Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Today's News Report Your Sightings How to Use Journey North Search Journey North

Bald Eagle Migration Update: February 11, 2004

Today's Report Includes:

Field Notes from Peter Nye

Juggling is one of Pete Nye’s talents. I’m not sure he juggles with balls but he does juggle jobs! As one of the top eagle biologists in the nation he is out in the field a lot with the eagles. This week he wrote to tell us that he has taken on the job of data technician, too, until a new one is hired. Besides field and office jobs he recently took the time for an interview published in the New York Times. We’ll share a bit about that later…For now, he sends his greeting and this week’s data.

Hi Kids,
Here’s the latest migration map and data from the eagles!

Link to Latest Data:

Try and make a summary of what this week's data and map shows us.


Trapping Eagles, Watching for Crows
To track an eagle you first have to catch him. Catching them requires patience and persistence. The process begins weeks before a net is cast, with some hard work by wildlife rehabilitator Kathy Michell. Kathy has worked with Pete Nye since 1999.
Kathy and Pete setting up in the dark

Long before it is time to trap them, these hungry raptors can find easy food thanks to Kathy. She lures them to the trapping site by supplying them with lots of free meals. She uses animal carcasses. Any road-killed animal she finds goes into the back of her pickup truck and is hauled out onto the ice at the trapping site. For weeks before the trapping date she visits with fresh carcasses daily! What is it like to set up, wait and watch what is going on at the trapping site? Read on to learn more:

You read that while they wait for eagles to arrive, “Crows arrive early in good numbers from their roost, and begin having breakfast on our deer—this is a good sign!”

Challenge Question #2:
“Why do you think it is a good sign for lots of crows to arrive early at their bait?”

(To respond to this question, please follow the instructions below.)

Peter Nye Talks about Eagle Nests
When you look at the migration map, remember that there are many, many more eagles than the handful of birds I am tracking! Biologists estimate that about 16,000 bald eagles winter (counted each January) in the lower 48 states. Some of these obviously stay in the lower 48 come spring, but the vast majority probably are migrating back into Canada to nest.

Of all birds in the world, Bald Eagles hold the record for the biggest nest ever built. One nest in Florida was 6.1 meters deep, 2.9 meters wide, and weighed 2,722 kg (almost 3 tons). Could a Bald Eagle nest this size fit in your classroom?

Reading Writing Connections: About Eagle Nests
Read more fascinating facts about Bald Eagle nests from the experts in the field:

Then, answer this:

Challenge Question #3:
“Why might eagles put greenery into their nests? Name as many reasons as you can think of.”

(To respond to this question, please follow the instructions below.)

Let's Visit an Eagle Nest
Unfortunately, you can only imagine what's going to happening in Nye's eagles' nests right now. It is too early for them to nest, and we can’t actually “see” what is going on. But you can take a peak into another eagle nest. We can visit a live "Eagle Cam" in Massachusetts. Try visiting them often to catch sight of the eagles that are actively using the nest site now on Barton Island in the Connecticut River.

Speaking of putting greenery into nests, look what we saw last week! These eagles are awful busy "moving around the furniture" of their nest. Look what they have done from January 29 to February 1 this year:

Jan. 29, 9:20
Jan. 30, 10:15
Jan. 30, 10:50
Feb. 1, 15:55

What changes do you see in the nest? List as many as you can.

High, High Tech: Discussion of Challenge Question #1
Last week we challenged you to do some calculations about the height of the polar-orbiting satellites that help us track our eagles. "How many miles above the earth do the polar-orbiting satellites travel?"
At Ferrisburgh Central School in Ferrisburgh, VT 3rd Graders Jennifer and Mary carefully calculated and shared their answer:

“We read that polar- orbiting satellites travel 833 km above the earth.
We had to look up how many kilometers were in a mile. One kilometer equals .62 miles. We took that number and multiplied .62 times 833 and got the answer 516.46. That means that the polar-orbiting satellites travel 516.46 miles above the earth. If we got in a car and traveled from Ferrisburgh 516 miles, we would be about in Washington DC! That would take us over 8.5 hours to get there!”

Good work! Thanks everyone - including Alex in Denver, CO, and Cameron in Crawford, CO.

Up, Up and Away: From Skyscrapers to Outer Space
How high is 517 miles high? How high are satellites, clouds, and the world's tallest trees and buildings? How high do jets, hot air balloons, migrating birds and butterflies fly? Study this table of heights and on the highest wall you can find make a model of the earth's atmosphere to scale.

How to Respond to Today's Challenge Questions:

IMPORTANT: Answer only ONE question in each e-mail message.

1. Address an e-mail message to:
2. In the Subject Line of your message write: Challenge Question #2 (or #3).
3. In the body of EACH message, answer ONE of the questions above.

The Next Bald Eagle Migration Update Will Be Posted on February 18, 2004.

Copyright 1997-2004 Journey North. All Rights Reserved.
Please send all questions, comments, and suggestions to
our feedback form
Annenberg Web SiteToday's News Fall's Journey South Report Your Sightings How to Use Journey North Search Journey North Journey North Home Page