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Eagle numbers down to 180 but birds putting on show at Lake CdA

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UPDATE:  Disregard the previous post about a record count of bald eagles at Lake Coeur d'Alene.  I got the numbers wrong.   Updated version below:

WILDLIFE WATCHING — Bald eagles were crowd pleasers at Lake Coeur d'Alene today, although the number of eagles counted in the Wolf Lodge Bay area has declined from last week.

Hundreds of spectators took advantage of Eagle Watch Week to see the baldies congregate to feast on spawning kokanee salmon.

But the number of eagles tallied in the weekly survey was  183, said Carrie Hugo, U.S. Bureau of Land Management wildlife biologist. 

 That's down from 260 bald eagles counted on Dec. 19. The count was 204 eagles counted on Dec. 13, 121 eagles on Dec. 5 and 100 eagles counted on Nov. 27 — during their annual spectacle.

A record 273 bald eagles was counted at Lake Coeur d'Alene on Dec. 29, 2011.

Nevertheless, it was a good day for viewing and watching the eagles fish.
 
"Lots of activity in Wolf Lodge and Beauty Bay," said Hugo, noting that she counted 140 adult bald eagles (white heads) and 43 imature eagles. "Lots of folks out viewing and photographing. It was a good day."
 
Eagle Watch Week runs through Sunday 10 a.m.-3 p.m., with eagle experts and spotting scopes available for visitors at the Mineral Ridge boat ramp and trailhead. Take I-90 east of Coeur d'Alene and take the Wolf Lodge exit.
 
The number of eagles could go up or down in in the coming days, but there will be plenty for spectators to enjoy.

Eagle Watch Week

Okay, so I've never made the CdA eagle watching pilgrimage. But honestly, how many of you have?

From Rich Landers Outdoors blog:  WILDLIFE WATCHING — Carlene Hardt heard about the huge numbers of bald eagles congregating at Lake Coeur d'Alene and finally made time on Sunday to go out and see for herself.

“I was NOT disappointed,” she said in an email. “I saw LOTS of bald eagles! I have been out there a few times in the past but this is the first time I had the opportunity to see one eating in a tree right behind me! The eagle sure did eat the fish fast!

 

Bald eagle drops in on viewer at Lake CdA

WILDLIFE WATCHING — Carlene Hardt heard about the huge numbers of bald eagles congregating at Lake Coeur d'Alene and finally made time on Sunday to go out and see for herself.

"I was NOT disappointed," she said in an email. "I saw LOTS of bald eagles! I have been out there a few times in the past but this is the first time I had the opportunity to see one eating in a tree right behind me! The eagle sure did eat the fish fast!

Indeed, the photo she made (above) is an eagle egg's view of an adult baldy finishing the last few bites of a spawning kokanee.

The annual Eagle Watch Week begins today with experts and spotting scopes available in the Wolf Lodge Bay area.
  

Eagle Watch Week Dec. 26-30 at Lake CdA

WILDLIFE WATCHING — A bounty of at least 260 bald eagles counted last week bodes well for the annual Eagle Watch Week, Dec. 26-30, along the eastern shores of Lake Coeur d’Alene.

The eagles are congregating for their annual winter feast of spawning kokanee in Wolf Lodge Bay.

BLM and Idaho Department of Fish and Game will have staffers at two interpretive — Mineral Ridge boat launch and Mineral Ridge Trailhead.

DIRECTIONS: Go east of Coeur d'Alene about 8 miles on Interstate 90. Take the Wolf Lodge Exit. Both of the staffed viewing areas are along Highway 97.

Eagle ambassadors will have high-power spotting scopes, mounted displays and interpretive materials available 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

In the case of bad weather, check for cancelations or updates by calling (208) 769-5048 after 9 a.m. each day. BLM will also post a message on the Coeur d’Alene Field Office webpage.

See this blog post for tips on CdA eagle viewing areas.

Bald eagle count up to 260 today at Lake CdA

WILDLIFE WATCHING — A total of 260 bald eagles were counted today (Dec. 19) in the Wolf Lodge Bay area of Lake Coeur d'Alene — up from 204 eagles counted on Dec. 13, 121 eagles counted on Dec. 5 and 100 eagles counted on Nov. 27 — during their annual congregation to feast on spawning kokanee.

