Notes from the Field (Summer 2012):

Date: June 11, 2012
Location: Ocean Shores, Washington.
In the Field: Dan Varland, Scott Ford, David Ness, and Glenn Johnson.
Comments: We captured an adult male Bald Eagle on the beach just north of Ocean Shores, Washington. Two days earlier we set up at the same location and captured an adult female.

We set up our net launcher 12 feet from the bait at dawn.
We set up our net launcher 12 feet from the bait at dawn.
Dan Varland photo.




We used a harbor seal pup as bait, the same carcass Dianna Moore and I found and used for the June 9th capture. Harbor seals typically have pups mid-May to mid-June. This time of year bald eagles fly the beaches searching for those that do not survive. We set up in the wrack line. Most carcasses get deposited there initially by the receding tide. We think this is where the eagles will focus their search for them.
Dan Varland photo.



Man in SUV with observation equipment
Scott Ford keeps watch over the trap site. Watch began at 5:15AM. At 6:25AM a juvenile eagle flew in to feed on the carcass. At 6:35AM an adult male eagle landed about 15 feet from the juvenile. He watched the younger bird feed for 10 minutes, and then walked in to feed. At 6:55AM Scott fired the net launcher for the capture
Dan Varland photo.



Scott Ford and David Ness with our eagle.
Scott Ford and David Ness with our eagle.
Dan Varland photo.



We gave our eagle color-band K/O.
We gave our eagle color-band K/O. Our project goal, to capture, sample and band five adult bald eagles, got "knocked out" today.
Dan Varland photo.



Joe DeLaCruz with our eagle.
Joe DeLaCruz with our eagle. Joe and his wife Annabelle, both Quinault Indians, happened by during the capture and banding process. They were thrilled to hold our eagle just before release.
Dan Varland photo.



Annabelle DeLaCruz.
Annabelle DeLaCruz.
Dan Varland photo.



Joe displayed his wood carving skill.
Joe displayed his wood carving skill.
Dan Varland photo.



carved paddle




carved eagle at the top of paddle.
Joe carved an eagle at the top of his paddle. Coastal tribes revere the eagle, which carries deep significance within their culture.
Dan Varland photo.



Date: June 9, 2012
Location: Ocean Shores, Washington.
In the Field: Dan Varland, Don Edgar, Dalene Edgar, Dave Murnen, Mark Wilhyde, and Carol Styner.
Comments: We captured an adult female Bald Eagle on the beach just north of Ocean Shores, Washington.


6:00AM. An immature Bald Eagle feeds while three others, two adults and a 4-year old, watch from 100 feet away. We did not fire, as our study goal is for "adults only". A dead harbor seal pup that washed up onto the beach served as bait.
Dalene Edgar photo.



An adult moves in to feed.
An adult moves in to feed.
Dalene Edgar photo.



adult eagle feeds
The adult eagle feeds while another stands nearby out of net range. I waited to fire until I was certain the eagle had moved to a safe position for net deployment.
Dalene Edgar photo.




6:31AM.
Dalene Edgar photo.




Dalene Edgar photo.




Dalene Edgar photo.



an eagle under the net
The first thing I do with an eagle under the net is to put a hand on its back. I push down firmly so the bird cannot swing legs and feet into action.
Dalene Edgar photo.



Don Edgar and I work to free our eagle from the net.
Don Edgar and I work to free our eagle from the net.
Dalene Edgar photo.



Don and our eagle.
Don and our eagle.
Dalene Edgar photo.




Dalene Edgar photo.



Left to right: Carole Styner, Dalene Edgar, Dave Murnen and Don Edgar.
Left to right: Carole Styner, Dalene Edgar, Dave Murnen and Don Edgar.
Dan Varland photo.



Don Edgar removes the boots from our eagle, which we color banded with U/O.
Don Edgar removes the boots from our eagle, which we color banded with U/O.
Dalene Edgar photo.



