At one nest was the following: 1 coyote pup, 2 pheasant, 1 magpie, 1 crow. The next nest contained: 3 yellow-bellied marmots, 1 hoary marmot, 1 deer fawn, 1 short-eared owl, 1 chuckar, 1 pheasant, 1 raven, 1 snake, and another unidentified bird. The third nest contained: 2 coyote pups, 4 yellow-bellied marmots, 1 deer fawn, 1 chukar, 1 magpie, 1 rock dove, 1 snake.
The nest below had no above anchors and the rock below was of such poor quality that every time I tried to leave the ground I would end up pulling grapefruit size chunks of rock down. I ended up climbing in from the ledge on the left of this photo and tunneling through a very small constriction on the far left of the photo after tossing a large pile of rock that was blocking my way. Although the rope would have done very little to prevent me from hitting the ground if I was to fall I was more worried about the rock above collapsing as I crawled through.
|Here I am in one of the nests collecting prey remains. Its also known as picking up dead things and putting them in a bag.|
|Measuring the eagle before we carried him back to the nest.|
It was then carried back to the nest, but it decided it liked the outside world more and fledged for its second and final time later that day. The map below shows the movements of that bird since we fitted it with the GPS device.
|Courtesy of WA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife|
We also revisited the nest I placed a trail camera in earlier in the year. This was to retrieve the trail camera which hopefully had been shooting photos of mother and two young birds for the last month of their time in the nest.
|Here are the birds when I visited the nest for the second time.|
|A photo from the trail camera showing mother bird, the two chicks and a coyote pup. (WDFW Photo)|
|This is one of the last photos of the chicks in the nest. The next morning they were both gone. (WDFW Photo) |
All the nests I went to had several other nest nearby. Eagles will often build more than one nest in a given area or on a cliff. They tend to rotate from one nest to another over several years. The reason for this is not know for sure, but one theory is that parasites build up in the nest over several years and moving to other nests allows them to die off. We did visit several tree nests which I did not climb to. That was fun when I was a kid, now it looks downright scary. Luckily I was with another person who was more that willing to climb tree nests.
|Tree nest in Eastern Washington.|
|Ravens don't often let you get this close.|
|Closer still. I only shoot with a 200mm lens.|