Geese in the Eagle’s Nest

Last spring I hiked out to an eagle’s nest high on a cottonwood near the shore of a nearby lake.  The nest had been home to a pair of bald eagles for the past three years, but this year a pair of  Canada geese had taken up residence there.  I was pretty surprised, but apparently this is not unusual behavior for Canadian geese: they like these abandoned nests because they’re safe from coyotes and foxes.  But I just can’t see how the goslings can jump out of such a high nest and survive.    I came back periodically, and the geese were obviously on some eggs, but I missed the hatching and the leaps to the ground.   (If you’d like to see more about this behavior, you can watch an episode of Wild Kingdom about geese doing this in the Lee Metcalf Wildlife Preserve.)

Pileated woodpeckers are pretty rare on the east side of the Continental Divide in Montana.  I love their pterodactyl-ness.  This guy was right down the street on a Saturday morning, busily pecking away.  No one else in the neighborhood seemed to notice, which just amazed me.

Snowy owls showed up in Montana (and many other places) this past winter, and obligingly hung around long enough for hundreds of people to see and photograph them.  This one – a juvenile, I think – was near Polson, Montana.

Another prehistoric looking bird.     Once the sandhill cranes arrive, we know that spring has finally arrived.  And their rattling call is one of the few bird sounds that I can recognize for sure.    They do a darn cool mating dance, as well.

The mountain bluebird shows up in March, right when we really need a shot of blue to relieve the gray and brown and white or winter.  My favorite.

A pair of osprey have nested near our house for the past three years.

Once the white pelicans arrive, we know summer is going to come for sure.  Watching them soar silently over the Missouri River is magical.

A Swainson’s hawk in the Centennial Valley, another summer visitor.

This vermilion flycatcher doesn’t get anywhere near Montana, but he is so gorgeous I couldn’t leave him out.  This guy was along the San Pedro River in southern Arizona.

About westerner54

Hello. I'm Cindy, and I love to hike, bike and explore the outdoors - particularly the western U.S.
This entry was posted in Birding, Montana, Nature, Outdoors, Photography, Wildlife and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Geese in the Eagle’s Nest

  1. I think it was on one of our summer trips to Montana that I learned to love birds. I seemed to notice red-winged blackbirds first, and then came back to Texas and realized we have them all over the place, too! It was the eagles and osprey that really caught my eye, especially their nests. And I heard sandhill cranes before I actually saw them. Such a great post!

  2. Great pics. I never knew geese would fly that high to roost! That was very amazing!

  3. char says:

    These pictures are the coolest ever! I love that crane, and would love to see that cool mating dance.

  4. lylekrahn says:

    Geese in an eagle’s nest? That’s hilarious. Nice trip through the wildlife.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s