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Norfolk Botanical Garden Eagles • View topic - SatelliteTracking Project

Norfolk Botanical Garden Eagles

NESTI (Norfolk Eagle Support Team International)
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2009 5:48 pm 
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JVM wrote:
I am so troubled to read about this.

I made a donation to NBG this year because I was so impressed by how the eagle cam enabled people around the world to respectfully observe this eagle family in its natural habitat.

Now I read these wild birds will be disturbed not once but twice, and suited up with gizmos and gadgets -- all because they had the dumb luck to build their nest/be born in this part of the garden. Had I known these birds were not just being observed but also handled, banded and “backpacked” I never would have given my financial support toward the camera. What I thought was an undisturbed area devoted to conserving eagle habitat turns out to be an area in which to trap the birds and subject them to invasive and potentially quite risky procedures. I’m very sorry to be a part of it.


JVM,

It is unfortunate that you are displeased with the nature of this project, there are several things that should be kept in mind.

First, NBG is not an undisturbed area devoted to conserving eagle habitat. It is a public garden open to any and all visitors. During the nesting season, the area around the nest is cordoned off to limit disruption of the nesting pair...but that is the extent of the "habitat".

Second, projects such as this are exactly the kind or work that have enabled the Bald Eagle to be brought back from the brink of extinction. It is only by closely studying these beautiful creatures that we have been able to save them. If the tracking device presented any danger to these birds, they would not be allowed to continue this type of work. To claim that this is a "potentially risky procedure" pushes the envelope of reason - have you ANY evidence of harm coming to a bird because of a tracking device? Please think twice before casting aspersions and spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt.

Finally, to categorize NBG as a "trap" and to indirectly accuse the researchers and biologists of mistreating and putting these animals at unnecessary risk does a tremendous disservice to a large group of knowledgeable and dedicated individuals and organizations. These folks devote their time and efforts, in some cases their lives, to learning about these animals and have not only contributed to saving the Bald Eagle population, but ensuring that it continues to grow and thrive throughout the North American continent!

A hearty round of applause for all the people that are working hard every day to protect and preserve our nations wildlife!!!

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2009 7:56 pm 
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Well Wayne....I think we were Googleing about the same time...

I found this link to be useful as well...


http://www.learner.org/jnorth/tm/eagle/AboutSpring.html


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2009 7:58 pm 
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I think that this is great. Now just one question, does the back pack fall off the eagle at some point or is it on the eagle for life?

Jim

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2009 10:10 pm 
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I love these eagles so very much. I like everyone else have become completely attached to them. Got hooked last year watching "Poink". I am split right down the middle over this thing. Agree that it will be exciting to know where our baby ends up going to start his/her life. But I have to also agree that going up the tree twice is very disturbing and completely unnatural for these creatures. I couldn't sleep the night they went up and took last years baby. Is this thing strapped across it's little back going to interfere with his/her life? It absolutely has to interfere with it. I dunno, I'm just really having some turmoil with this thing.
:( :? :oops: :cry:


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2009 11:39 pm 
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Anniep2 wrote:
I love these eagles so very much. I like everyone else have become completely attached to them. Got hooked last year watching "Poink". I am split right down the middle over this thing. Agree that it will be exciting to know where our baby ends up going to start his/her life. But I have to also agree that going up the tree twice is very disturbing and completely unnatural for these creatures. I couldn't sleep the night they went up and took last years baby. Is this thing strapped across it's little back going to interfere with his/her life? It absolutely has to interfere with it. I dunno, I'm just really having some turmoil with this thing.
:( :? :oops: :cry:


Annie, don't lose sight of the fact that these are wild animals. As such, facing intruders/invaders/enemies whatever you want to call them is completely natural. Recall the sub-adult female and the Great Horned Owl last year that caused the loss of 4 eggs? These creatures do not get angry nor bear a grudge...they deal with a threat and move on as quickly as possible. Survival dictates that it be so. Fretting and worrying unnecessarily is strictly a human trait...and in this regard perhaps we humans would do well to follow the eagles lead???

Look at the links that were posted...they show satellite transmitters in use. The one Duane posted is the actual type of transmitter to be used by CCB on the NBG eaglet. They are fitted on their back and do NOT interfere with the birds ability to fly, hunt, eat and sleep. They are not permanent either. I hope you won't lose any sleep over this...

