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Richmond bald eagles nest 2012
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 9:59 am    Post subject: Richmond bald eagles nest 2012  Reply with quote

Richmond Virginia bald eagles nest 2012

This nest had some problems, but both young survived.
The parents moved the following year to an island.
I have had no word on these 2 young, they were not banded.


Dave McRuer fed both Richmond chicks
PHOTO credit Richmond Times-Dispatch

April 16, 2012  Eagle Cam Community,
I wanted to take an opportunity to update you directly on what is going on with the Richmond pair and to reflect on the broader project and community that we have all been a part.  I apologize for not writing to you earlier but our focus has been on the welfare of the chicks and we have been working around the clock to insure their safety.

We have been monitoring activity at the nest during all daylight hours since Friday.  The adults have been in the area observing the chicks but did not enter the nest until this morning.  The female flew in to feed the chicks at 7:30 followed by the male that brought in 2 fish in succession.  We will continue to monitor the pair until we are convinced that the chicks are being cared for adequately.  We will provide you with regular updates on their progress.

From a management perspective, we have been following a single track aggressively while preparing 2 contingency plans.  Our first choice is always that chicks remain in this nest and be raised by their parents.  We worked to give the adults every possible opportunity to raise this brood.  On Friday and Saturday we took the unusual step to hydrate and feed the chicks by hand to give the adults more time to commit.  We have been prepared to continue this assistance for a reasonable period of time.  If the parents would not care for the brood, our first contingency was to foster the chicks to other parents on the James.  These are wild birds and our first choice would be to keep them this way.  Fostering chicks into other broods is a common management practice that has been used for decades.  In preparation for this, I flew on the upper James on Friday evening to identify nests with a single chick that were of the same age as this brood.  We selected 2 nests that could receive the chicks if necessary.  The second contingency would be to have the chicks raised in captivity and there is no better place for this option than the Wildlife Center of Virginia.  We are relieved that these contingencies do not appear to be necessary.

I wanted to express my thanks to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, the Wildlife Center of Virginia, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for our ongoing consultation on this pair.  All pitched in and provided all support possible.  I do not believe that enough of us recognize what a fine community of committed wildlife professionals we have here in our region.

The Richmond Eagle Cam was a project initiated by the Center for Conservation Biology at the College of William and Mary/The Virginia Commonwealth University, and the Richmond Times Dispatch.  Beyond the research component of this project, our sole objective was to educate and engage the public about a species within our own town.  The Center continues to be committed to that mission.  As a society, we protect what we know and cherish.  I have been fortunate enough to spend my entire life working with birds.  Often, observing  their ecology is like standing on the rim of the Grand Canyon.  It is a profound experience that is not easily described.  It was our hope that bringing this experience to the public would familiarize and educate people about this dramatic species and in doing so engender a concern for its welfare.

I am sad that this project has come to an end but I am greatly encouraged by the signs of life that it kindled.  Throughout this experience, I have been excited by the level of interest within Richmond and beyond.  It has been a clear message that a significant portion of our community cares deeply about the other species with which we share the James.  The excitement of school groups about this pair has been an unexpected joy.  These children hold the future of our natural world in their hands.  I want to thank all of the educators who have included this pair in their classes and who are the key to how future generations relate to the environment.

Lastly, I wanted to thank the property owner and Richmond neighborhood where this pair resides for sharing their pair with the broader community.  From talking to the neighbors I have come to realize that this pair is a priceless jewel for them.  I ask you to have the decency to respect their privacy as you would have others respect yours.

Sincerely, Bryan Watts
Center for Conservation Biology

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eagle parents return to feed their chicks
April 16, 2012
The two Richmond eagles that left their nest last week returned this morning and fed their two chicks.
“Both are back to a normal pattern, tending the chicks
,” said eagle expert Bryan Watts.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dr Dave McRuer, director of veterinary medicine at the Wildlife Center of Virginia, a wild-animal hospital in Waynesboro
April 16, 2012  WVC blog
A professional tree climber climbed up the nest tree, not  Dave.

Dr. Dave: Hello everyone!

On Friday afternoon, Dr. Brian Watts from the Center of Conservation Biology, called seeking advice on the health of the Richmond eaglets.
I was informed that the adults had not been to the nest in over 24 hours and Brian was considering removing the chicks and fostering them into other nests.
He asked if I was available to come to meet them and make sure the eaglets were doing OK.

Here was the plan for Friday April 13
While Dr. Watts was out flying looking for suitable nests, I prepared a med kit in order to give fluids and perform physical exams on the birds.
While I usually have a stocked med kit in the car, I didn't have enough fluids for both eaglets as I was working from home that day.
Luckily, my wife is an equine vet and was able to lend me some from her stocked vet truck!

