its siblings has also perished. We did not see and cannot say definitively how or why they died, although it is most likely due to either competition for warmth or aggressive competition among the siblings. During a feeding bout prior to 9:00 am this morning, the size difference between the oldest chick and its nestmate was readily apparent, and when the adult eagle briefly stopped feeding the chicks while it took a moment to work on dismantling a fish, the oldest chick could be seen using the pause to hammer on its smaller sibling. While the chicks are being brooded and while they are actively receiving food during a feeding session, this aggressive behavior is inhibited, but it can surface when the chicks are uncovered and not being continually fed. For a more in depth discussion of this behavior, visit the link at the upper left side of this page for the 2012 Nesting Season Information and read the March 2, 2012 entry. Two eggs is an average clutch size for Bald Eagles, and three or four egg clutches mean the chicks face longer odds for survival.
About 2:00 pm this afternoon a feeding session took place that lasted about 40 minutes. The photos below help tell the story.
The oldest chick was eager to be fed, while its younger sibling laid partially covered with grass behind it.
The younger sibling rallied in an effort to be fed, but was unsuccessful.
The oldest chick pecked at the younger chick.
After the oldest chick was satiated, the younger chick did receive a good meal.
The warm afternoon allowed the chicks to remain uncovered for a while after their meal.
25 March: The fourth chick has hatched (see it lying down to the right of the three older chicks in the photo below). We are not sure exactly when it hatched, because it has been hard to see past the first three chicks. It appeared motionless during the brief interval that the female was off the nest and this photo was taken. With its late hatch and small size (relative to the other three chicks), it will need to compete with its larger siblings for both food and warmth. While we hope for the best, it is at a disadvantage, especially in the cold weather Oklahoma is experiencing right now (lows in the 20s F at night). There is a super abundance of food in the nest right now, including several fish and several American Coots, which will help, although the youngest chick would still need to be able to claim a share of the food from the adult until it is much older and able to feed itself.
21 March 2013: A third egg has hatched! Also note the large fish brought in by the male.
19 March 2013: Two eggs have hatched! We'll have to wait several days to see if the other two eggs will also hatch. Check the link for Bald Eagle Nesting Information (located to the left of the camera feeds) for more infomation on hatching and chick development.
Eggshells from a recently hatched egg are visible on the right side of the nest, and a fish that the male has delivered to the nest is visible in the left foreground.
Two chicks and two eggs are present in the nest this morning.
An adult eagle feeds fish to one of the recently hatched chicks.
12 March 2013: The owls were reported visiting the Sequoyah nest briefly last night. The photo below shows the eagle pair at the Sooner Lake nest switching incubation duties.
11 March 2013: Four eggs continue to be incubated at Sooner Lake. We first became aware of the eggs on the 28th of February when the cameras came back online, and the clutch was complete at that time. We do not know when the eggs were laid and therefore cannot accurately predict when they will hatch, although it is possible they could begin hatching within the next 1-2 weeks if they were laid sometime in mid February.
6 March 2013: Four eggs continue to be incubated at Sooner Lake. The owls continue making occasional visits to the Sequoyah NWR nest, sometimes being observed at dawn or dusk.
4 March 2013: We are in the process of replacing some bad parts and batteries at the Sooner Lake site. The cameras may be on and off a few times today and tomorrow as we work on the system.
All seems to be well at the Sooner Lake nest today.
3 March 2013: If another day of sun doesn't restore the Sooner Lake cameras to operation, a site visit may be required to reset the equipment.
The pair of Great Horned Owls visited the Sequoyah NWR nest early this morning (see video, below), and it is possible that they will try to renest.
28 February 2013: Good news from Sooner Lake! After the nest tree fell down (see the December 21 report, below), the eagles were visiting a couple of alternative nest sites, and ultimately went back to their original pole nest. We were able to replace some broken equipment yesterday, and are very fortunate that the aging cameras mounted on the pole above the nest are still working so we are able to have the close-up views into the nest. For longtime viewers of our nest camera project, having the eagles nesting here again is just like old times. To top it off, this nest has a very unusual 4-egg clutch!
Note: The batteries at Sooner Lake are run down, and it may take a couple of days of good sun to get them recharged, so the cameras may be on and off depending on local weather conditions.
Clutches of four eggs are very unusual for Bald Eagles!
26 February 2013: The Great Horned Owl persisted in incubating her remaining egg during the snowstorm of about a week ago and continued doing so during several days of nicer weather after the storm. Then another storm system moved through bringing cold rain during the past day or so, and the Sequoyah NWR nest camera was off again for a while. The camera came on about midday today revealing an empty nest. The camera was not operational when the owl and the egg disappeared, so we do not know the extact cause. It is disappointing for the second attempt in this nest to fail this season. We are continuing to work behind the scenes to get another nest on line this season, and while it may happen soon if things go well, we don't yet know for sure if or when it will happen.
