Eagle Reconnaissance

Last week Steve Uffman and I did our 64-mile bald eagle survey by boat in Terrebonne Parish. This was our fourth year. It was a beautiful, clear blue-sky day that started cold but warmed up quickly. We observed 25 adult eagles and got within a few hundred yards of 10 nests, of which at least 9 were active with an adult near by or sitting with chicks.  Seven of the nests had visible chicks.  The oldest nest I know of had no adult around it, but the nest looked like it had been repaired. One nest we have observed for the past three years was lost to the wind.  A storm must have broken the willow tree in half. We could see 8 more nests at a great distance in which we did not try to observe activity.

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Bald Eagle on nest

All but one new nest we have found are in black willow trees.  This tree is relatively short lived and can break in the wind much easier than a bald cypress.  The good news is the eagles are increasing and having to move away from the established territories in bald cypress swamps where birds are already established.  The bad news is they will have to rebuild nests, as the weaker trees will be lost more often.

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Spanish moss lights up at sunset

We also saw hundreds of hawks, flocks of white ibis and white pelicans among many other birds. Due to the previous day’s cold and wind, only two alligators and a few turtles were seen.  It was a fine boat ride preparing for the February 27 Eagle Expo in Morgan City, LA where I will be teaching a Photo Workshop on bald eagle Photography

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