A record 273 bald eagles was counted at Lake Coeur d'Alene on Dec. 29, 2011.

BLM wildlife biologist Carrie Hugo endured difficult conditions durring the weekly count today as she tallied 208 adults (white heads), 49 immature eagls and 3 unknown.

Said Hugo: "There was a lot of soaring today and it made for difficult counting.  I wish they would just be still for a couple of hours!  Just kidding.  It was also snowing pretty good at the end of the count in Beauty Bay which made for difficult counting.  

"But the high level of activity made for good viewing, very close up in some cases.  At the Mineral Ridge Trail head there were 3 in the cottonwood trees right next to the parking lot and the Mineral Ridge Boat Launch also had a several eagles perched nearby and soaring over the water.

The big county of eagles bodes well for the annual Eagle Watch Week, Dec. 26-30 along the eastern shores of Lake Coeur d’Alene.  BLM and Idaho Department of Fish and Game will have staffers at two interpretive — Mineral Ridge boat launch and Mineral Ridge Trailhead.  

DIRECTIONS: Go east of Coeur d'Alene about 8 miles on Interstate 90. Take the Wolf Lodge Exit. Both of the staffed viewing areas are along Highway 97.

Eagle ambassadors will have high-power spotting scopes, mounted displays and interpretive materials  available 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

In the case of bad weather, check for cancelations or updates by calling (208) 769-5048 after 9 a.m. each day. BLM will also post a message on the Coeur d’Alene Field Office webpage

See this blog post for tips on CdA eagle viewing areas.

Bald eagle count soars to 204 at Lake CdA

WILDLIFE WATCHING — A total of 204 bald eagles were counted today (Dec. 13) in the Wolf Lodge Bay area of Lake Coeur d'Alene, up from 121 eagles counted on Dec. 5 and 100 eagles counted on Nov. 27 during their annual congregation to feast on spawning kokanee.

Today's tally compares with 259 eagles surveyed during this same week in 2011, said BLM wildlife biologist Carrie Hugo. Last year's corresponding count had mushroomed with a surge of eagles arriving in the seven days after 136 eagles were counted in the first week of December, survey statistics show.

A record 273 bald eagles was counted at Lake Coeur d'Alene on Dec. 29, 2011.

Some eagles may be turning their attention to the big run of kokanee at Lake Pend Oreille that starting rebuilding the last two years at Granite Creek, Idaho Fish and Game biologists say.  At least 130 eagles were counted there last week.

Nevertheless, the show at Lake Coeur d'Alene's Wolf Lodge Bay, right off Interstate 90, is as good as ever, Hugo said.

"There were oodles of them in Beauty Bay and the viewing was great today," she said, noting that she counted 157 adults (white heads) and 47 juveniles. "Last year on Dec.16, I counted 215 adults and 44 juveniles."

See this blog post for tips on CdA eagle viewing areas.

Bald eagle numbers increase at Lake CdA

WILDLIFE WATCHING —  A total of 121 bald eagles were counted Tuesday in the Wolf Lodge Bay area of Lake Coeur d'Alene, up from 100 eagles counted on Nov. 27 during their annual congregation to feast on spawning kokanee.

BLM wildlife biologist Carrie Hugo said she counted 84 adults (white heads) and 37 juveniles this week.

She notes that 36 eagles were spotted on Mineral Ridge, with a lot of flying action around the boat launch around 1 p.m.

More eagles

Lake Coeur d' Alene doesn't have claim to the only eagle congregation in the region, although the Wolf Lodge Bay eagles are the most accessible for viewing.

Idaho Fish and Game Department hatchery workers collecting kokanee eggs on Lake Pend Oreille counted 129 bald eagles last week near Granite Creek, a 45-minute boat ride out of Bayview.

National symbols put on show for veterans at Lake CdA

WILDLIFE WATCHING — The bald eagles didn't disappoint the two boat cruises full of dedicated veterans and active military and their families out on Lake Coeur d'Alene on Saturday.