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2009 11:51 pm 
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Thanks Falcon. I know you're right (I forgot about the "owl incident"). I really do understand......I guess it's a combination of things.....when Poink came down he never went back up.......and I just don't like humans being the threat, although they so often are. I understand the research end of it, and admit that it would be too cool to know where he/she settles.
It's just the whole thing, how scared they'll be, how upset the parents will be etc etc. I just can't help it....I'm just a big ol wimp! :oops:


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2009 12:36 am 
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Our guys could not have said it better!! This discussion has been going on in one way or another on most of the forums concerning various nests. Everybody has to keep it in their minds that ALL the eagle cams are for research of some "eagle" kind and are not Disney, "in the wild" productions. The by product is all of the pleasure that all of us eagleholics get from watching the lives of and learning about these magnificent raptors! The biologists and researchers would never do anything to harm the eagles. And yes, those back pack transmittors do fall of eventually. Some of us have been following the trail of the female that fledged in the Tesoro Florida nest last year. It's been fascinating to see how far she went in her first "baby year" out there!!

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2009 5:13 am 
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I see concerns expressed how wearing a transmitter might impact an eagle's daily behavior. This article was sent to me several weeks ago by esky about an eagle named Patty recovering from West Nile Virus. She was released after recovery and tracked for 3 yrs, also. She was obviously able to hunt to feed herself and eventually mated to raise her own chicks. Here is just an excerpt, the article in entriety is http://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/200 ... e_vir.html

"Patty was outfitted with a satellite tracking device which allowed researchers to track her progress for three years. Every four hours, the satellite transmitted Patty's location to a computer. This satellite tracking system -- accurate to within two miles -- followed Patty wherever she traveled.

Patty also had a second telemetry transmitter attached. Staff used the satellite information to get her location to within a couple miles, then used the short-range tracking telemetry to find her and observe her activities.

"Her first two years, she resided in Escanaba," Gibson said. "She would roost in a large tree on a small island off the shore of Escanaba Bay. She got up early, very early in the morning and would fly to shore and I assume begin fishing."

One morning in early spring the 4-year-old eagle flew to the northwest to reside near Stephenson and Wilson in the western Upper Peninsula. By April 2005, she stopped moving.

"We were concerned that something had happened to her and sent out people to find what we thought was a body," Gibson said. "The search party found her in a nest about nine miles to the southwest of Wilson. She was not in full adult plumage and was easy to spot and follow."

What seemed like her inactivity was her incubating two eggs. The female does most of the daytime nest sitting and when she leaves to do some hygiene and exercise briefly she would not go far, Gibson added.

"Because the satellite was taking readings every four hours, even if she was off the nest for an hour a day we would not have picked it up unless it was at least four hours," Gibson said."

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2009 9:48 pm 
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I wanted to address the comment about taking last year's eaglet from the nest. The person seemed to think that he was removed from the nest because of the human interaction in the nest. But that's not what caused the problem that made the eaglet have to leave the nest. The eaglet was sick with avian pox and would not have survived if he hadn't been taken from the nest and sent to a rehab center where he is still being cared for.

From what I have seen, there are no long term negative consequences from human interaction. Plenty of other eaglets have been banded. The people involved care about the well-being of these eaglets and wouldn't do anything to harm them. And I am looking forward to seeing where one of our babies travels. When they start taking money to fund this project, they can count me in!

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2009 5:22 am 
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Chris7 wrote:
I wanted to address the comment about taking last year's eaglet from the nest. The person seemed to think that he was removed from the nest because of the human interaction in the nest. But that's not what caused the problem that made the eaglet have to leave the nest. The eaglet was sick with avian pox and would not have survived if he hadn't been taken from the nest and sent to a rehab center where he is still being cared for.

From what I have seen, there are no long term negative consequences from human interaction. Plenty of other eaglets have been banded. The people involved care about the well-being of these eaglets and wouldn't do anything to harm them. And I am looking forward to seeing where one of our babies travels. When they start taking money to fund this project, they can count me in!


