WILDLIFE WATCHING — While millions of people a day are tuning in on a web cam featuring a growing bald eagle family in Iowa, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department's website allows viewers to click on any of 10 WildWatch Cams set up to view a variety of species.
Among them are bald eagles — that are just about ready to hatch — barn owls, burrowing owls, great blue herons, osprey, bluebirds, big brown bats and even a seal cam.
Read on for status reports on the WildWatchCams from Chuck Gibilisco, WDFW’s Watchable Wildlife specialist, who points out that 95 percent of the funding for these wildlife observation cameras comes from partners outside the state agency.
Bald Eagles should be hatching by next week if everything fits into the normal bald eagle incubation time range of from 31-45 days. The week of the April 18th would be the latest for our eagles.
Barn owls are feeding four young owlets and are ankle deep in owl pellets and other nest debris. All young look equally healthy and eager at feeding themselves as food arrives although the female is still assisting. Soon the adult may leave the nest-box and the young should continue to feed themselves. Food drops will be made by both parent birds.
Great blue herons should be egg laying soon on some nests and our pan/tilt/zoom camera should be able to focus on a nest or a few nests with incubating females. This camera is being used to study the herons and nest disturbance frequency in an urban area and near a nesting pair of bald eagles.
Burrowing owls — we know the female burrowing owl has laid 5 or more eggs as of April 11. We have a remote underground camera 2 at our owl burrow and will bring dated clips as soon as they are available. This will be some of the best images of underground nest of burrowing owls that has been captured to date. We hope to learn more about the nest behavior of burrowing owls in Washington with this remote solar power camera 2. Some longer length video clips may be released on YouTube. The underground images promise to be fascinating but will be in black and white with the nit -vision light.
Osprey — The pair have returned and are very busy with nest building. Egg laying should soon follow and the long wait through a cold and wet northwest April will follow.
Bluebird and martin cams should be coming on-line soon ( I have some annual leave coming up 19-29 and other things to do so not sure on the timing but both systems need repairs.)
The Sealcam has been tied up with the decommission of McNeill Island prison ( they have provided power)
Big brown bats should become more visible as the colony numbers build up toward approximately 200-300 bats. Our unusually cold and wet spring transition has kept the few bats present very hidden as they attempt to conserve calories and other bats will come to the site as temperatures rise and insect populations grow.