Bird Banding Spring 2014, Brings a Special New Arrival!!!

As you may know birds are a BIG part of our lives in this area.  The Alabama Gulf Coast is a critical stopover point as migratory birds return from Central and South America. The bird banding station opens before dawn each day and; operations usually cease between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., depending on the flow of birds.

Hummingbird up close

Bring a lawn chair, binoculars and inquisitive mind but leave the pets at home. No fee for observing the bird banding, but there is a small entrance fee for entering the Fort property.  We try to participate in the banding activities each year at least once in the Spring and Fall.   We have our share of Bird adventures here at Sunset Properties each season rescuing birds that just exhausted from their journey or flown into our office or the buildings we manage somehow.  This last season we had a Cardinal, a Thrush and a Humming bird in our office.

To get more information about the Spring Bird Banding events you can contact.  https://www.hummingbirdsplus.org

Admission to Fort is charged. Banding is FREE.

Apr 5, 2014

Soar
Soar

Other Dates: 4/6/2014, 4/7/2014, 4/8/2014, 4/9/2014, 4/10/2014, 4/11/2014, 4/12/2014, 4/13/2014

Fort Morgan
Fort Morgan, 51 State Highway 180 West, Gulf Shores, AL 36542

 

The Specials Arrival is a BALD EAGLE BABY!!!!  This baby is in Gulf State Park, although its exact location is kept secret for its protection.  The Park’s naturalist Kelly Reetz and her husband Roger Reetz provided some wonderful information about Bald Eagles for all you! I have seen its parents soaring through out the area.  It is a beautiful sight to see in our quiet area.

 Watch Duty
Watch Duty

 

Bald eagles may have numbered half a million in the U.S. prior to European settlers

The Bald Eagle is found only in North America, generally in coastal areas or near large inland lakes and rivers that have abundant fish and shores with large trees. Bald Eagles are usually seen soaring on flat wings, flying with strong, slow wing beats, or perching in trees adjacent to water. They are opportunistic feeders – scavengers at times, predators at others. When scavenging, they are often seen on the ground or on the bank of a river or other body of water. Sometimes they steal food from other raptors. When hunting, they swoop down to the

Feeding time
Feeding time

water or ground with feet thrust forward to snatch their prey. The undersides of eagle’s feet are rough, and keep the fish from slipping from the eagle’s grasp.

Eagles can fly up to 40 m.p.h. and can dive at speeds up to 100 m.p.h.

They can live 30 years or more in the wild.

Male bald eagles are smaller than females.  Same is true for most raptors.

Eagles mate for life and return to same nesting territory year after year. Each year, they add more material to the same nest making it larger.  The world record nest: 9 feet across, 20 feet deep, and weighed over 2000 pounds!

Baby Bald Eagle
Baby Bald Eagle

Incubation ~ 35 days and both the male and female incubate the eggs.

1 – 3 young are hatched and usually fledge (leave nest) after 10 – 12 weeks. They will stay around the parents to learn hunting, and flying skills.

Bald eagles develop the characteristic white head and tail feathers by 4 – 6 years of age.

When they are 2 – 4 years old, they are referred to as the “Dirty mechanic” phase because of the sporadic white feathers that don’t follow a set pattern.

Baby Close Up
Baby Close Up

Bald eagles had not nested in Alabama since 1949, so the Bald Eagle Restoration Project began in 1984.  As part of this project, 91 juvenile eagles were released between 1985-1991.  Since Eagles will nest in the area where they learn to fly, this project successfully reintroduced eagles to Alabama.  According to DCNR counts in 2006, Alabama had 77 nests confirmed statewide! Now, there are over 100 nests statewide (confident estimate). Winter count last year estimates between 700 to 1000 eagles wintering here!

On June 28, 2007 the Interior Department took the Bald Eagle off the endangered species list! However, they are still under protection from the “Migratory Bird Treaty Act” and the “Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act”.

Source: www.outdooralabama.com

Thank you Kelly and Roger Reetz and Alabama Gulf State Park for all of your help!

 

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