Redecorating with Ashton and Lolita


The following story and photographs were sent to Jeanette in an email from a friend who is a volunteer with the Audubon Center for birds of Prey . Posted with permission, text and photos copyright Kathy Finnerty (more of her work can be found here and here), with the exception of the first paragraph, which is from the forwarded email from Lynda White.

This is a perfect example of what EagleWatch volunteers have observed over the years when it comes to nest building-“if Mama ain’t happy ain’t nobody happy”. For those of you who haven’t met this pair, they hooked up as subadults last year-hence the names.Kathy is the wonderful photographer who documented the events at the foster nest where the female eaglet from the Lake Okeechobee dike nest was placed. Thanks, Kathy. You made our day.

On my way to Ft. DeSoto before dawn this morning, I spotted Lolita in the nest tree.  Sooo, just as the sun was rising, I tried to get some images with my short, slow lens.  As I watched her sitting there, Ashton flew in with a branch.

A rather crooked branch – head’s up Lolita – you’re gonna get hooked!

Ashton’s on a mission – new material for the nest!!

Of course, Lolita MUST be right in the middle of things (that’s her on the left with her beak up Ashton’s butt).

Ashton is NOT happy with the back seat driver – he can handle a branch placement just fine by himself!

Hmmmm, let’s see maybe if it’s bent this way…    hmmm – who’s yanking on the other end?

Ashton lets Lolita know he’s in charge of the branch!

Maybe if it’s pushed down at this end…

… or it would work better on this side…

Lolita tells him it looks stupid over there and just won’t work…

She’s still yammering at him – and it’s drawing a crowd (see upper left of photo)  Lolita has her own idea of
what to do with the damnable branch!

Just relocate it OUT of the nest!  Ashton can’t believe his eyes!

Heads up hubby – this branch is outta here!

Lolita proceeds to circle around the duck pond with the branch in her talons – just circling and circling…

… til she’s left with about 10 percent of it, as the major portion drops into the duck pond…

… and flies back to the nest with the twig.  Get a gander at Ashton’s posture –  hmmm, NOT a happy eagle…

Well, at least he let her sit next to him – but the ‘discussion’ didn’t stop for a while.

Lolita then left the nest (I thought to bring back a ‘make-up’ branch for the nest).  Ashton, much to my surprise flew across the duck pond straight for my car!  He swerved and flew up and down the waterway scaring the bird poop outta all the waterfowl swimming below…

Full frame as he flew by my car window – maybe he was looking for the rest of that branch…  I can only guess…

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