Hello Eagle Lovers!
Well, we think we have come to the end of the nesting season for this pair of birds. There does not appear to be much activity at the nest lately and it is likely there won't be any, any time soon. We are planning on taking this camera off-line until eagle activity begins again in the fall. In November or December, we should start seeing the eagles moving sticks around and preparing for egg laying in January, but hopefully they will not start laying until February or March of next year. We will turn the camera back on as soon as fall nesting activity begins.
DNR staff will still have direct access to view the camera after it is taken off-line. We will be watching intermittently, just in case something happens at the nest. If something does happen, for instance, an eagle or a red-tailed hawk or anyone nests there, we will turn the camera back on for you to watch!
So, tune in now to the peregrine cam! The female at this nest has been successful every year for the past 12 years, and she is sitting on four eggs! Peek in on them here: http://webcams.dnr.state.mn.us/falcon/ and sign up for updates to that nest at the bottom of the page.
Thank you so much for your support and interest in our cameras, this has been an amazingly fun journey to take with all of you!
Hi Eagle Lovers!
Since the breaking of the final egg, there has still been daily activity at the nest. For the first few days after the last egg broke, the pair seemed to be preparing the "nursery" for another round of eggs. They were moving sticks around, adding grasses and making it look nice. Then, after a few days, it seemed like we had a new pair of eagles at the nest. We were able to zoom in on a band that was clearly not the same band as we had seen on the previous bird. Almost every day since, between about 4 and 5 p.m., there is a pair of birds at the nest. They move sticks around, look around and preen (clean their feathers). Maybe they are just hanging around to protect their territory, but maybe they are thinking about laying eggs. Again, we just don't know what they are thinking! It has been so fun to watch and so educational to see what eagles do at their nest this time of year. We still have not been able to retreive any information on the band numbers we had gotten earlier. We will keep trying and will share if we get information.
We have an exciting announcement today! The peregrine falcon camera is live and up and running! You can watch them here: http://webcams.dnr.state.mn.us/falcon/. The camera at the peregrine box is not as high-quality as the eagle cam is, but we hope to upgrade it, if we raise enough funding through donations. You can read all about the peregrines on their page, but you should know that she is sitting on three eggs! She might lay more, but we are very certain there will be chicks by Memorial day! Enjoy!
Friday, April 5
Hello Eagle Lovers!
The third egg has finally broken. This morning at about 9:30, one of the parents came into the nest and stepped on the egg and it finally broke. Just like the first two, there did not appear to be much, if any, content. The parents have not completely abandoned what has been their post for the last 85 or more, days. Both parents have been seen at the nest today, even sitting where the egg once lay. We will keep the camera on, to observe the eagle's behavior now that the last egg is gone. Will they lay more eggs? Maybe. Is there time to incubate and raise young to fledging this year? Yes! We will have warm, snowless weather for plenty of days for the pair to start all over this year. We will just have to wait and see what they decide to do. This pair of birds has obviously surprised us with their nesting behavior before, and they just might do it again. Again, thank you for all of your kind words and for your donations to the fund. We still hope to install an osprey camera this year, if we raise enough funding. The peregrine camera that is already in a box in downtown St. Paul will go live next week! The pair of peregrines in the box have been displaying courtship behavior and "scraping" in the box. They do this to prepare for eggs. I will fill all of you in on this next week. Then, if you are interested in keeping up with them, please consider signing up for email updates for the new camera. If you have enjoyed this eagle camera, please consider donating. Your donation is doubled with a matching donation from the Critical Habitat License fund. So, your donation of $50 is really a donation of $100! How cool is that!? Have a great weekend, everyone!!
Friday, March 22
We have been having difficulties with the streaming of the live view. We have not turned the camera off. We hope to have the issue resolved today. We just wanted you to know we are aware of the problem and we are working on it! Happy Friday!
Monday, March 18
Hello Eagle Lovers
You have to admire the determination these two parents have. While it is sad to watch the eagles continuing to incubate this last, non-viable egg, we have to remember they do so only out of pure instinct. They have no doctors to do ultra-sounds to tell them there is not a beating heart inside that egg. Once they do leave this egg, they will not mourn as humans would, because there was never a living creature for them to get attached to. We humans, however, are saddened and disappointed that we will not be able to watch them care for the fuzzy chicks. We are very grateful for the window into their daily lives and have watched with fascination as they tend to the egg and each other during this process. Obviously, this winter was nothing like last winter, when this nest was productive early in the year.
