With the polar vortex still fresh on our minds, it almost seems silly to discuss nesting birds. But the nesting season begins in January for bald eagles and great horned owls.
On January 14, an egg was laid in an eagle nest on the campus of Berry College in Georgia (visit www.georgiawildlife.com/BerryEagleCam). And in Pittsburgh a pair of bald eagles put the finishing touches on a new nest just this week. The female will almost certainly lay her eggs before the end of the month. Monitor the Pittsburgh eagle nest at www.pixcontroller.com/eagles/.
Last year the Pittsburgh eagles caused quite a sensation among birders and non-birders alike. The nest is located less than five miles from downtown along the Monongahela River near Hays. As word of the nest spread, it was covered by television, radio and newspapers. Unfortunately the nest collapsed shortly after the young eagle fledged. This year the new nest is in a better location in a bigger tree.
As I watched the nest on Thursday morning, both parents were rearranging sticks in the nest as snow flurried. Heavy equipment could be heard in the background. Gone are the days of bald eagles being considered a species of remote wilderness.
Great horned owls are the other species that begins nesting in January. I've been hearing a pair singing to each other since before Christmas. The song is a series of five to seven "hoots," with the female's voice being a bit higher pitched.
In Oklahoma City, a pair of great horned owls has adopted a second story planter ledge as their nest site. The homeowners use the nest as part of the science curriculum for home schooling their daughter.
Last year the owls fledged two young. This year the first egg appeared on January 10; the second eggs arrived three days later. Monitor this nest at www.birdnote.org/nestcam/great-horned-owl-nestcam-oklahomacity. There's even a clip of the female laying the second egg.