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Outdoors

James Drake

Ozzie and Harriett are raising their family.

Now, before you start thinking we’ve stepped back into some kind of time warp, I’m not talking about that antediluvian television show from a half century ago.

No, this Ozzie and Harriett I refer to now are in their prime and they even have two recent additions to the family.

Their home is more properly called a nest for Ozzie and Harriett are bald eagles.

The adult pair was given those names when they first moved to their new neighborhood near Fort Myers, Fla., in 2006 and started construction on the new quarters.

Eagles often return to the same nest year after year and Ozzie and Harriett are no exceptions. This particular one is 60 feet up in a slash pine tree and the real estate company that oversees that property installed a camera six feet above it to stream live video feeds 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

This is supposed to be one of the hottest videos now on the web with millions of views coming from nearly 100 different countries. Dick Pritchett Real Estate put up the camera to foster an appreciation, admiration and respect for our national symbol.

In the 2011-12 breeding season, Ozzie and Harriett successfully raised one chick as they did in 2010-11 and 2009-10. In the 2008-09 season, two chicks were successfully fledged.

This season, one egg was laid on Nov. 26 and a second on Nov. 29. They hatched Jan. 1 and Jan. 3.

I watched the streaming video last weekend and saw the mother (I think it was Harriett) tearing up a fish and feeding it to the babies. Both those little chicks had an obvious very hearty appetite.

To see the live video, go to www.dickpritchettrealestate.com and click on “Eagle cam.”

In Maryland, bald eagles are just beginning their nesting chores and the eggs won’t be laid for a few more weeks.

Eagles don’t like to be disturbed while on their nests so don’t approach too closely should you ever happen to discover an active eagle nest. If you want a good look at an eagle family, just check out the live streaming video from Fort Myers.

Maryland probably has over 500 nesting pairs of bald eagles right now with some in every county, but most of them are located around the Chesapeake Bay.

Tree goal is met

Last week, Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) made an announcement and it was good news for everyone.

You see, we had a goal of planting and registering 100,000 trees by 2013 through the Marylanders Plant Trees Program and the official tally as of Jan. 1 was actually 101,056 planted and registered trees all across our great state.

O’Malley launched this initiative in the spring of 2009 and it’s just so heartening to have accomplished such a wonderful objective that benefits so many.

A single large tree can eliminate 5,000 gallons of polluted runoff every single year and well-placed trees around your property can cut energy costs significantly. In addition to that, all living and even dead trees provide such very important wildlife habitat to a host of critters.

In addition to those 101,056 officially registered new trees planted in the past few years, our state planted another 1,000,000 trees on public lands through the Forest Brigade, which utilizes inmate labor in a partnership with the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, the State Highway Administration and our Department of Natural Resources.

Of course, nobody wants anybody to stop planting trees, so Maryland is sweetening the pot for people to continue to participate.

Go to www.trees.maryland.gov and find a $25 coupon you can easily print. You then take that coupon to a participating nursery and shop for a native tree with a retail value of $50 or more.

When they redeem the coupon, the state gives the nursery $20 and that money doesn’t come from your taxes but rather is from a settlement with a major power generator for Clean Air Act violations. The participating nursery generously absorbs another $5 giving customers the full $25 discount.

In Southern Maryland, approved nursery partners in this program are: Kelly’s Nursery in Dunkirk, Farm Valley Nursery in Huntingtown, Wentworth Nursery in Charlotte Hall, Prince Frederick and Mechanicsville, Longwood Nursery in Waldorf, Heaven’s Garden in La Plata and The Greenery in Hollywood.

You should also register your new tree at that website noted above, for Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources has a bunch of prizes to give out at random to people who register their trees this spring.

I’ll bet you’re almost ready to dig that hole right now.

No one is above the law

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents recently arrested a Winnsboro police officer and cited another Winnsboro police officer and a Franklin Parish Detention Center corrections officer for their alleged roles in illegal deer hunting.

This Barney Fife trio took a deer during illegal hunting hours, using artificial lights, plus they shot it from a moving vehicle.

The deer, a doe, was shot illegally inside an industrial park and the officer arrested was actually on duty when they did it and he even used his patrol vehicle to transport the deer inside the trunk. The other two were just his assistants.

According to The Outdoor Wire, malfeasance in office is a felony and can bring up to five years in jail and a $5,000 fine. The two collaborators face fines of up to $950 and 120 days in jail.

I’m also guessing they’ll all soon discover this wasn’t a great career move if they’re actually convicted.

zbasser@aol.com