Continue reading for the story from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

Bald eagle numbers increasing at Lake CdA

WILDLIFE WATCHING — The big start the annual bald eagle gathering got at Lake Coeur d'Alene last week — reported in this detailed blog post — took a big leap in the past seven days, according to the weekly count conducted today by Carrie Hugo, U.S. Bureau of Land Management wildlife biologist.

Hugo counted 88 adult bald eagles and 12 juveniles for a total of 100 eagles, up from 64 counted last week.

That compares with 76 eagles (63 adults and 13 juveniles) counted on Nov. 27, 2011.
 
The eagles return to the Wolf Lodge Bay area of the lake each year from November into January to feast on spawning kokanee.
 
Hugo said she found only one eagle on Higgens Point," but there were 14 along the road between Boothe Park and Higgens Point," she said, noting that 19 eagles were along Mineral Ridge and 32 across the Lake on the south shoreline. Beauty Bay and Beauty Creek had 21.
 
A record 273 bald eagles was counted at Lake Coeur d'Alene on Dec. 29, 2011.

Divers enjoy CdA bald eagle attraction from down under

WILDLIFE WATCHING — Responding to my blog post and today's news story about the big start to the annual bald eagle congregation at Lake Coeur d'Alene, a member of Inland Northwest Divers said most visitors see only half the show.

Scuba divers love this annual event! We dive below the water to see the kokanee salmon below, so we see the action both above and below the water!

The photo above is one of several the divers have collected this year of the spawning kokanee that attract the eagles that attract thousands of visitors to the spectacle.  See  more photos on the group's Facebook  page.

Bald eagles show up for annual congregation at Lake CdA

WILDLIFE WATCHING —  Wildlife biologist Carrie Hugo counted 64 soggy bald eagles today in the Wolf Lodge Bay area of Lake Coeur d'Alene.

Bald eagles from around the region congregate in the bay in November through December to feast on the spawned out kokanee salmon.

For years, U.S. Bureau of Land Management biologists have conducted weekly surveys to monitor the eagle congregation. The BLM joins with Idaho Fish and Game and local birding expers to stages an Eagle Watch information fair at Wolf Lodge Bay each year during the Christmas holiday break, which tends to coincide with the peak numbers of eagles visiting the area.

Eagle watching cruise boat tours can be booked out of the Coeur d'Alene Resort, (208) 765-4000.

Top viewing areas are from Higgens Point as well as south from the Wolf Lodge Exit off I-90 on Highway 97 around to Beauty Bay.

Today's count was Hugo's first weekly survey of the season. She counted 58 adult bald eagles distinguished by their white  heads, and six juveniles. That compares with a total of 12 bald eagles (six adults and six juveniles) on Nov. 22, 2011.

A record 273 bald eagles was counted at Lake Coeur d'Alene on Dec. 29, 2011.

"Because the hordes of people are not out yet, there seemed to be a quite a few at Higgens Point — 16 in fact, which is more than usual these last few years," Hugo said this afternoon. "Visibility for juveniles on this rainy day was horrible so it is likely I missed quite a few of them." 

Wolves, eagles poisoned in Bob Marshall Wilderness

WILDLIFE — The deaths of four wolves and six eagles in the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area in Montana are being investigagted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in conjunction with the US Forest Service and Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. 

Although officials just announced the investigation, the wolves and eagles were found in the vicinity of the Big Prairie Ranger Station in early May.

Recent lab results have confirmed that the wolves and eagles died as a result of poisoning. 

The US Fish and Wildlife Service is offering a $2,500 reward for information that leads to the conviction of the person(s) responsible for the death of the wolves and eagles.

Contact: Rick Branzell, (406) 329-3000.

Bald eagles raising fluff-ball chicks under web cam

WILDLIFE WATCHING — A pair of bald eagles are back raising a brood for the world to see.

Three eggs have been hatched, and the real work has begun.

beautifully positioned web cam over a bald eagle nest at the Decorah Fish Hatchery in Iowa is catching the attention of millions of viewers. The web cam gained fame last year as people logged on to watch the chicks hatch, grow and fledge.

The site linked above has video clips of the eggs being layed by the female eagle as well as the hatching events. 

Also this year, the Raptor Reseach Project is tracking one of last year's eaglets fitted with a GPS device and offering online map updates.

Read on for more details and links.

