With a Green Communities grant from the Rockwell Collins Corporation, the Edward L Rose Conservancy and volunteers from Rockwell Collins started a project to encourage raptor nesting in Susquehanna County, PA.
A survey of possible nesting trees was done and, with the tree recommendation from Craig Koppie, Regional Eagle Coordinator, Northeast Region, US Fish and Wildlife Service, a tall white pine was selected for the nest platform site.
Four (4) members of the volunteer team enrolled in a challenging tree climbing class offered by Cornell University in Ithaca New York. Two (2) full days of training included safety procedures, tree climbing gear, ascending and descending techniques, and practice in a large maple tree in Ithaca. The class was taught by Mark Holton who heads the Outdoor Education department at Cornell University.
The selected white pine tree had a suitable whirl of limbs at 60 ft above the ground. On October 21, 2018, Mark Holton and staff member Dan Goreyeva travelled to Susquehanna county with a van full of climbing gear and a rich history of tree climbing knowledge to work with the Green Communities volunteer team of Corrine O’Leary, Kyle Dollard, Geniya Gregorievna, and Tim Matthews. A great ground crew of Kelly and David Maguire, Scott Heckman, Russ Cole, Anthony Palombaro supported the work effort. Nature Photographer Teri Franzen, from Owego, NY, took pictures and video of the work in progress. Some of Teri’s pictures are posted with this article.
You can view Teri’s video at : https://vimeo.com/296410146
Thanks to all who offered their time and energy in support of the ambitious project.
The team successfully climbed the selected tree, evaluated the limb configuration and orientation, and started construction of a nesting platform. The rain and wind from a cold front moved in mid-day and halted the construction activity, but progress was made.
The short term goal is to construct an nesting platform that looks like a natural nest site to encourage a pair of bald eagles to occupy for breeding. If an eagle pair does move to the site, the Edward L Rose Conservancy long term goal is to enable successful breeding and to install a web camera to post live video on the Conservancy web site and encourage the community to follow the breeding cycle of the local eagle pair.
To complete the construction phase, cooperation between the weather, climbers and ground crew will be required. The plan is to have the nesting platform secured and looking like an appealing nest site to raise an eagle family before the winter of 2018.