Carole Styner releases our eagle.
Carole Styner releases our eagle.
Dalene Edgar photo.



Date: June 4, 2012
Location: Tokeland, Washington.
In the Field: Dan Varland, Scott Ford, Glenn Johnson, Larry Warwick, David Ness, and Dora Madison.
Comments: We captured a Common Raven and two Turkey Vultures on the beach at Tokeland, Washington.

net launcher and the bait set
Larry Warwick and I arrived at 4:35AM. Less than an hour later we had the net launcher and the bait set. We baited with two salmon carcasses instead of the Stellar Sea Lion (at right with line passing over it) because high tides had pushed the Stellar close to the rocks; if we were to fire our net over the sea lion it would likely hang up on the rocks, allowing our target birds to slip away underneath. Also, we thought our target birds would prefer scavenging on fish from the freezer over the very stinky, very old sea lion carcass; the carcass landed on the coast at Tokeland going on five weeks earlier.
Dan Varland photo.



Large rock breakwater above beach
The view from our observation post. Our trap site was at the far end of the beach about 300 yards away.



David Ness (right) and Scott Ford on point at the observation post.
David Ness (right) and Scott Ford on point at the observation post.
Dan Varland photo.



Three Turkey Vultures
Three Turkey Vultures in feeding at our trap site. Sure enough, they preferred feeding on relatively fresh salmon over old sea lion. Since we had captured a number of Turkey Vultures over the past several weeks, we held off on firing the launcher. Our goal was to capture Bald Eagles or Common Ravens - one or two of each species.
Dan Varland photo.



a raven flew in and began feeding on the salmon bait
At 8:52 AM a raven flew in and began feeding on the salmon bait. At 8:53AM Scott Ford fired the launcher, capturing the raven and two Turkey Vultures that were also within range of the net. Here David Ness secures the vultures while Scott begins removing the raven from the net.
Dan Varland photo.



A hooded raven
I work with Scott to secure a hood to the raven's head. A hooded raven is a calm raven.
Dora Madison photo.



Local resident Dora Madison at the net launcher
Local resident Dora Madison at the net just after the birds were removed.
Dan Varland photo.



Larry Warwick with our raven.
Larry Warwick with our raven.



Securing a feather sample for contaminant and stable isotope analysis.
Securing a feather sample for contaminant and stable isotope analysis.
Dora Madison photo.



Measuring across the foot of a raven.  Footpad length, together weight, is used to determine the sex of a raven.
This measurement across the foot, footpad length, together weight, is used to determine the sex of a raven. This raven turned out to be male, given these measurements. Research by Bryan Bedrosian and colleagues has shown male footpad length averages 9% longer. Males average 16% heavier than females.
Dan Varland photo.



Weighing the raven.
Weighing the raven.
Dan Varland photo.



Leg bands on our raven.
Leg bands on our raven.
Dan Varland photo.



Glenn Johnson with our raven just before release.
Glenn Johnson with our raven just before release.
Dan Varland photo.



beak of a Turkey Vulture
Note the gray color in the beak of this Turkey Vulture. Both vultures we captured showed gray in the beak; this feature identifies them as one-year-old birds. Older vultures have ivory-colored beaks with no gray.
Dan Varland photo.



beak of a Turkey Vulture
Another view showing the gray in the beak.
Dan Varland photo.



Scott Ford talks with the neighbors about the research project.
Scott Ford talks with the neighbors about the research project.
Dan Varland photo.



Scott Ford with Turkey Vulture BC just before release.
Scott Ford with Turkey Vulture BC just before release.
Dan Varland photo.



Release of Turkey Vulture BC.
Release of Turkey Vulture BC.
Dan Varland photo.



Man approaching Turkey Vulture in someone's yard.





Glenn Johnson (right) and Larry Warwick with Turkey Vulture AH just before release. David Ness is seen showing off in the background.
Dan Varland photo.