AM: Tribe Allowed To Kill 2 Eagles

A bald eagle takes flight from a tree overlooking the Kootenai River near Bonners Ferry. Federal court records show the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has agreed to give an American Indian tribe in Wyoming a permit to kill two bald eagles this year for religious purposes. Story here. (2006 AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

Question: Do you agree with the decision to allow an American Indian tribe from Wyoming to kill 2 bald eagles for religious purposes?

Aerial eagle assault at CdA documented in photos

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WILDLIFE WATCHING — Bald eagles generally seem to be at peace with each other as they congregate each winter to feast on spawning kokanee at Lake Coeur d’Alene’s Wolf Lodge Bay. But for some unclear reason, a group of eagles ganged up on another adult eagle as shown in a series photos by Bob Griffith.

The Spokane wildlife photographer captured the images across the mouth of Beauty Bay from a quarter mile away on Dec. 19 — just before a record 273 bald eagles were counted at the lake by a BLM wildlife biologist.

“Several eagles ganged up on the one and forced it into the water,” Griffith said. “Then one or more buzzed the downed eagle as if to try to drown it.”

The victim eagle in the water faced each attacking eagle, raising its talons in defense, but taking a dunking in the process.

“It eventually paddled its way to shore but the attack didn’t stop," Griffith said. "I finally lost sight as it went back into the woods—on foot.”

Another record eagle count logged today at CdA Lake

WILDLIFE WATCHING — A record 273 bald eagles was counted today — Dec. 29 — at Lake Coeur d'Alene, making this the best year ever to take in the annual Eagle Watch Week activities.

Bald eagles are gathering in record numbers at in the Wolf Lodge Bay to feast on spawning kokanee.

Here's the information just received from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which conducts the weekly surveys.

The count is up from last week and the likely reason why is due to snow covering the trees during last Thursday’s count. Snow of course acts as camouflage for the adults especially. Today’s weather is ideal for counting! Carrie Hugo, wildlife biologist, noted that she counted over 35 eagles in the Blue Creek Bay area which is unusually high for that location. She thought it may be due to the windy conditions and that the bay offers some protection.

One important item for Eagle Watch: due to high winds yesterday, we were unable to have the spotting scopes, information pamphlets and the canopy tents up. Today, due to winds earlier we only held the Watch site at the Mineral Ridge Trailhead location. We just can’t risk the scopes or the display birds being blown over. We are watching tomorrow’s weather closely as it appears wind may again be a factor. We plan to have staff out but may not be able to have scopes or informational materials available.

Eagle Watch Week runs through Sunday.

 Drive east east from Coeur d’Alene on Interstate-90 and take Wolf Lodge Exit 22. Follow Highay 97 south a short way to exhibits and spotting scopes at the Mineral Ridge boat ramp. The volunteers will be on hand to offer information about the eagles from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. each day through next Sunday.

Cruise boat tours geared to eagle watching will launch daily this week from the Coeur d’Alene Resort this weekend. Book seats on resort’s website or call (208) 765-4000.

Bald eagle numbers may be peaking at CdA

WILDLIFE WATCHING — The number of bald eagles gathering at Lake Coeur d'Alene appears to have peaked or may be declining slightly after last week's record count of 259 birds in Wolf Lodge Bay.

In today's survey, a total of 237 bald eagles — 204 adults and 33 immature — were counted in the weekly survey by BLM wildlife biologist Carrie Hugo.  That's down slightly, but Hugo notes in the survey report that viewing conditions were fairly difficult because of the sun shining into her spotting scope and snow on the trees making it difficult to pick out the white heads of the adults.

The 2010 peak count — a record at that time — was 254 bald eagles surveyed on Dec. 23.

"As usual, lots of birds were seen on the south shore across from Higgens Point and many were on the west side of Beauty Bay," Hugo said. 

"Lots of Eagle Watchers out today as well.  The Mineral Ridge Trailhead parking lot was packed!  There are still many kokanee floundering around and there were plenty of opportunities to see eagles fishing on the wing today."

Eagle Watch Week runs Dec. 26-Jan. 1, with volunteers offering information and offering use of spotting scopes 10 a.m.-3 p.m. south of the Wolf Lodge exit 22 from Interstate 90.

