Q I drive by an eagle's nest on Hwy. 36 in Maplewood every weekday, and it seems as if two eagles are always around. Do the male eagles help with incubating the eggs?
A Yes, mature bald eagles make very good parents, and males do help out by sitting on the nest to keep eggs warm while the female takes a break. Female eagles handle about three-fourths of the incubation chores, however. Once the young hatch, which usually occurs in the first half of April in our area, both males and females work to keep their youngsters warm and well fed.Flew the coop?
Q Two all-white banded pigeons have showed up in my back yard. Are they escapees from somewhere?
A I searched the Internet for hints on what to do about banded pigeons, wondering whether they may belong to someone or be part of a research project. The owner of a banded bird can sometimes be traced through one of the national pigeon organizations, but after rest with food and water, homing pigeons may find their way home. There is information on reading bands and how to care for a lost racing pigeon at www.pigeon.org/carelostbird.htm.Lint for nests?
Q I've saved a large bag of dryer lint to put out for birds to help with their nests. Where should I put clumps of lint this spring so birds will find it?
A It's good that you're thinking about the nesting needs of your back-yard birds, and dryer lint used to be considered a good source of nesting material. But research indicates that this stuff retains moisture and thus can end up harming infant birds. So please toss that dryer lint, but do hang short lengths (6 inches or less) of string or yarn on the ends of tree and shrub branches in late April or May for birds to gather to line their nests. Clumps of pet fur from your cat or dog's brush are also good for nest-building.
St. Paul resident Val Cunningham, who leads bird hikes for the St. Paul Audubon Society and writes about nature for local, regional and national newspapers and magazines, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.