An empty nest.
20 February 2013: Oklahoma is expected to have a mixture of snow, sleet, and freezing rain through Thursday morning. This extended period of cloudy skies and snow covering the solar panels means the owl camera will likely stop working before this storm system has moved through, and sunshine will then be needed to recharge the camera's power supply.
Great Horned Owls have been known to successfully incubate eggs at temperatures below -25 F.
18 February 2013: The Great Horned Owl stayed put during a brief but intense hailstorm this afternoon. The sun was shining a few minutes later.
Great Horned Owl during a short hailstorm.
Close up view of hailstones which came to rest all around the owl's tail.
15 February 2013: It appears that the Bald Eagle egg and one of the two owl eggs have disappeared two nights ago. Whether this is due to predation, breakage, or something else we are not sure. If the rotten eagle egg broke, the sticky contents may have caused it as well as an owl egg to stick to the incubating female's feathers and she may have unintentionally carried them off when leaving the nest. As unlikely as that may sound, lucky camera viewers actually got to see this happen to a female eagle at one of our previous eagle camera nests several years ago.
Female Great Horned Owl taking flight from the nest at dusk, showing one owl egg.
11 February 2013: The Great Horned Owl has now laid two eggs, and the Bald Eagle egg is still present. Two eggs is a common clutch size for Great Horned Owls, although it is possible that she could lay more.
Two Great Horned Owl eggs with a dead Bald Eagle egg.
7 February 2013: Many camera viewers have noticed the extreme mobility of the owl's head as it rotates through an improbable range of motion. Viewers might be interested in reading a little about this on page http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/01/31/170758750/how-owls-spin-their-heads-without-tearing-arteries. You can also listen to a 6-minute story about this on NPR on page http://www.npr.org/2013/02/01/170855382/how-owls-turn-heads.
This situation with a Great Horned Owl incucbating an abandoned Bald Eagle egg is quite unusual. To answer some basic questions about normal Great Horned Owl nesting behavior, we offer the following. Great Horned Owls frequently select old, unused hawk nests as their nest site. They are typically one of the earliest nesting species in Oklahoma, sometimes starting in December but other times starting months later. A clutch of two eggs is most common, and they are incubated by the female, with the male delivering food. Incubation typically takes 30-37 days, and the young begin leaving the nest at 6 weeks of age but continue to be fed for some time. This information and much more about Great Horned Owls and every other bird species known to nest in Oklahoma can be found in the Oklahoma Breeding Bird Atlas published by the University of Oklahoma Press. This book is the result of a previous Sutton Center project to survey the nesting birds of Oklahoma.
6 February 2013: You may have been watching the Great Horned Owl that has adopted the abandoned eagle egg in the Sequoyah eagle nest. This is an interesting phenomena, but not completely surprising. Female birds (and some males) are stimulated to incubate eggs, when influenced by hormones, and often may incubate almost any eggs in the vicinity when in that hormonal condition. Most females will not incubate eggs at other times. It is likely that this owl had either lost her own clutch of eggs, but is still in the incubation phase of reproductive condition, or has come into “reproductive readiness” but has not bred. In either case she might be stimulated by the sight of the egg to incubate. This “incubating drive” will likely dissipate within a few days or could possibly continue for longer, even until the dead eagle egg explodes.
25 January 2013: We want to update everybody who follows the Sutton Web Site eagle nests and eagle tracking. Excuse us for not having posted this notice earlier, but extended bouts of the flu have made our staff short-handed this year, and we are still in the process of recovering. Because there has not been a lot of eagle behavior captured on the webcams, the comments seem to have deteriorated significantly toward unrelated subjects. This site is intended for the exchange of meaningful information about eagles and not for unrelated personal chit-chat. It is our responsibility to call the attention of participants to that fact, and while we do not intend to offend anyone, please respect the purpose of the comments section and refrain from using it for personal conversations. Thank you for honoring this request.
We started early this nesting season in preparing for hi-def cameras to be installed at some sites in order to have them ready to go. This was possible because we finally had a nest site with access to an AC power source instead of the more limiting DC that is normally provided by solar panels and batteries at our more remote nest sites. No matter which nest site we use, not only is it necessary to acquire the technical equipment (which only lasts for a couple of seasons in Oklahoma’s harsh environment of extremes), but permission must sometimes be obtained from absentee landowners which can be a time consuming process. On top of that, and as we have discussed before, Bald Eagles often repair or build more than one nest (called a supernumerary nest or nests) in a season, but the observer may not know which nest the eagles intend to use until close to the last minute when eggs are laid in the season’s nest of choice. Unfortunately, the eagles chose not to use the nest that we expected them to use.
