Sunday, June 21, 2015 12:03 am CDT

63 degrees F     Clear     Wind Calm

Sunrise   5:25 am CDT     Sunset   9:04 pm CDT


After some heavy thunderstorms moved through last night, today turned into a beautiful sunny day.  

They were predicting the possibility of damaging winds but fortunately we did not get any of that.  It was very calm.  Just heavy rain.

Now to the thing that you want to really know about.

Our chick is doing well.

I really do not get to see him all that often.  For some reason this year they have spent most of their time about a quarter of the way around the lake.  I am usually able to find them with binoculars but not able to see much.  There have been a number of days where I ahve not even been able to spot them.

On those days I have to admit that my heart skips a beat wondering where they are and if the chick is still ok.

But he is doing well.

They were a little bit closer this way this afternoon so I could see them a little better.  I would guess that the chick is now about 6 to 8 inches long.  It is hard to believe how much he has grown.  But then  we have to remember that he will be three weeks old on Monday.  My how time flies.

I heard the loons calling so I went to check to see what was happening.  They were making the call that usually signals that an eagle is in the area.  And sure enough.  There were TWO eagles fishing in the area.  And the loons did not like it at all.

But fortunately the eagles did not target the loons or the chick.

In fact, when one of the loons swooped down and grabbed a fish out of the water and started to fly away with it, the other eagle went after him and tried to steal the fish.  They disappeared behind a tree so I didn't see who won that contest.

You will also be interested to know that the egg that did not hatch is now on its way out to the University of Connecticut for study.

The U of CT has been doing a study for the last several years trying to determine if there have been effects from the Gulf Oil Spill from a number of years ago.  So they will use 'our egg' to see if there are any petroleum components or dispersant chemicals in the egg.

If I hear any of the results, I will let you know.

When I brought the egg to Carrol Henderson, it was a good chance for us to catch up.  I have mentioned Carrol Henderson before.  He is in charge of all the non-game wildlife programs in Minnesota.

Carrol has been very supportive of the work that I have done with the LoonCam.  I turn to him often for advice and counsel.  There is very little that I do that at some point I have not talked it over with him.

But what most people do not realize is what a treasure Carrol Henderson has been to not only Minnesota but many other states as well.

He was the person responsible for the reintroduction of trumpeter swans to Minnesota.

He was telling me how he flew to Alaska and came back with 50 eggs for each of the next 3 years.

They did not know if they would be successful in establishing a breeding population in Minnesota.

In their dreams they hoped that at some point there might be 300 breeding swans.

The latest estimate is that there are probably 2500 breeding pairs of swans and a total of 10,000 swans in the state!   He said, "We sort of overshot our goal!"

He also told me a story about something that had happened in just the last few days.

There was a bald eagle that was killed in New York state on June 2nd.  It was hit by a car as it fed on a rabbit along the road.

When they recovered the eagle, they saw that it was banded.

By tracking the band, they found out that the eagle was originally from Minnesota.  And it was 38 years old!

And Carrol is the one that captured that eagle chick here in Minnesota and sent it out to New York.

At the time, New York had only one pair of one-producing eagles.

Carrol captured 4 eagle chicks and sent them out to New York to try to re-establish a breeding population there.  New York now has 350 breeding pairs of eagles!

It is the oldest eagle that has ever been documented.  And it started its life here in Minnesota!  Carrol said he was so surprised because an eagle 20 years old is considered a very old eagle.  He said he would never have guessed that it would last for 38 years.

And undoubtedly that Minnesota eagle helped New York to now have a breeding eagle population.

Through a 12 year period, Minnesota sent 55 eagle chicks to 5 different states to help them establish bald eagle populations.

At the time, bald eagles were almost facing extinction in the Lower 48.  Minnesota had 600 to 800 eagles at the time.

Now Minnesota has over 10,000 bald eagles, the most in the Lower 48 states.

I said to Carrol, "You sort of overshot your goal on that one, too!"

You can check out the eagle story in the Thursday, June 18th edition of the Minneapolis StarTribune.

What a privilege we have of being a part of and observing and learning about such wonders of nature.


Copyright 2015   Larry R Backlund