EagleCam: Updates

UPDATE April 14, 2016 
It was a fantastic day at the nest yesterday! We banded the infamous eagle cam eaglets successfully and without incident. We are thrilled to report that all three chicks are healthy and thriving.  The parents seem to have this chick-rearing thing all figured out now and there have been no injuries to the eaglets. Here are some facts about the banding yesterday:
•    The chicks were measured and were fitted with light-weight silver U.S. Wildlife Service bands that will help identify them throughout their lives.
•    The sex of the chicks was determined to be one male and two females.
•    Their weight estimate is between 8 and 9 pounds.
•    Chicks are banded at this age because they are old enough for the band to fit their growing legs, but are too young to jump out of the nest when approached.
•    The chicks were not harmed and the parents will not abandon them, they have invested too much time at this stage to leave their chicks and are not bothered by human scent. If there was even a small chance of abandonment, we would NOT attempt banding.
•    While banding was taking place, the parents were busy defending the nest, keeping other birds and eagles away, and closely watching.
•    The female eagle has been wearing a band for more than five years and is estimated to be about 9 years old.
•    A private bander, Mark Martell, and staff from DNR Nongame Wildlife Program did the banding.
•    The chicks will leave the nest or “fledge” sometime in mid to late June.
•    Xcel Energy provided the bucket truck and crew to retrieve the chicks. Xcel provides this service to the DNR each year without a fee. DNR extends sincere appreciation to Xcel, without whom this project could not have happened.
•    This research is paid for by donations to the Nongame Wildlife Program. http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/nongame/donate/index.html.
•    Photos, stories and updates are available on Nongame’s Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/MinnesotaNongameWildlifeProgram.
•    A composite video of the event can be viewed on the DNR web site.
A copy of the data for each bird was sent to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, which coordinates and stores in a computer the bird statistics from many banding stations and individuals bird banders, such as Martell. More than 40 million birds have been banded since the program began, and about a million are banded each year. The Federal agency also keeps records of banded birds that have been recaptured, recovered after death or observed after being banded. About 65,000 such reports are received each year.
Eagle banding statistics provide ways to investigate such things as the migration routes and navigational systems of the birds; the effects of pesticides, toxic chemicals, nuclear-plant radiation and other factors on the environment. Banding is a tool that enables biologists to get information they could acquire in no other way. Studying the birds as individuals tells us how each bird lives.
Ospreys, eagles and other hawks banded in the last decade have provided significant data showing that the health and reproduction of these raptors were directly related to the amount of pesticides and toxic chemicals in the birds' habitats.
From now until fledging, the eaglets will be busy learning from their parents, stretching their wings and "branching".  We hope you've enjoyed the cam this year and remembered to donate on your tax forms or on line!  We truly rely on these donations to keep our program up and running.  With the steady decline of donations over the last decade, our program has been limited in some areas.  We are very grateful for the generosity of Xcel Energy and Mark Martell for providing their expertise and equipment for this project at no cost.
Update April 1, 2016
It has been a rapid growth period in the nest this week! All three chicks are thriving and have a very broad diet. Fish, mammals and birds as large as ducks continue to be their diet, fed by both parents. In the next week or so, the parents will begin perching on nearby branches, spending more time away from the nest. This will encourage the chicks - which are now 1/2 grown - to begin feeding themselves and tearing off pieces of meat on their own.
Some have been wondering about the foreign objects in the nest. One of the adults caught an air/face mask/respirator on its talon. It was not likely an intentional addition to the nesting material. It hasn't proven to be harmful, nor is the bit of plastic that is in the nest today. Pollution is disappointing, and can be deadly for our wildlife. Because of this, we encourage everyone to take the upcoming Earth Day (April 22), or before, to get outdoors, enjoy wildlife and help clean up your neighborhood/community! Happy weekend
 
