I checked my mail at around 2:30 PM and found this alarming message. Mary Lou and I immediately drove out to the nest site, where we found Jill, watching the nest, which was intact. Umberto joined us. Everything is fine, and it is clear that incubation is underway, with date of first egg quite uncertain.
While we were there, a second adult flew over the nest and attacked a Turkey Vulture that had ventured tooo near. The two eagles called to each other, and we think that it was the incubating adult that stood up on the nest, briefly. It is possible (because of the limited visibility of the nest) , but doubtful, that the pair exchanged incubation duties. The second adult then settled down atop a melaleuca snag to the west of the nest.
To my eye, the adult on the roost looked like a female, since its posterior abdomen was quite bulky. Of course, it is is next to impossible to distinguish the sexes, but the presumed male that I photographed had some dark markings on the tail. This bird appears to have a fully white tail (photos below).
On 12/21/2010 1:49 PM, sara wrote:
Dear Ken Schneider,
my dad and I are here looking at the eagles nest in Pembroke Pines and it seems that someone has knocked down the nest and possibly the tree. So if you can, please send someone out here to double check. Please and thank you.
Sincerely, Sara .
We went out and found that the tree and the nest are OK. One of the eagles is now sitting on eggs and is so low in the nest as to be invisible most of the time. While we were there, a second eagle flew over and then attacked a Turkey Vulture that had flown too close to the nest. The two eagles called to each other and the one on the nest stood up briefly. The second eagle then roosted in the dead trees to the west of the nest tree.
The nest can now be very difficult to see, as the melaleuca trees in front of it have grown rapidly. If you park on the grass just to the side of the turning lane at the light, you may find a good spot, especially if you are tall.
We really appreciate that you alerted us to a possible problem. I will post photos on the Eagle Nest Forum later when I get a chance. A link to the Forum is below my signature.
Miramar, Florida & North Aurora, Illinois
"Openness to the natural world and our response to it lie at the core of what we do and why we do it." (Fr. Tom Pincelli)
"I am at peace with everything when I can feel, hear, smell and see the amazing wonders that nature can provide." (Ryan Beaulieu, 1987-2005) http://www.rosyfinch.com/RyanBeaulieu.html
I was at the nest area from 2:30 until 5. I sometimes saw the top of a white head on the nest, but not many times and not for long at all. If you don't look constantly (until your arms are about to fall off from holding the binocs) you could easily think that there is not a bird up there.
The eagle Ken described in the melaleuca tree stayed there and preened until 5 when all of a sudden the two eagles started communicating with each other. Right after that, one flew from the east (probably from the nest) and landed on a different dead tree. Then immediately, the one that had been there preening flew to the east (probably to the nest), but I could not see it in the nest, but that doesn't mean it wasn't there. Very exciting! I'm so glad I stayed. Pictures may follow depending on whether or not I got any decent ones. I did have my camera out when the changing of duties took place.
I believe that this is the bird with the small dark spots near the tips of both its right and left outer tail feathers. Your originals might provide better evidence, but I do see what looks like a dark feather shaft (narrow linear streak) on the left outer tail feather and a small brown area near the tip of the right outer tail feather. This was the same pattern I noted in my post on November 29 when I saw them mating.
I presumed it was the male because after it mated on the nest, it flew to the roost while its mate stayed on the nest. I saw this kind of behavior three years ago, when a pair copulated on the roof of a house across the lake from our home-- the male flew off a short ways while the female stayed in place.