It’s a record! Bald eagles mobbing Lake CdA

WILDLIFE WATCHING — Bald eagles are mobbing Lake Coeur d’Alene in record numbers this week.

On Thursday, U.S. Bureau of Land Management wildlife biologist Carrie Hugo returned from an eagle cruise boat tour and reported that eagles were "all over the place" compared to just the week before, when her weekly survey counted 136 bald eagles in Wolf Lodge Bay.

She confirmed her notion Friday with the fourth official survey of the season, tallying a record 259 eagles congregating to feast on spawning kokanee. That's an increase of 123 in just one week.

Friday’s congregation breaks the record of 254 eagles counted in the bay on Dec. 21, 2010.

The record previous to that was a mere 154 eagles in 2004.

Hugo counted 215 adults and 44 juveniles Friday, noting that most of the fish-loving birds were hanging out in the Beauty Bay area and the hillside just across the water from Higgens Point.

More eagles could be coming in, since the peak of the congregation traditionally has been just before Christmas.

BLM, Idaho Fish and Game and Audubon Society volunteers are organizing the annual Eagle Watch Week, Dec. 26-Jan. 1 (take I-90 Wolf Lodge Exit 22) with free exhibits to educate visitors about this confluence of propagation, death and survival.  Volunteers will be available

at the Mineral Ridge boat launch and trailhead parking areas, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. each day during Eagle Watch Week. 

Eagle cruises launching

Reservations are filling fast for cruise boat tours to view bald eagles at Wolf Lodge Bay.

Tours are set to launch from the Coeur d’Alene Resort this weekend, Dec. 24 and Dec 26-Jan. 1

Book seats on resort’s website or call (208) 765-4000.

Related news: 

Washington DNR considers removing bald eagles, pergrine falcons from state Forest Practices Board’s critical habitats list.

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources will hold public hearing regarding proposed changes to state Forest Practices Rules on Jan. 5 at 6 p.m. at the Southeast Region Office, 713 E Bowers in Ellensburg

One proposed rule will amend Forest Practices Board rules on threatened and endangered species to be consistent with other state laws. The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission already has removed the bald eagle from the state’s threatened and endangered species lists, following removal from the federal endangered species listing. DNR's proposed rule change would remove the bald eagle and the peregrine falcon from the Forest Practices Board’s critical habitats list.

Bald Eagles Mob Lake Coeur d’Alene

Bald eagles are mobbing Lake Coeur d’Alene in record numbers this week. On Thursday, U.S. Bureau of Land Management wildlife biologist Carrie Hugo returned from an eagle cruise boat tour and reported that eagles were “all over the place” compared to just the week before, when her weekly survey counted 136 bald eagles in Wolf Lodge Bay. She confirmed her notion today with the fourth official survey of the season, tallying a record 259 eagles congregating to feast on spawning kokanee. That's an increase of 123 in just one week. Friday’s congregation breaks the record of 254 eagles counted in the bay on Dec. 21, 2010/Rich Landers, SR Outdoors blog. More here.

Bald eagle numbers continue to soar at Lake CdA

BIRDWATCHING – The season’s third survey of bald eagles congregating at Lake Coeur d’Alene found another big jump in numbers from the previous week.

Today's survey found 112 adults (white heads) and 24 immature eagles (under 4 years old with dark heads) for a total of 136, said Carrie Hugo, U.S. Bureau of Land Management wildlife biologist.

About 80 eagles were counted at Wolf Lodge Bay last week.

Even more are expected before their numbers peak later this month to feed on spawning kokanee.

The annual Eagle Watch celebration, with displays, experts and spotting scopes, is set for Dec. 26-Jan. 1 in the Wolf Lodge Bay area south of I-90.

Stay tuned for details next week.

CdA bald eagle survey canceled this week

BIRDWATCHING — The weekly fall/winter survey of bald eagles congregating at Lake Coeur d'Alene has been cancelled this week as BLM staffers are in training meetings.

But the birds are there by the dozens, as you learned last week in this blog post followed by a more detailed account in my Thursday column.

A survey early next week should give us an update on whether the eagles continue to set a pace toward record numbers for their annual gathering to feast on spawning kokanee at Wolf Lodge Bay.