UPDATE MARCH 18, 2016
Hello eagle fans!    Eagle cam to be down for maintenance this weekend.
The three chicks at our eagle cam nest are all doing well and the parents are feeding them very regularly. You may have noticed that as each egg hatched, the chick was not fed immediately. This is normal. Chicks fresh out of the egg will sustain themselves on the nutrition they consumed while still in the egg - for up to 48 hours.
Since hatching, they have grown immensely.  The parents have been bringing in lots of food to cache and feed.  This week, we've seen squirrel, rabbit, pigeon, duck and fish, fish and more fish!   Just today we have witnessed several feedings.  Some have expressed concern over the youngest chick, that it may not be getting enough food.  If you've watched this camera the last two years, you know that this happens every year!  Does that mean the little one will come out ok?  Maybe.  We will keep an eye on it.  Year one, all three eggs froze.  Year two, the eldest chick was injured and had to be euthanized.  Last year, one chick was struggling and was fed by the parent to the other two chicks.  This is the harsh reality of nature.  That chick became very important protein and nourishment for the two surviving chicks.
At some point in the near future, a new “boot” device will be installed as part of the eagle cam system . This device will automatically re-start the camera when we lose connectivity to it. This should solve the occasional spinning wheel that many of you have seen in the past. The choppiness and occasional dark screen are separate issues that will be explored while the new “auto-reboot” device is installed. The installation will take an hour or so, and it needs to happen during daylight hours, so the camera will need to be turned off for this maintenance.

The additional news is there will be nearby technical maintenance happening this weekend. This work has nothing to do with the eagle cam, and is physically no where near the camera, but it will require a power outage in the area of the cam for two days this weekend. The power will go black at about 6 am Saturday, March 19th, and will turn back on by about 6 PM, Sunday, March 20th. We apologize in advance for this disruption, but it is out of our hands. Since the power will be turned completely off, the camera will not be streaming, filming or recording.
Finally, we are grateful for the generous donations we have received.  We could not do this work without them.  Thank you!  However, we are still very far from the donations we need to continue our statewide Nongame Wildlife Program.  During the recession, our program lost many permanent donors and donations and we still have not completely recovered from that. Only 1.2% of individual income tax forms show a donation.  Please consider a donation today.  All donations to our fund are matched by our Critical Habitat License Plate fund.  We want to continue to bring you this cam year after year, and if we could raise enough in donation funds, we could add more wildlife cameras and launch additional educational and beneficial program efforts.  Donate here.
We encourage you to take this camera outage time this weekend as an opportunity to spend the weekend outdoors, possibly looking for eagles in your own neighborhoods or nearby recreation areas! Here in Minnesota, the weather is unpredictable, but we Minnesotans aren't afraid to participate in outdoor activities no matter what the weather.  Have a great weekend!
March 1, 2016

Time to watch for the pip!

It has now been about 35 days since the first 2016 egg was laid. We are watching closely for the first signs that the eldest chick is beginning its escape from the egg. The “pip” is the very first small hole that a chick makes in this egg in order to start the process of hatching, which we often call “pipping”. About four days ago the eldest chick began to develop an “egg tooth” inside the egg. The egg tooth is a small, hard, pointy bump on the chick’s beak that is used to puncture the membranes inside the egg and will help the chick break the outer shell. Once a chick breaks the internal membranes it takes its first breath of air! As air filters into the egg through the porous surface the chick will get a bump in energy and will start the laborious process of breaking out of its shell.

Asynchrony

We all watched in late January this year as the adult female eagle laid three eggs over about six days. We will see the chicks hatch in the same order as their eggs were laid. This is called asynchronous hatching. Bald Eagle chicks grow a lot in their first week or so of life and in these early stages the size difference between the first hatched chick and the last will be large. The first chick will compete more for food and parental attention, using its larger size to get routinely fed first. This can be a little tough for Eagle Cam viewers to watch. For the first weeks the youngest eaglet will look weak and tiny compared to its siblings. Have no fear, this natural need to compete for life from the very beginning in the nest helps ensure that strong eaglets make it to fledge and that our future adult population is made of strong eagles. In previous years we have even seen the eldest chick expire while the youngest goes on to fledge!

Busy time for adults

Once their chicks hatch the adult eagles have a huge responsibility to feed and care for their new chicks. We will start to see food brought into the nest very frequently, it will pile up around the nest. This pair tends to bring a lot of fish, ducks and pigeons to feed their young. Because of this added burden of caring for very rapidly growing chicks, we will see the adult eagles switch off at the nest more often and will start to get to observe feeding sessions.