We will be watching the peregrine falcons in their box atop a building in downtown St. Paul very soon. We have seen the adults visiting the box occasionally, and there might be eggs by the end of March. We hope to have the camera streaming live by then. Stay tuned!
We want to thank our viewers who have made donations to the fund for the camera. We will use these funds to pay for the streaming of this camera and hopefully, to purchase more wildlife cameras for your viewing and education. Our hope is to provide a camera view into the nest of ospreys this year! Without your donations, none of this would be possible. We, and everyone around the world watching thank you so very much!
Wednesday, March 6
One egg left. On Monday, we watched as the second egg cracked and crumbled. It appears as if it crumbled and disintegrated in much the same way the first egg did. Hopefully, the third egg will do the same, soon. Since we now know that there are not chicks, we hope the circumstances will allow this pair of birds to get on with being eagles.
As you have seen, the incubation process has been tedious and monotonous. We are pretty sure the adults have been frequently napping on the nest in the warm sunshine and that they are getting weary. They are strong birds and they are built for this process, but it would sure be nice if they could take shelter from the snow once in a while! They have proven that they can handle just about any weather and are certainly not starving or struggling physically at all.
So, will they re-nest this year, or will they wait until next year? If they do wait until next year, we hope they have learned their lesson and that they wait until March to lay their eggs!
Some fun facts about the camera visitors:
We have had more than 72,000 unique visitors to the site
We have an average of 15,000 visits per day during the week and around 11,500 on the weekends.
Visits from 96 countries around the world!
Friday, March 1
Hello eagle friends. It is very difficult to announce, but we need to inform you. The two remaining eagle eggs in this nest will very likely not hatch. It has been 50 days since we saw three eggs in the nest. This is two weeks past expected hatching time and we have lost optimism.
Eventually, the parent eagles will also figure out that the eggs are not viable. They have both invested a lot of time and energy into caring for these two eggs, even more than we all have. Because of this investment, and because they can’t count, the birds will sit on the eggs for a long time, waiting for them to hatch.
How long will they tend to them? We don’t know. Again, we are learning along with you and it will be interesting to see how long they will continue to incubate. It will also be interesting to see if these two birds will do the same thing next year, or if they will start over this year. We will just have to observe, but we are very confident that this nest will continue to be used by eagles, especially if we do not disturb the natural process.
Some good news is that we will soon be turning on the peregrine falcon cam! The peregrines are already back, hanging around in the St. Paul box and getting ready to start their courtship behavior. They will use the box for this purpose until sometime in March, when they will lay eggs. We will announce the activation of this camera very soon. Stay tuned!
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Two eggs remain. If you were watching yesterday, you probably noticed a crack in one of the eagle eggs, then later, some shell remnants. We suspect that when the egg cracked, the contents just seeped out. It is likely that the contents of the egg did not hold a developed embryo. After the liquid contents of the egg seeped out, the egg shell essentially disintegrated.
In the wild, there are many, many more eggs layed than will ever reach the hatching stage, let alone maturity. Predators, bad weather conditions and inexperienced parents all play a role in the developing eggs and the raising of young. Because of these known and expected threats, birds lay many more eggs than will ever become adult birds. We know that the population of most birds can sustain some nest failures, and bald eagles are no exception. We have the highest population of eagles in the lower 48 states, so incubating and raising young eagles in Minnesota is not impossible!
We are still learning a lot of valuable information from this pair of eagles. We did get the band of one of the birds read yesterday - thank you to all who sent that information in! As soon as we have data back from that band, we will share the history with all of you. We also have learned what a tremendous effort these birds put into incubating eggs and how difficult and calculated the whole process can be. And finally, we are learning about their feeding and sleeping habits, how the parents share responsibilities and resources and just how tough our eagles are!
Thank you all so much for your support and positive comments about the nest camera. These positive comments and all of the stories about how people are learning from and enjoying this camera, make this a very valuable tool This is a testimony about how your contributions to the Nongame Widllife checkoff are so very valuable and appreciated. Thank you!
