Main camera (above)
Camera 2 (below)
Welcome to the nest of a pair of bald eagles in Humboldt Bay, Arcata, California. Constructed on top of a douglas fir tree this nest has a well recorded breeding history going back to 2006. In 2013 breeding season two nest cameras were installed by Institute for Wildlife Studies who monitors a number of active nests in the area. Humboldt Bay Eagles nest is quite different from other nests such as Decorah IA or central Minnesota in this respect because the nest is monitored by multiple tilt-zoom cameras and relay information from different angles.
Bald eagles breed once a year and remain with one mate as long as they are alive and successful at breeding. you can learn more about bald eagles from Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
In late November they frequently visit the nest and do some nest maintenance called “nestoration” by the observation community. Here you can see the female’s one of the most recent visits to the nest to weed out the grass recorded on Nov 26th 2013. The female is about 25% to 30% larger than the male:
This nest is also unique in that the observing community also monitors activity of other animals besides the eagles. It turns out the nest is very actively used by the Northern Pacific Chorus frogs (Pseudacris regilla regilla) living in the tree. During the camera installation, the person in charge couldn’t finish the mounting process but the wires had already been run up the tree, so he left the camera laying in the nest. When he returned the next day to finish, there was a frog hiding in the mounting housing. As a canopy ecologist he knew right away that this was significant- the second highest known location for a Pacific Chorus Frog. With infrared lighting, observers are able to see the frogs at night and knowing there is no data about chorus frog behaviors at this “elevation” in trees, a citizen science project started. Frogs generally come out when the evening weather warms above a certain temperature. Here’s an edited sample of screen captures from night time frog observations:
In most birds parental care continues after fledging. Young birds learn how to hunt or forage and even avoid predators by hanging out around the nest or by even following their parents closely. Bald eagle parents continue to bring prey to the nest even after 6 weeks after their young learn how to fly: