December 31, 2019
It was a really dark morning with heavy cloud cover - I couldn't believe it has been 10 days since the solstice. It wasn't that cold at -2 but the wind, though light has swung around to the Northeast and was bitingly cold: a harbinger of the storm to come.
The early feeding was at 8:30 and the line of chickens went about half way down the slope. We had forty eagles and the action began within five minutes. Only three photographers present.
The 10:30 feeding was well attended by both onlookers and eagles, there being roughly 50 of the latter and 20 of the former. Good shows both sessions but the wind direction meant the feeding on the wing took place with the eagles flying away from the photographers, so less than ideal.
I was minded to have a single feeding tomorrow but have been bullied into two by photographers and eagle numbers. With some deference to party goers and those living in Metro I will do the feedings at 9:00 and 11:00. Take care travelling as road conditions may be icy if the temperature drops.
December 30, 2019
Two feedings were made today at 8:30 and 10:30. Conditions for both were similar at about -4 degrees with light winds from the north west. Partly cloudy skies provided good lighting condition for photographers.
We were lucky with the first feeding as flybys had started even before I left the field. One adult even swooped to take a small chicken while my back was turned. In all there were about 50 eagles and as my vehicle drove off the field it was all action with some excellent photo ops.
It was a similar story with the second feeding with slightly less numbers - I'd say about 40 eagles.
Between feedings I visited the site opposite the Baptist Church in Upper Canard and there were roughly 20 eagles there as well. My other siting in my travels today was a peregrine falcon perched on a telephone wire on Saxon Street near the airfield. This is only about a mile from the feeding site on Fred Thomas Road.
I've had a couple of days with good chicken stocks so I will do two feedings again tomorrow at 8:30 and 10:30. I will be extending the feeding line gradually to accustom the eagles to feeding down the sloping ground. Also, if stocks hold up I'd like to introduce a third feeding. Both these measures are in preparation for the Eagle Watch weekends at the end end of January and beginning of February.
December 29, 2019
It was another good display this morning at the sole feeding of 9:00 am. There were about a dozen cars parked along the road all carrying eager photographers. We had roughly 35 eagles today with a lot more ground activity.
It was warm at zero degrees with light westerly winds. Lighting conditions were good with a colourful horizon.
I am slowly building up my stock of chicken and will be adding two more barns come the New Year. My priority is to save chicken for multiple feedings at the weekend but at the same time I need to educate the eagles with regard to feeding times. With that in mind I will do two feedings tomorrow at 8:30 and 10:30. If the flow of chickens slacks I'll cut back to a single feeding during the week.
Watch this blog for details each day and if any of you want to request a feeding let me know in the comments section and I will try to oblige.
December 28, 2019
A warmer morning - plus 3 when I fed them at 9:00. The was a slight breeze and conditions were overcast. For the first time this year I had some larger chickens which will force the eagles to the ground to feed. While I was there they continued mostly an aerial display although a couple of birds were on the ground before I left to pursue more chicken.
The count today was 45 eagles with a good mix of adult and immature birds. We had nine spectators/photographers. Apart from crows and ravens no other species were spotted. There are reports of red tailed hawks in the area.
Having spoken to a couple of my farmer contacts I can report that mortality rates in the chicken barns appear to be down this year, which may partly explain the fact that I have fewer chickens even though I have more barns on which to draw. The other factor is the growing cycle. There is a two week period when the barns are empty and I have at least two empty barns at present.
As a result I will be feeding only once tomorrow at 9:00 am.
December 27, 2019
The single feeding took place at just before 9:00 am this morning. Again it was cold at -10 but thankfully there was no wind.
The number of birds continues to grow with an estimated forty on site today. The aerial display was quite good but there was little on-ground action as the few chickens I have are only small to medium.
As supplies continue tight there will only be a single 9:00 am feeding tomorrow.
December 26, 2019
Boxing Day and the first photographers have appeared on site. There were five for the first feeding at 8:40 and four for the second at 10:35.
It was cold this morning at -9. Though there were only six or so birds roosting in the tree at the start the numbers swelled to 30 quickly. The conditions for photography were sun with partial cloud.
It had warmed up slightly for the second feeding and the thirty or so eagles remained. We had a similar number of crows and ravens.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE WILL BE ONLY ONE FEEDING TOMORROW AT ABOUT 9:00 AS I AM VERY LOW ON STOCKS.
December 25, 2019
The Christmas morning feed commenced at 8:25.
December 24th, 2019
Hi everyone, and Merry Christmas!
The eagle feeding got a head start today with two feedings. The first feeding was at 8:45. There were no eagles at the site and no other birds observed. I put out two buckets of small birds and one of medium sized birds. It was mild at +1 and the winds were from the west, light to moderate gusting to strong. Virtually all of the snow is gone with only trace amounts left on the field.
I checked back at 9:30 and there was quite a change. There were a dozen or more crows and one or two ravens feeding at the site and five adult eagles feeding sporadically.
The second feeding was at 10:35. There were six eagles in the trees or in the air, the five adults having been joined by one juvenile. The wind had picked up to a steady strong breeze, still from the west. The number of crows was up to about 20.
All the food from the first feeding was gone. I put out two more buckets of mixed small and medium birds. The eagles did not feed immediately.
We're under way and at ;east some eagles have rediscovered the site.
December 09th, 2019
Hi all and welcome back!
It's welcome back to the eagles as well as I have received reports of upward of 20 eagles feeding nearby. These would likely not include any of our annual migrants.
The behind the scenes work is progressing nicely. The official Eagle Watch weekends are early this year: January 25th and 26th and February 1st and 2nd. I expect feeding to commence on Boxing Day.
The weather has been cold but as yet no snow has lasted more than a couple of days. It is supposed to be warmer and rainy this week - not what we want. Let's hope that we don't have a repeat of last year's icy conditions.
Once I get started feeding I will post reports on the conditions, feeding times, number of birds and any other useful information. The target feeding times this year are 8:30 am and 10:30 am with the possibility of a 12:30 feeding subject to availability and demand.
Last year was a nightmare for traffic during the two weekends. We are working to alleviate that problem, so watch this space for further information.
Malcolm lives in Sheffield Mills and is our resident eagle feeder. He feeds the eagles daily and has a unique relationship with these large birds. These are his adventures!