Monday, June 14, 2010

eagle chicks and Star Light

These photos are of me holding a 45 day old American Bald eagle chick, #92. It weighs about 3.3 kilos and is probably a male. The USFWS (Matt and Dave) came out and banded the two eagle chicks in the nest near my office today. Matt climbed the tree and lowered the chicks one at a time in a bag to the ground. Dave put his hat over the chick's head to calm it and took 10 ccs of blood from a wing for lab work for heavy metals and organochlorines (PCBs and dioxins). He measured the talons, the beak, and a specific feather midway down the wing to age and sex the bird and took 3 small feathers from the back to analyze for mercury contamination. He looked for parasites and infections and then banded their leg with a metal band. These guys seemed healthy. We have been watching the adults since early March and the chicks since about the end of April. The chicks will double in weight before fledging at 10-11 weeks old. Dave said that though the charts are designed for 60 day old chicks, they don't like to wait that long to band them, since the older they are, the more likely they are to jump out of the nest and glide to the ground before Matt can get them in the bag. I thought it was very cool to be able to hold this one. I am keeping my face away because just as Dave handed me the bird, he was telling the story of someone holding one like this and the beak coming around and snapping off part of the person's nose. Hmmm. They have serious beaks and talons, even at 6 weeks old. But it also had baby feathers, soft and downy.

The tree is located in an area of an old manufacturing facility that I worked on for many years providing state oversight for the extensive PCB clean-up at the site. To me, the eagle chicks seem like validation that contaminated sites can be re-born. I was very happy to spend a few minutes with this one. I am looking forward to seeing where he has chicks himself in a few years. It's being able to have days like today that keep me in my office doing this work.

The Star Light quilt top is complete. C helped me take the photo. It is big, about 99x99", whiter and brighter than I usually do, and of course, liberated in the style of the stars and letters. It took 2 full weeks to complete, working on it most days. I think that I'm happy with the quilt top, I do like the navy batik and white Kona muslin together. The bottom and left border are just plain white fabric, so I'll have to wait until after it is quilted to to see if I'm really happy with it or not. I haven't decided on the quilting style, or if I am going to hand quilt or machine quilt. I was thinking that I would wait until I practiced with the long arm and rent it to quilt this one, but I may do it by hand. I have a vacation coming up and I'm thinking that sitting on the deck of the ocean front house with my cold drink will be a very fun place to quilt.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful quilt - looking forward to seeing with the quilting too!