Golden Eagle/Bald-faced Hornets

Robert J. Keiffer <rjkeiffer@...>

21 September 2010 - Here at the UC-Hopland Research & Extension Center,
yesterday two staff employees independently observed a Golden Eagle (common
residents at HREC) on the ground adjacent to a large Bald-faced Hornet's
paper nest that had been dislodged from 20 feet above in a madrone tree.
The independent sightings meant that the eagle was flushed from the site
once and returned shortly after to the dislodged nest thus showing active
interest in the nest. I checked the nest out this morning intending to
look it over closely to see if there was evidence that the eagle may have
dislodged it from the tree. However, the nest still had active hornets
exiting the nest, and I was not about to stick around very close (I have
never been stung by one but I here that Bald-faced Hornets pack quite a
"wallops" with their stings . and are fairly aggressive when their nest is
disturbed). The approx 14 inch diameter nest was pretty much intact on the
ground and did not appear to be torn apart. It looks like about a 4" by 12"
long portion of it is still hanging in the tree. At this point I am
assuming that the eagle dislodged it from the tree, as I have never before
seen a nest dislodged by any sort of animal . the nests are usually adhered
quite well to a cluster of small branches. However, that is only an
assumption. Good birding. Bob Keiffer

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