[Tweeters] Heron rookery on Bainbridge, part 2

stehub at pol.net stehub at pol.net
Tue Mar 24 09:59:56 PDT 2009







Part I: Last year we had a new
GBH
rookery
started in Taylor Creek (aka
Whiskey Creek) ravine on the
south
side of Eagle
Harbor. It was easily visible
from our house and
from Eagle
Harbor Drive. A
total of about 11 nests were
built and
breeding went well
until the young were
big enough to interest the
local
Bald Eagles. They
moved in and sat near the
nests while the
GBH adults
hollered and fluffed
themselves up, trying to look
tough.
Eventually the
eagles figured out
that the GBHs wouldn't fight them
and the eagles started plucking
the
young GBHs from the nest and taking
them
home for baby eagle food. The
rookery was decimated in a couple of
days and
abandoned. (The same thing
had
happened at a larger, older
rookery on the
north end of the island a
couple of years
ago, which
may be why we had GBHs
establishing a new
rookery here on the south
end). It was hard not to
anthropomorphise the
eagles as infanticidal
thugs. The cycle of life, etc,
etc... I also
theorized that the
GBHs might have moved in here because there
is an
osprey nest in the
ravine nearby,
and I've seen ospreys dive and drive
off
eagles from
perches in Eagle Harbor.
Maybe they thought the ospreys might
deter the
eagles? The ospreys did react
for the first few times the
eagles
cruised the rookery but when the nest-raiding
began they just sat
tight
on
their own nest (and their single chick survived to
fledge and
migrate out with
them).
Part II: I saw a GBH in the Douglas
firs
in
the ravine 3 days ago.
Today there is a pair sitting in the tree
with
the
old nests from last year.
They look to be checking it out.
If
they're
not from this neighborhood they
might not know the story
of last year, and
this could look like a great place
to raise their kids.
Ready-made nests;
what
could be wrong with that? More to
follow...
Stephen Hubbard
Bainbridge Island, WA
mailto:
stehub at pol.net

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