May 9, 2011

Bald Eagles on Squam Lake

A pair of Bald Eagles is once again nesting on Squam Lake. The pair was confirmed back at the nest and have been observed tearing up prey and offering morsels to their unseen chicks. Bald Eagles first nested on Squam Lake in 2003. Their favored nest is in the top of a pine on Little Loon Island. New Hampshire has a growing population of nesting bald Eagles. In 2010, twenty two territorial pairs were monitored in the state. Fourteen of those pairs laid eggs and nine pairs hatched young. A total of seventeen chicks fledged from New Hampshire nests in 2010, including the two at Squam Lake.

Squam Lake Bald Eagle Nesting Success:
2003 -- 1 chick fledged
2004 -- 1 chick fledged
2005 -- 2 chicks fledged
2006 -- 2 chicks fledged
2007 -- Pair used alternate nest on Long Island, failed with eggs or small chicks
2008 -- 2 chicks fledged
2009 – 2 chicks fledged
2010 -- 2 chicks fledged

In 2010, photographer Rick Libbey obtained stunning photographs of both the adults at the Squam nest which allowed us to confirm the identityof both birds based on their uniquely num

bered leg bands. The male has a gold band on his left leg inscribed with W86 and a silver band on the right. He was banded as a chick in a nest at Quabbin Reservoir in Massachusetts on June 4, 1997. He was previously confirmed breeding at this nest on Squam in 2003, 2005, and 2008.

The female has been known to be banded (also with gold/left, silver/right) but until 2010 we have never been able to get more than "WA" from the band. One of Rick's images taken May 27, 2010 confirmed that the band on the female is WA8. This eagle was banded as a nestling on May 28, 1999 at Little Quabbin Island, Quabbin Reservoir, Massachusetts.

So now we know that our pair both came from nests on Quabbin. Based on the records of band sightings over the years it seems very certain that the same pair has nested together each year since 2003.


H Richards said...

On July 4 I saw three chicks perched on branches next to the nest.

Eve P-Z said...

Today, July 9, I saw two chicks in the nest and heard quite a cry elsewhere on the island. The two adults were around, one down low. Could the third chick have fallen out of the nest?

SLNSC said...

Late last week a kayaker from Rockywold-Deephaven Camps also reported an eagle chick on the ground. This is not unusual for a small nest with three chicks. It is good that the eaglet was squawking since that is how the parents will find it and keep feeding it until it fledges. This has been known to happen before at other nests. NH Audubon and many other eagle watchers will be keeping watch too.

Anonymous said...

Observed a juvenile bald eagle in Piper's Cove about 8:00pm on 7/15/11. It was carrying a dead seagull or other large white bird. It took its catch into a tall pine tree bordering the lake on Grapevine Cove road. It remained there in the tree eating its catch until after dark and appeared to roost there for the night.