Martha and I headed down to the nest and met CCB biologists Libby Moneka and Mike Wilson and tree climber Rus Barth.
While Rus was preparing to climb to remove the chicks, we all noted that the two adults were still in the area and obviously irritated by our presence.
We even noted that one of the adults made a low nest flyover with legs extended but refused to land.
Based on this new information, we all decided that permanently removing the eaglets from the nest was premature.
Instead, the eaglets were temporarily removed to assess their health and to feed and administer fluids.

Both birds were in relatively good condition. On Friday, both birds were mildly dehydrated based on the stings of mucous found in the mouth.
The smaller male eaglet (R2) was examined first and it was quiet, mild - moderated responsive attitude, and generally had a slumped posture.
It had some muscle over the keel but was relatively under-conditioned for a four week old bird.
When offered food, the male would not take fish from the tongs necessitating the food to be force fed directly into the crop.
The larger female (R1) was a different story. She was in great body condition, feisty, alert, and easily took as much food as I offered directly from the tongs.
No force feeding for that bird!

On Saturday, the female reacted the same way as the day before however, there was a major improvement in the smaller male (R2) .
The eaglet was more alert, inquisitive about its environment, and took fish from the tongs for the first several bites.
I did have to force feed most of the meal however, it was clear that the fluids and food from the day before had a positive impact

These birds were a little smaller and less developed than the ( 2011 NBG ) eaglets that were admitted to WCV last year.
According to biologist Dr. Brian Watts, the birds were not as developed as eaglets in other nests at this time of year.

Hydrating the chix
Because we were going to be feeding the eaglets after giving the fluids, we didn't want to put any fluids into the mouth.
The next best place to give fluids in birds is under the skin where is it absorbed into the blood vessels really quickly.
I used a small needle connected to a tube which was connected to my syringe filled with appropriate fluids.
I then delivered the fluids under the skin on the inner thighs where they made a a little pocket.
These fluids were absorbed from these pockets within the hour!

The birds were fed chopped chunks of shad (mud shad?) diligently prepared by CCB biologist and sushi master Mike Wilson.
And no, The fish was freshly filleted and kept on ice before the feeding. I didn't realize that our little feeding session was being filmed.
I accidentally said "cooked" instead of "cut" and you all got to see the blooper reel!
Just before the comment, Mike Wilson and I had been joking about how he's going to be a sushi chef for eagles Smile

I gave a fluid called Lactated Ringers Solution which is a fluid that is balanced (buffered) to be in the same state as the blood.
These fluids can easily travel throughout the blood vessels and then travel through cell membranes to get into all the needed cells of the body.
Some other kinds of fluids like to stay in the blood vessels where they affect blood pressure.
As these eaglets were healthy, the later fluid type was not needed.

Q  - How long were the eaglets out of the nest during the exam, feeding
On Friday night, I had to perform physical exams, give fluids, and feed the eaglets which took about 25 minutes to do both birds.
On Saturday, I only had to give fluids and food so the health exam took about 15 minutes for both.

Q - What spooked the parents to stay away so long?
That's a good question but I'm really not the best person to speculate on wild eagle behaviour.
I also don't have a complete picture on what was happening in the nest, with the parents, with the camera, with the neighborhood, with the weather conditions, etc.
I'll have to defer the "Why" questions to Dr. Brian Watts at the Center of Conservation Biology.
He's the expert on wild eagle behaviours, I'm just the medicine guy Smile

Q - What spooked the parents?  DrDave doesnt know - I'm just the medicine guy Smile
On Friday night, my wife Martha accompanied me to the nest site to hold the eaglets will I performed physical exams, administered fluids under the skin, and fed the eaglets.
On Saturday, friends and falconers Dr. and Mr. Eva and Andrew King joined me to perform the same task.

Q - Were the eaglets vocalizing?  
Dr. Dave: Oh yes!  These are wild eagles and certainly not used to being held, being poked, and being manipulated.
They were generally quiet when not being handled, preferring to lie down and blend in with the background.

It really was a great experience helping with the Richmond eaglets. Given all the possible outcomes, this really was the best ending possible.
The adults are back and feeding the chicks, CCB biologists will continue to monitor to make sure that the birds are acting in a normal manner,
and we've all got to learn from this family and be part of its development for a short time.
It is always rewarding working with colleagues in the wildlife field and collaborating on projects and responses to ensure that wildlife health is coordinated.
Despite the cam being taken away earlier than expected, I'd say this was a very successful project.

PHOTO credits
Wildlife Center of Virginia



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 6:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eagle parents Virginia and James return to feed chicks
April 17, 2012   RICHMOND, VA
Eagles Virginia and James have returned to their nest, and they are feeding their chicks with a frenzy.
After unexpectedly leaving the nest Friday, worrying scientists and legions of Richmond Eagle Cam fans, the birds flew back Monday morning with three fish.
"They seem to be back in their routine," said eagle expert Bryan Watts.

