Remember the images of the nesting Eagles dutifully tending their nest and eggs covered over in the snow the past few weeks? It takes very dedicated parents to go thru an ordeal like that. Why the rush? Why start nesting so early before the weather has changed for the better, we wonder? Most other birds wait until April or later to arrive at their summer breeding grounds and start to build nests.
Turns out, there’s a very good reason. It’s all about rodent and other prey animal population control and giving the baby birds of prey an easier start in life. It takes a long time for large raptors to grow big enough to be independent and hunt on their own. An early start in the nest allows them the required time to grow and develop, while also insuring that when they are fledged and on their own, there will be a plentiful supply of prey animal babies emerging from their nests and running about at the same time to help make the raptors’ initial hunting forays a little easier and more successful.
The early bird gets the, ummm– baby mouse shall we say. Check out today’s BirdNote for more.