Wildlife at tax time

Many of you are probably in the middle of, or preparing to file your income taxes right about now. If these cute and fuzzy Bald Eagle chicks inspire you to donate to the MN DNR Nongame Wildlife program we would be most grateful. Your donation is tax deductible and matched dollar for dollar. Every dollar helps us keep projects like the eagle cam up and running. Look for us on line 21 of your income taxes, tell your tax preparer you want to donate or look for the “Nongame Wildlife Fund Contribution” screen on online tax prep sites.

February 17, 2016

Three eggs in the nest.

A few viewers have contacted us with concerns that only two eggs appear visible in the nest. Please rest assured that all three eggs are still present in the nest. The nest bole is getting fairly deep and may obscure our view of all three eggs from time to time. If an egg is destroyed we will be sure to let everyone know.

A little over halfway.

The first egg was laid January 25, meaning we are a little over halfway through the incubation process. Hatching occurs after about 35 days of incubation, so expect the first to start hatching around March 1. As we watch for hatching please keep in mind that the eaglets will hatch asynchronously (not all at the same time), this means that the second and third eggs laid will hatch a few days after the first. If you missed the videos of the egg laying process, they can be viewed anytime online (video1, video2).

Parental care.

Both adult eagles help incubate their eggs. We have observed the incubating adults roll their eggs often, this rolling behavior is one of the things the adult eagles need to do to keep the chicks inside alive (learn more about why rolling is important at: http://ornithology.com/ornithology-lectures/development-birds/). Both adults have been observed at the nest recently - switch-offs happen quickly.

Where's the food?

Some have expressed concern about the lack of food in the nest. Please remember that it is still early in the egg incubation process. The adults are taking turns leaving the nest, incubating and foraging on their own (and feeding away from the nest). Occasional meals may be brought to the nest during this time. As hatching approaches toward the end of Feb. we will start to see the adults stockpiling food in their nest.

Think wildlife at tax time

The DNR eagle camera is paid for by the Minnesota Nongame Wildlife Program, which is almost completely funded by people like you who make voluntary donations, usually at tax time. Some folks are "sustaining" donors, who give a small amount each month. If you choose to donate at tax time, look for the loon on Line 21 of the Minnesota Income Tax form (if you do your own taxes), or tell your tax preparer that you want to contribute to the Nongame Wildlife Fund, also referred to as the “Chickadee Checkoff.” Donations can also be made using online tax-preparing software. Donations are tax deductible and matched dollar for dollar. These donations are NOT limited to $1!  Any amount helps, but $10 or more would help us pay for this camera as well as other projects!

More information for tax preparers. Donate anytime online at: www.mndnr.gov/nongame/donate

Important Links:

Watch the MNDNR EagleCam live at: mndnr.gov/eaglecam

Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MinnesotaNongameWildlifeProgram (You DO NOT need to have a Facebook account to view posts and photos).

Do not forget to checkout past EagleCam Updates

Update February 2, 2016

Three eggs have arrived

As of Sunday, Jan. 31, three eggs have been laid in the EagleCam nest. Videos of the 1st and 3rd egg being laid are posted online (video1, video2). Bald Eagles typically lay between one and three eggs, rarely four. Eggs are incubated for approximately 35 days. Because Bald Eagle eggs are laid several days apart, eggs also hatch over multiple days (in the order they were laid).

Minnesnooowta

As residents of Minnesota are likely aware, the Twin Cities area of Minnesota is expecting between 4-8 inches of snow this afternoon and tonight. This, however, is not a cause for alarm. Bald Eagles will shelter their nest during storms, and this pair has successfully done so in years past.

Where's the food?

Some have expressed concern about the lack of food in the nest. Please remember that it is still early in the egg laying and incubation process. The adults are taking turns leaving the nest, incubating and foraging on their own (and feeding away from the nest). Occasional meals may be brought to the nest during this time. As hatching approaches toward the end of Feb. we will start to see the adults stockpiling food in their nest.