Watts had planned, if the parents did not return, to put the chicks in other eagle nests along the James.
The four birds had been the stars of the Eagle Cam, but workers took down the camera Saturday in case it was somehow spooking the birds. The Eagle Cam showed archived video Monday.

Virginia flew into the nest Monday about 7:30 a.m. and fed the chicks a fish that a Watts co-worker had left in the nest Saturday.
A short time later, James flew in with a fresh fish, flew back to the James River, caught another fish and dropped that in the nest.
Before long, he brought in a third.

They are making up for lost time!
Watts and other scientists would continue to watch the eagles closely until the chicks take wing around mid-June.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


Richmond Eaglets The First 18 Days 4-11-12  989razzle

Sunset snacktime  *  Richmond Eagle Cam video April 9, 2012  Monday

Cam image April 12, the Last Night of Camera.  It was removed April 14

Richmond eagles nest cam broke April 12

The adults haven't abandoned the nest, but have not feed their chicks since April 12th.
No one understands why.  Did someone frighten them?  We dont know.
Eagles may be urban but they are still wild birds.

There are reports of a trespasser on private property where the nest is.

Experts feed Richmond eagle chicks April 14, 2012 Saturday

Eagle parents bring in more fish for chicks April 17, 2012  Tuesday
The eagles seem to have settled into a normal feeding routine, as shown in this image, captured from video before the Richmond Eagle Cam was taken down.

It's feast time in Richmond eagle nest April 18, 2012  Wednesday
Eagle parents Virginia and James seem to be celebrating their return with a feast.
Both eagles brought in more fish Tuesday after bringing in fish Monday to end a 3 day absence from their nest. Their two chicks are gobbling up the sudden bounty.
"It seems like a lot of food coming in," said Bryan Watts.

Eagles continue to do well, daily watch called off April 19, 2012
The former Richmond Eagle Cam birds are doing so well that their human observers are stepping aside.
Scientists called off their daily nest watches, but they will still check on Virginia and James and their two chicks from time to time.

I have been blogging 3 nests, NBG, Decorah and Richmond
I split Richmond off to put here.
The NBG nest had no eggs in 2012 but what a wild history making year with male charming 3 females!

2012 Bald Eagle Nesting Season - never a dull moment!
I hate to split that up!  But I will break the 3 nests down, add Richmond here over time.  check back!  Smile

Epitaph for an Eagle
2011 NBG nest female killed, 3 chicks raised by WVC and released

NX, one of the 2011 NBG chicks on transmitter
She was hit by a car in Dec and is recovering at WVC, hoping for release soon

Eagles killed by man and man's stuff

Dr. Bryan Watts, CCB
Dr. Dave, Wildlife Center of Virginia

OK folks, I began this thread with the ending.  An odd way to do things I know!  Smile
Now following is the history from where I began watching them after Reese Lukei, CCB told the NBG blog Richmond egg had a pip, a hole!

HISTORY  *  March-April 2012

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 2:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


Ricmond Virginia eagles nest 2012

          Hatching is hard work!

March 16, 2012  

March 16, 2012 Richmond VA first eagle chick hatched - From Pip to Hatch, it tumbled out on its head, took awhile to get its big feet out.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


March 17-18, 2012  

R1 chick hours old Richmond eagle March 17
R1 chick 24 hours old Richmond eagle March 17


Decorah and Richmond eaglecams have eggs - and the Richmond chicks just hatched

R2 chick hatches Richmond eagle March 18 dawn

Female Richmond eagle brought a huge bloody fish to nest.  YUK.
its interesting to watch a chick hatch .. its hard work to hatch - the struggle to LIVE
It appeared the female nudged the chick R2 a few times after it was out of the shell.
Male brought another huge fish to nest

Left - dawn,  2 images right, 3pm  Male feeding both hatchlings.  The one who hatched today is the lower one.
He just cant keep his head up more than a few seconds.
I am amazed how AGGRESSIVE R1 is!  Both beating up on R2 and even trying to climb the side of the nest bowl.

Richmond Eagles Second Eaglet Hatches March 18-12 7:31am EDT

Hatching is hard work!  Richmond first eagle chick hatched Friday

Poop Shoot

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 2:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

March 22, 2012  
Chick R2 shot poo on R1's back.  They are growing and eating well.

Richmond Eaglets First 7 Days March 22, 2012

Richmond Eagle Nest

March 27, 2012  
Mod said there is a lack of food, R2 may not survive  Sad

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 2:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


March 29, 2012  
Richmond 29March 9 am
R2 chick has been pecked up pretty bad by chick R1
but new darker down grows in inside 3 weeks, so they should have new coats by Easter
Bottom right screen pic - see the nestlings ear behind its eye?  Smile

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