Monday, June 13, 2011

American Eagles and Loons

American Bald Eagle -  Once endangered in Wisconsin, in 1997 the American bald eagle was taken off the list.  Females usually lay two, 3 inch-long white eggs in late March or early April. Both adults incubate the eggs. Within a month or so, the first egg will hatch with a fluffy white chick. Adults then feed the chicks bits of fish and protect them from severe weather and predators, like great horned owls, raccoons, and ravens. Active nests have been found both in inland nesting areas and along the major rivers in Wisconsin: the Chippewa, Lower Wisconsin, Wolf, and Mississippi. Eagles usually build their nests in tall trees, often a live white pine, with large sticks as shell and softer material as the lining. On average, the nests are about 4 feet in diameter and 3 feet deep, compare that to your height and you'll see how large they really are! Sometimes an eagle pair may just "refurbish" an old nest with new materials instead of building a new one. Just like fixing up an old house instead of building a new one. (from Wisconsin DNR Website)

Also for the record this Eagle is using a man made nest, which the DNR maintains for them to use each year.

Common Loon -   Loons are fast in the water, but have trouble walking on land. They don't spend much time on land, except to nest. Their nests are made of weeds and grass and are usually located in grass along the lake shoreline. A loon may use the same nest year after year. Two olive-brown eggs are laid. Both male and female loons take turns sitting on the eggs. The eggs hatch in about one month. Soon after birth the chicks are in the water swimming with their parents. Swimming in the cold water is hard on the chicks, so from time to time they hitch a ride on their parent's back. This also protects them from predators like snapping turtles and muskies. (from Wisconsin DNR Website)

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