Nesting season 2014 is about to begin. The cameras at both the Vian and Stillwater nests are up and running. Will the eagles choose to use those nests this year?
Previous story, from May 8, 2013:
A major milestone for the two chicks on the Stillwater nest: they've been fitted with satellite transmitters.
The experts at the Sutton Avian Research Center in Bartlesville fitted them with transmitters on May 7, 2013. They hope to use the transmitters to track the chicks for up to five years.
All four of eggs laid in the Stillwater nest hatched. The last chick hatched sometime before March 25th, but it died soon after, which wasn't unexpected.
Eagle chicks grow very rapidly, so the last chick to hatch had a serious disadvantage when it came to feeding time because it was almost a week younger than its oldest siblings. The third chick eventually died for the same reason. The two surviving chicks appear ready to take the next step to adulthood, which will be their first flights. They've lost all their down and are now growing their flight feathers.
The Stillwater nest is built on a steel pole made to look like an old tree. The same pair of adult bald eagles has used the pole for its nest site for years.
As far as the Vian nest is concerned, it continues to have unusual visitors. We've seen squirrels and ospreys spend time in it recently. Two young eagles have also stopped by separately.
The eagle pair that built the Vian nest laid two eggs in December, but then started spending more and more time off of it, so much so that the experts at the Sutton Avian Research Center believed the eggs died. The experts say the nesting pair was scared away by other adult bald eagles that had intruded into their territory.
One of the eagle eggs then disappeared, but during the week of February 3, 2013, a great horned owl started incubating the other one.
The owl then laid two eggs of her own, a common clutch for owls. On the night of February 13, 2013, the bald eagle egg and one of the owl eggs disappeared. Eventually the other owl egg disappeared, too. The Sutton experts say the owl pair continued to visit the nest, but eventually moved on.