Just prior the beginning of this nesting season, one of the Sooner Lake dead nest trees equipped with cameras to show nestlings for the past few seasons, fell over. We were glad that the eagles had not yet laid eggs for the year and that we were not working in the tree at the time! As many of our viewers have observed, the nest at Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge has experienced an odd sequence of events this year. Things began normally for this pair which laid early as they typically do. However, during incubation, the attending adult often appeared agitated and looked skyward from the nest, while protesting. At times both adults would take off from the nest tree and disappear. Unfortunately, from the angle of the nest cameras, we could not see all that was going on, but it appeared and was confirmed by local observers that another adult and a subadult eagle were regularly present in the nesting territory of the resident pair. It has been recorded in some instances that rogue eagles will arrive and try to take over an occupied territory. That might be what has happened here, but without careful study on the site, we cannot be certain.
Nevertheless, even though the resident adults sometimes covered their unattended eggs with grasses before departure, the parents were off the eggs for increasingly longer periods during times of threat by the invading eagles. While the eggs can take an hour or more of being unattended with resulting cooling and still survive, the adults were off too frequently and for too long for the eggs to still be viable today. Recently, the adults have begun once again to incubate the now dead eggs, stimulated by the presence of the white objects in the nest. We must be realistic, however, and barring a startlingly unexpected outcome, these eggs will not hatch.
In some areas, such as around Sooner Lake, surveys by our staff and volunteers have shown that a number of eagle nests are not occupied this year. Whether this is related to current drought conditions or something else we really do not know. Yet in other regions of the state, eagles are now laying eggs or are about to lay, and all appears to be normal. We are hoping to get one more nest camera online yet this year, and we will keep you informed of our progress. Thank you for your patience and understanding during this difficult nesting season.
10 January 2013: There have been some questions regarding the presence and absence of incubating adults on the nest at Sequoyah NWR. The adults this year sometimes spend a lot of time looking up, leaving the nest, and even vocally protesting—the cause of which we are unable to see on the nest cameras. Usually, this type of behavior is in response to other eagles in the area that cause the nesting pair to be alarmed.
The resident adults have been off the nest several times for 45 minutes to an hour or more daily, and there has been concern that the eggs are now dead. No one knows for sure unless we take the eggs and candle them (shine a special high intensity light device through each egg to evaluate movement of the embryo, while avoiding overwarming the eggs due to heat from the candling bulb). The fact is that the eggs can take considerable cooling, an hour or more, depending on how cold the ambient temperature is; however, were the situation reversed, and the eggs overheated, they would soon die.
The presence of the non-nest owning eagles are likely the cause of disturbance to the resident pair, but there can be other causes. The long term drought currently in effect can impact nesting Bald Eagles as well. If the adult male, whose job it is to catch prey and to feed the incubating female, is having a tough time catching enough prey due to drought-related, low water levels and lack of aquatic based prey, the female might be forced to leave the nest to hunt on her own. We will hope that is not the case, but only time will tell.
21 December 2012: The dead tree containing the nest near Sooner Lake fell over during high winds as a cold front moved through two nights ago (see photo, below). This is why that camera is no longer functioning. Fortunately, the nest contained no eggs or young, and that pair of eagles has alternate nest sites including the tower nest visible on the lower left camera view above. We are waiting to receive some replacement power supply parts for the close-up cameras on the tower nest. Once we receive those parts we plan to reactivate the close-up cameras on the tower nest.
13 December 2012: The first egg was laid in the Sequoyah NWR nest on December 9, and there are now two eggs present.
7 November 2012: Oklahoma's Bald Eagles are beginning to visit previous nest sites in preparation for another nesting season. While for most pairs it will still be one to three months before final nest sites are selected and eggs are laid, this is a time for the eagles to settle in to their territories and make repairs and additions to nests. They might be seen regularly on the nest cameras, or their presence may only be occasional during this time. We are and have been checking and replacing camera equipment in preparation for the upcoming nesting season, and we are also exploring some additional viewing opportunities.
The Sutton Avian Research Center is dedicated to finding cooperative conservation solutions
for birds and the natural world through science and education, and is a part of the Oklahoma Biological Survey at the University of Oklahoma.
Our Bald Eagle nest cam project provides an intimate view of wild Oklahoma Bald Eagle nests. Children and adults from Oklahoma and around the world can observe life in an eagle nest, and scientists can make observations that will help us better understand the life history of our national symbol.
Thank you to to our major eagle nest cam partners!
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