Eagles Return To Lake Coeur d’Alene

 A week can make a big difference in the numbers of bald eagles gathering for their annual feast of spawning kokanee at Lake Coeur d’Alene. On Tuesday, the season's second weekly eagle count at Wolf Lodge Bay tallied a whopping 76 bald eagles, said BLM wildlife bioloigst Carrie Hugo. That compares with 64 eagles counted on the same date last year. That's exciting news for birdwatchers, considering that 2010 was a record year for the migration, with a peak of 254 eagles counted in the bay during the BLM survey on Dec. 21. Tuesday's count indicated a big swing in eagle movements. The first survey of the season on Nov. 22 found only 12 bald eagles compared with 42 counted on the same day in 2010/Rich Landers, SR. More here.

Question: Did you view the eagles last year?

Bald eagles finally flocking to Lake CdA for annual feast

WILDLIFE WATCHING – A week can make a big difference in the numbers of bald eagles gathering for their annual feast of spawning kokanee at Lake Coeur d’Alene.

On Tuesday, the season's second weekly eagle count at Wolf Lodge Bay tallied a whopping 76 bald eagles, said BLM wildlife biologist Carrie Hugo. That compares with 64 eagles counted on the same date last year.

That's exciting news for birdwatchers, considering that 2010 was a record year for the migration, with a peak of 254 eagles counted in the bay during the BLM survey on Dec. 21. 

Tuesday's count indicated a big swing in eagle movements. The first survey of the season on Nov. 22 found only 12 bald eagles compared with 42 counted on the same day in 2010.

Top viewing areas are from Higgens Point as well as south from the Wolf Lodge Exit off I-90 on Highway 97 around to Beauty Bay.

  • Read more details tomorrow in my Thursday Outdoors column regarding eagles and how they might be be linked to the numbers of kokanee in the region's lakes.

Bald eagles taking their time getting to Lake CdA for annual gathering

WILDLIFE WATCHING – The annual gathering of bald eagles that feast on spawning kokanee at Lake Coeur d’Alene is getting off to a slow start.

The eagle count at Wolf Lodge Bay is down by 70 percent from last year at this time, said Carrie Hugo, U.S. Bureau of Land Management wildlife biologist.

Hugo made the first weekly survey of the season on Tuesday and counted only 12 bald eagles compared with 42 counted on the same day last year.

“It could be the storm we just had,” she said. “We’ll be out on the lake Saturday for the special eagle boat cruise for veterans, so we’ll see if the changing weather makes a difference.”

She also points out that 2010 was a record year for the migration: 254 eagles were counted in the bay during the BLM survey on Dec. 21.

The eagles traditionally start gathering in mid November, peaking in numbers during December before the birds start moving on as the fish spawning ends in January.

Lake CdA eagle cruise for veterans, military and families

WILDLIFE WATCHING  – Veterans and active military are being honored with a special eagle-watching cruise set for Nov. 26 on Lake Coeur d’Alene.

The free two-hour partyboat cruise to view the annual congregation of bald eagles is organized by the U.S  Bureau of Land Management and Idaho Fish and Game.

Participants are invited along with their immediate families must make reservations by calling (208) 769-5043. Seating is limited to 160.

Migrating eagles visit the Coeur d’Alene area in winter to take advantage of the kokanee spawning in Wolf Lodge Bay. 

The eagles already are starting to show up and numbers will build to a peak in December before the birds start moving on the spawning ends in January.

Last winter, a record 254 eagles were counted in the bay by BLM biologists on Dec. 21.

Woman charged for pawned eagle parts

A Spokane woman who police say pawned a staff containing bald eagle feathers and talons has been charged with a crime.

Kristina D. Booth faces up to a year in prison, five years probation and a $5,000 fine if convicted of knowingly selling any bald eagle part.

Booth is accused of selling the staff for $40 at the Double Eagle Pawn Shop in October 2009.

Agents with the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife were notified of a staff containing five bald eagle feathers and one eagle claw with four talons in February. They identifed Booth as the seller through store records.

Booth was in the Spokane County Jail on drug charges when agents approached her; she said the feathers were from a goose before admitting they were eagle feathers, according to court documents.

Booth has bee summoned to an arraignment U.S. District Court.

