Video Greeting from Kathy Michell and Peter Nye

Video Greeting From Kathy Michell
& Peter Nye >>

(Viewing Tips)

Kathy Michell: I’m Kathy Michell. I help Pete with the eagle work. I’ve been doing it since 1999. When we come out to trap one of my jobs is to get the area ready, which means trying to get the eagles to feed there. So I take dead deer out and put them out on the ice. And I keep putting them out every day for a couple of weeks until Pete is ready to come down and trap and then the birds are accustomed to feeding there. And then he comes down and sets up the net. And we sit, and we sit and we sit and wait.

Pete Nye: We hope some eagles will come down to our offering and give us the opportunity to select just the right eagle that we want. What we are usually after for these migration studies are un-banded adult bald eagles because those are the ones that we feel are migrants from Canada coming down into New York state to spend the winter. So those are the ones we want to select, not birds that are living in New York full time. We want birds that are migrants so we can put a satellite transmitter on and follow them as they journey north.

Kathy Michell: And If we’re lucky enough to catch one of those, as you’ve seen in some of the pictures of the birds with satellite transmitters, it’s me that gets to hold the birds, while Pete puts the transmitters on.

Pete Nye: I get to I fiddle with the feathers.

Kathy Michell: And I have to hold them.

Pete Nye: Hold them still, hold them just right. It's not an easy job, you get sore muscles with a half hour or more.

Kathy Michell: And take a close look at those beaks and the feet, the talons and those beaks.

Journey North: Any stories about those?

Kathy Michell: Nothing's happened to me, ask him.

Pete Nye: I’ve had a foot across my hand once or twice and it’s very difficult to extract. Once they lock down on you, it’s very tough. You need at least two people to help pry those things out. So you can't be too careful with their feet. And their bills are extremely sharp also. They can rip flesh in an instant. So you have to keep your distance, even though some of the pictures you may have seen we’re holding eagles, we're very aware that they could turn their heads and bite, so we’re careful about that.

Kathy Michell: I sometimes get them to bite through my coat and I get a big bruise. They can’t puncture through the coat but I end up with a nice bruise. But is fun to tell everybody that an eagle bit me.

Pete Nye: A badge of honor. But we typically put a hood on the birds after we capture them, and that calms them down quite a bit so then you can work with them and they're less stressed. That seems to do a good job. Before they're released then obviously the hood comes off, they're banded, and a radio transmitter is put on, and they're free to go.

Journaling and Discussion Questions

  • What did you learn from this interview about being a scientist?
  • What can you infer from the interview about physical and behavioral adaptations of bald eagles (characteristics that help them survive)?

National Science Education Standards
  • Many people choose science as a career and devote their entire lives to studying it. Many people derive great pleasure from doing science.
  • Each plant or animal has different structures that serve different functions in growth, survival, reproduction.