Chris, that person was me. I watched last years eaglet from hatching on and still follow his progress at WCV. I know well what his problem was and still is, although perhaps my post did not indicate that. I just made reference to that because of the association. Still had a bad taste in my mouth that's all! He left and didn't come back. Obviously I'm thrilled that Buddy/Poink was saved even though he's unable to live in the wild like we'd all like. I fully understand what happened last year and this year. I was just concerned for the eaglets and their parents both yesterday and last year. A lot of people believe (through technology/higher education, etc) that animals just don't have emotions like fear, love, devotion, etc. I just don't believe that and therefore I was worried yesterday for all the birds involved. Although it would be interesting to know where the eagles end up, no one knows if the public will even be privy to such informtion. I just don't like humans butting in when it isn't absolutely necessary, as it clearly was last year. And yes, my feelings are based on emotion rather than on research, although I also understand that the purpose of the eagle cam is for research. I just love and care for these creatures, that's all. Perhaps to a fault. Can't help it, I'm just a big softie!


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2009 8:30 am 
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I have to say I also am divided about this too. The device looks awfully big & wish it was smaller (but these birds look small on camera until they are held by humans). I worry females may be hindered during mating, so would like to see on a male eagle. Yes I want to know where they go and I support all: WCV, VDGIF, and NBG too. We take for granted these birds survival until you observe the dangers and trials they have to endure. If this will help prevent US (humans) from being so stupid as to spray toxins like DDT indiscriminately, I'm all for it. Its a wonder animals don't rise up & swallow us whole for our audacity and temerity. As we learn, may we be objective and humble. Humans are not alone in this world!
As Red Skelton used to say, "Thank you and may God bless."

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2009 1:24 pm 
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I have to agree with the others that are split on this issue. I too believe that animals do feel emotions such as loss and stress, and that yesterday was hard for the adults and the babies. To go back up again to install a transmitter seems like a lot to put on these birds and the eaglet selected. What if the adults abandon the nest? Can the biologists say for sure that it won't happen? It just seems better to let nature take it's course. The Channel Island project in Catalina etc. uses the transmitter and tags. They are really large and look heavy on the birds. It tracks their movements for sure but sometimes it is almost better not to know what happens. There has been so much heart break when the babes don't make it, the transmitter stops working and they are found deceased. It seems a heavy, un-natural thing to place on an eaglet and I hope they change their minds about doing it. Are these our creatures to tag, install transmitters and do what we want to them?

Ok, just my $ .02 also..............just my opinion!


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2009 7:01 pm 
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Jamie wrote:
... I worry females may be hindered during mating, so would like to see on a male eagle...

Jamie, the device will fall off several years before the bird would reach breeding age. It will only be with the eagle for up to three years, well before it reaches adulthood. That said, I was told it would be going on #1...so you got your wish anyway LOL!

Jamie wrote:
...We take for granted these birds survival until you observe the dangers and trials they have to endure. If this will help prevent US (humans) from being so stupid as to spray toxins like DDT indiscriminately, I'm all for it. Its a wonder animals don't rise up & swallow us whole for our audacity and temerity. As we learn, may we be objective and humble. Humans are not alone in this world!

Couldn't have said it better, Jamie...well said!

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2009 10:39 am 
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It’s been interesting to read the variety of responses my comment here generated. As the saying goes, “if everyone is thinking alike, someone isn’t thinking.”

I just want to clarify that my opposition to the installation of the tracking device on one chick is due precisely to the fact Duane brings up: approximately 50% of eagles don’t survive the first year. If the project involved sparrows or grackles, I would not object – there are plenty of those. Eagles are a different matter. It doesn't seem right to add to the burden these chicks already face by disturbing them and their nest.

Any human interference in the wild, no matter how small or well-intentioned, involves some risk and some hubris. The pessimists among us will take this tracking experiment one way, the optimists another.

I’m relieved to see that the adults have returned to the nest. The photos posted from Wednesday were touching and revealed that everyone involved did a fine job handling the birds gently and respectfully.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 5:50 pm 
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We have transmitters on our falcons. One is on a female in Edmonton and it has really helped answer questions as to their migration etc.

Banding helps know where they are but the tracking device has given a lot of insight.
It has not hindered her in copulation or caring for her young.
there is also one on a falcon that left Rochester last year.

I love nature but these cams have been put where they are so biologists can study these raptors. In the process they have given us the privileged of learning along with them.

Our falcons were once almost extinct and without the same people who put on transmitters, they would have never come back to the point they have. they are still a protected species and should always remain that t way in my opinion.

So I think we all care for these eaglets and want no harm to come to them. But the biologists do not do things that are not well thought out.


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