Fledgling ‘EagleCam’ star found dead

WILDLIFE WATCHING— One of the young eagles monitored on a popular Seattle-area EagleCam has died, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife reports.

The fledgling eagles were just learning how to fly when one was found dead near the nest tree Tuesday. There were no visible injuries to how the bird died.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife agents have taken the dead eagle and a necropsy is planned to determine the cause of death.

Wildlife officials say the surviving young eagle appears fine and has mastered basic flying 101. The young eagle may leave the nest soon or continue using it as a temporarily feeding and roosting site.

The EagleCam live video streams an eagle nest egg perched atop a 200-year-old Douglas Fir tree in Seattle.

Thousands of regular viewers have watched the eagles from when they hatched about four months ago to when they took their first flight just days ago.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's network of eagle cams has become an obsession to some eagle fans and an important way to educate the public and get the involved in efforts to protect the rebounding population.

Eagle cams: Eaglets branch out from nest, eager to fledge

WILDLIFE WATCHING — The three rapidly maturing bald eagle youngsters in a 4-foot-wide tree-top nest are testing their wings, clearly eager for the upcoming first flight, as the world can see under the excellent Decorah Fish Hatchery web-cam in Iowa.

As of this morning, people have logged on to view the spectacle more than 154 million times since the adult bald eagles nested in March and the eaglets hatched in early April!

Camera operators are able to pan the lens to show eaglets off the nest and using their wings to "branch out" from the nests.  It's literally any minute or any day now before they take their first flights.

Leaving the webcam running on the computer while doing other tasks has been educational during the growth period.  For instance, my wife and I witnessed how the nest stays relatively clean despite the three diaperless chicks.

Starting from soon after they hatched, the eaglets have the muscle tone to eliminate their waste in a powerful stream they instinctly direct up and out of the nest.  Amazing to watch from the webcam.  But look out below!

Meantime, closer to home, at least two eaglets hatched around Earth Day at a Lake Washington bald eagle nest (near Seattle).  They are a little more than two weeks  younger than the Iowa eaglets.The camera placement doesn't offer  the intimate view of the Decorah eagle cam, but it's an interesting perspective.

Bald eagles pound Columbia terns, boost salmon

 WILDLIFE — Harassed in recent weeks by bald eagles, the world’s largest Caspian tern colony for the past decade “collapsed entirely” last week with the last of some 5,000 nests plundered, according to a report in the Columbia Basin Bulletin.

The constant hunting pressure from the eagles scared terns off their nests so much they were unable to raise their young.

The lower Columbia River island’s double crested cormorant colony, which is also believed to be the world’s largest, has also been besieged this spring by bald eagles, peregrine falcons and great horned owls.

The research updates are posted on Bird Research Northwest’s web site:

The level of “disturbance” caused by the bald eagles is unprecedented, according to researchers who have been monitoring the island since the late 1990s.

The tern colony has grown significantly since it was first documented in 1984 taking advantage of unnatural islands created by dredging.

The terns soon became a new major consumer of salmon and steelhead smolts.

Eagle cam: Eaglets are beefing up


Webcam chat at Ustream

WILDLIFE — Less than two weeks old, three eaglets are starting to get big enough in their nest that the parents have a hard time settling down for a restful night.

Stay tuned along with about 4 million viewers EACH DAY watching as a bald eagle family flourishes in a northeast Iowa nest under the watchful eye of a web cam that's capturing the activity live at the Decorah Fish Hatchery.

Some drama darkened the nest last night. 

Viewers watching the web cam at midnight reported that an owl came close enough to rile the eagle parents, who did a good job of letting the owl know the nest was off limits.

One eagle cam fan captured about 5 minutes of the action and posted it on YouTube. The eagles are quite vocal, although there's a buzz in the audio.

The YouTube poster says you can fast-forward to about the 4:27 and 4:52 marks to hear the owl calling back

If you want a review, here are some highlight clips of the major developments:

First hatch 4/2/11.
24-hour collage
of first egg pip and hatch


Second hatch 4/3/11.
First glimpse
of second hatchling
  

Third hatch 4/6/11.
Close-ups
of the third hatch

Click here for a  tutorial on telling the difference between the male and female bald eagle adults, which share the duties of raising the young.