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Well, it was a long, long weekend. The eagle pair has been diligently tending to and sitting on these eggs for at least 40 days now. While we haven't given up hope that one will hatch, we are becoming ever more humbled by our limited knowledge of these majestic creatures. Keep in mind that this is one of the first cameras ever placed in an eagle's nest. We are learning right along with all of you while we patiently watch. What the eagles will do, how long they will sit, when they will realize that their eggs are not fertile are all mysteries that we just cannot answer. This is the nature of observational research; watch, wait, record. This is also the value of this camera. We can observe without harming or disturbing the birds. The knowledge that we gain from this observation will help us make informed decisions about bald eagle management, research and protection. We just don't know how long the pair will tend to these eggs before they will abandon them. Will they kick them out of the nest? Will a predator come and eat the eggs? Will they just abandon and not come back? We just don't know, and again, we will not intervene.
What we also don't know much about, is this individual pair. One of them is sporting a silver band, which can tell us a lot about the bird. When the bird is standing, we will try to zoom in on the band to read the numbers. If we get the numbers, we will share all we know. Otherwise, we really don't have any way of identifying these birds. We don't know if they are the same ones that were at the nest last year or the year before, if they are the same two birds, how old they are, etc. On one hand, this is a fabulous indicator that the American Bald Eagle population has recovered. We don't need to, nor do we have the capacity to, band and recover blood samples from all of them anymore, and this is a positive sign of recovery! There are more of them than there ever have been and they do very well without human intervention now. Success!!
Many of you have requested more frequent updates and a forum for chatting. The Nongame Program has limited staff and we just don't have the resources to dedicate to someone responding full-time, every day, all day. We felt the value of sharing this camera with the public outweighs the need for constant dialogue. Hopefully, we can get to that point in the future, but for now, we will continue with updates as often as we are able.
Friday, February 15
Red squirrel for lunch today! The red spot you see in the nest is what is left of a red squirrel brought in for lunch today. Good hunting, Dad!
Questions have been pouring in about our eagles. They are being watched all over the world, in at least 90 countries! This is all very exciting and new for us.
Here's a little more information about incubation:
Before laying and incubating eggs, both male and female eagles form a "brood patch", located below their breast-bone. This patch of bare, exposed skin allows for their warm skin to become in direct contact with the eggs to keep them warm. When you see the birds nestling onto the eggs and grabbing sticks for leverage, they are repositioning the eggs so that they are all touching their warm skin underneath.
This is just one physiological adaptation their bodies go through during the breeding and incubation period. Another is bone density. The female eagle's bones change and adapt while her body is developing eggs. If these eggs do not hatch, it is unlikely this pair will start all over this year. Keep your fingers crossed!
Don't lose hope!!
Happy Valentines Day! When we first saw three eggs in the nest on January 10th, we all saw Valentines Day as the likely hatch day. Being cautious, we had to assume that the eggs could have been there a week, or more. It now appears as if incubation didn't start until the 10th of January, or so. We are still cautiously optimistic, but the reality is that incubating eggs in January can be tough on the developing eggs. Keep your fingers crossed!
I'm using an iPad or iPhone. Can I view the DNR EagleCam?
iPad and iPhone users can access the eagle camera by downloading an app that will access Flash Player. There are several apps, such as “Puffin” and “Peregrine” that are free or relatively inexpensive to use so you can watch the eagles on the go!
The eggs were laid early this year. Will they hatch?
We are watching the natural process of egg laying, incubation and nesting of wild Bald Eagles. Birds are almost as individual as humans and we can only guess what will happen from day to day. Also, we don’t know for sure when the eggs were laid, and when incubation began. Even though the camera was in place on December 28th, we didn’t have streaming video until January 10th, when we saw three eggs in the nest. So, we do know that it should be 34-36 days from then. That means the eggs should hatch this week. We have no way of knowing whether the eggs are viable. This is the earliest recorded date for eagle egg-laying in Minnesota and the eggs may have gotten cold during this time. If they are not viable, we will not intervene.
Are the adult eagles male or female?
The only visible physical difference between adult male and female American Bald eagles is their size. Females are about 1/3 larger than the males - the females have especially larger feet and beaks. Both parents incubate the eggs and switch several times a day. With this pair, the female appears to have a brighter, whiter head than the male.
The EagleCam is so cool! How can I help wildlife in Minnesota?
This eagle camera is brought to you by the Minnesota DNR's Nongame Wildlife Program, which helps over 700 species of Minnesota wildlife thrive. The program is largely supported by donations from people like you.