Building a bird house

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Treerooster
 
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Building a bird house

Postby Treerooster » February 19th, 2012, 11:02 pm

Built another Bald Eagle nest last summer and one of the guys that was there just gave me these pics today.

I used to work as a volunteer with the Colo DOW banding Bald Eagle chicks and building some Osprey and Eagle nests. I don’t band anymore as the program has been over for a few years but when I got a call that they needed a nest built I was more than happy to oblige. Felt kinda good to be back in working with the eagles.

The old nest busted out and the DOW didn’t want the adults to build a new nest somewhere else as the area around it is rather populated. The Balds build their nest in Dec & Jan when few people are out and about. Then later in spring there could be interference with the nesting eagles as people activity grows. So we built a nest right where the old one was.

We use a wire basket tied to a tree and supported by the branches and some 2x4’s. You can see the broken old 2x4 still attached to the tree. Then many bundles of sticks are hauled up in and woven into the basket, and each other, in a circular fashion until a nest begins to form. The nests we build are really small compared ones the eagles build. However the big birds add sticks to the nest as part of their courtship every year and the nests soon grow pretty large.
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Bald eagle nests do not have a very deep bowl. This pic shows just how shallow they are.
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We put what I call “duff” in the center of the sticks. The “duff” is just bark and leaves and compost you find on a forest floor. It sort of cements the sticks together. The eagles will bring in grass to line the bottom. When it gets hot they bring in wet grass to help cool the little eaglets.
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Bald Eagles usually pick a very mature tree for their nest. They like to see a good ways and like a tree that is above most others around the nest. This nest was about 50 or 55 feet up in a big Cottonwood. This pic gives you an idea of the height.
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This is a nest built by the eagles over many years. You can see how large it has grown as they have added sticks to it every year. It about 6 feet from top to bottom! It was a real PITA to get into. :shock:
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Volunteering my time with the Colo DOW gave me back much more than I ever would have imagined. Experiences like the one below are ones I will never forget.

I am the 2nd one from the left…with the sun glasses…the ugly one. :D
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As far as this turkey thing......I know enough...to know enough...that I don't know enough

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Steve_In
 
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Re: Building a bird house

Postby Steve_In » February 20th, 2012, 9:31 am

That is cool. Those babies don't look so small. Where are the parents when you do the banding?
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charlie elk
 
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Re: Building a bird house

Postby charlie elk » February 20th, 2012, 12:06 pm

WOW, given the opportunity I would have volunteered for that duty, a great experience indeed!

I find myself wondering though if this makes for "welfare" eagles? :? Is it good practice for the long term health of the eagles? Perhaps it is no different than any other birdhouse we provide birds? Is this common practice in CO?

Eagles winter & nest here along the Mississippi, it is common to see flocks of bald eagles feeding in the fields & they fly past our windows, it is all very cool. But perhaps I take them for granted a little bit because I do wonder why they wouldn't refurbish their own nests. Eagles here not only take care of their nests they also defend them from other eagles.
later,
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Treerooster
 
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Re: Building a bird house

Postby Treerooster » February 21st, 2012, 8:22 am

Steve_In, the adults all act differently in some respect. Some will start to soar very high as we approach the nest. They continue soar or perch far away until we leave. Some hang around and fly quite close to the nest and me. I have had a few bluff an attack, but never had one actually come at me. One of the coolest sights I have ever seen is to watch a mature Bald Eagle fly by within 20 feet and just below me. I have also been within 6 feet of an adult in a tree before she finally flushed.


Charlie, it isn't eagle welfare at all. You can see how small the nest we build is compared to the ones the eagles build. They do plenty more nest building even in the first year if they take the nest I started.

As I tried to eluded to in my post, the reason to build a nest is to keep the adults nesting in a specific area. These nests that we build are in populated areas and if the eagles move too far they could eventually be disturbed by human activity. A good example would be a nest at Standley Lake Park in Westminster CO (which is just a suburb of Denver). The park is surrounded by developement and also is a popular recreation area. The park managers have a sort of refuge area where the eagles nest and they keep human activity out. When the eagles nest blew out one Dec we put one back up in the same grove a trees they were in. The park managers didn't want the eagles moving to another grove of trees that wasn't in the refuge area. Since recreation activity is low in Dec & Jan the eagles may have moved out of the protected area only to find high human activity in April when the weather warms.

I only have built nests in populated areas, never out in in country or wild areas.
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Dixie Belle
 
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Re: Building a bird house

Postby Dixie Belle » February 22nd, 2012, 11:43 pm

That is some great volunteer work treerooster. My youngest daughter is a Florida State Ranger, and part of her job is to monitor sea turtle nesting on the northern end of Amelia Island during the nesting season and she could not do without her volunteers. Keep up the great work!
Ted
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Fan Club
 
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Re: Building a bird house

Postby Fan Club » March 1st, 2012, 10:08 pm

Great pics TR, thanks so much for sharing.

Very cool adventure and worthwhile endeavor. I never would have seen this if you hadn't posted the link in the Mark Strand thread.
"The joy of living is his, who has the heart to demand it." Teddy Roosevelt

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dewey
 
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Re: Building a bird house

Postby dewey » March 11th, 2012, 12:03 am

Wow! What an awesome experience and thanks for sharing. What a great way to give back to the wildlife we all care about.

Dewey
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"Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat."--F. Scott Fitzgerald, American writer

       

ellour
 
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Re: Building a bird house

Postby ellour » June 19th, 2012, 5:22 pm

That looks quite nice but actually not the bird house I was hoping to see. Was kind of hoping to go with a wooden structure that would go with the whole paint job and all the similar things but I guess this would suffice for you.

I like the idea actually but for my own implementation, they never seem to like and appreciate the thought of me going with the usual stuff just like that.


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