Think wildlife at tax time

The DNR eagle camera is paid for by the Minnesota Nongame Wildlife Program, which is almost completely funded by people like you who make voluntary donations, usually at tax time. Some folks are "sustaining" donors, who donate a small amount monthly. If you choose to donate at tax time, look for the Loon on Line 21 of the Minnesota Income Tax form (if you do your own taxes), or tell your tax preparer that you want to contribute to the Nongame Wildlife Fund, also referred to as the “Chickadee Checkoff.” Donations can also be made using online tax-preparing software. Donations are tax deductible and matched dollar for dollar. These donations are NOT limited to one dollar!  Any amount helps, but $10 or more would help us pay for this camera as well as other projects!

More information for tax preparers. Donate anytime online at: www.mndnr.gov/nongame/donate

Important Links:

Watch the MNDNR EagleCam live at: mndnr.gov/eaglecam

Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MinnesotaNongameWildlifeProgram (You DO NOT need to have a Facebook account to view posts and photos).

Do not forget to checkout past EagleCam Updates

Update January 26, 2016

Eggciting – The first EagleCam egg has arrived!

We suspect that many of you are already aware, but if not, the first DNR EagleCam egg arrived at approximately 2:17 pm on Monday,Jan. 25.  Eagles typically lay between one and three eggs, and they do so asynchronously (the eggs are laid between one and four days apart – not all at once). Because eggs are laid over several days, they also hatch several days apart in the order they were laid. Incubation lasts about 35 days. In case you missed it, you can watch the video of the first egg being laid.

Too early to lay?

This pair is now known to be early birds when it comes to laying their eggs. Before the camera was installed in 2012, biologists suspected that eagles using this nest laid their eggs earlier than most, but the live video stream has provided confirmation and valuable insight into the variability of nesting in Minnesota’s Bald Eagle population. Below is a table showing egg laying dates by year.

Year

First Egg Laid Number of Eaglets Fledged

2013

 First wk of Jan. 0

2014

Feb. 14 2

2015

Jan. 19 2

2016

Jan. 25 --

 

It’s not easy…

Several noticed that after egg laying, the adult female eagle appeared exhausted. Egg laying is a laborious task, but this exhaustion and resting with eyes closed is to be expected – not a cause for alarm.

How to stay connected?

As eagle activity increases we will start sending out more frequent GovDelivery updates, so keep an eye on your inbox. Also, be sure to check out our Nongame Wildlife Program Facebook page (You DO NOT need to have a Facebook account to view posts and photos). We also post EagleCam updates on the new Minnesota Department of Natural Resources page and via Twitter, be sure to follow @mndnr. Know someone that may be interested in EagleCam updates? They can sign up by following this link: https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/MNDNR/subscriber/new?topic_id=MNDNR_107

Help support eagles, loons, pollinators, and more…

The DNR eagle camera is paid for by the Minnesota Nongame Wildlife Program, which is almost completely funded by people like you who make a voluntary donation, usually at tax time. Look for the Loon on Line 21 of the Minnesota Income Tax form (if you do your own taxes), or tell your tax preparer that you want to contribute to the Nongame Wildlife Fund, also referred to as the “Chickadee Checkoff.” Donations can also be made using online tax-preparing software. Donations are tax deductible and matched dollar for dollar.

More information for tax preparers. Donate anytime online at: www.mndnr.gov/nongame/donate

Important Links:

Watch the MNDNR EagleCam live at: mndnr.gov/eaglecam

Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MinnesotaNongameWildlifeProgram (You DO NOT need to have a Facebook account to view posts and photos).

Do not forget to checkout past EagleCam Updates

 


January 19, 2016 – The New Year

The MNDNR EagleCam is streaming live, and eagle activity at this nest is beginning to increase. MN.IT Services has replaced hardware to improve signal quality and connectivity which has helped a great deal.

Egg Laying

This pair of Bald Eagles has a track record of laying their eggs earlier than we typically think of as normal for this species. However, the last two seasons have shown that they are able to successfully fledged eaglets despite their early-bird tendencies. We are relatively sure the two birds tending the nest are the same pair as the last several years. The female is the same (determined via leg band), but male lacks a leg band so we cannot be certain. Below is a table with the date of their first egg and number of offspring successfully fledged. We are excited to see what 2016 will bring!

 

Year

First Egg Laid

Number of Eaglets Fledged

2013

 First wk of Jan.

0

2014

Feb. 14

2

2015

Jan. 19

2

2016

Jan. 25

--

 

How to stay connected?

As eagle activity increases we will start sending out more frequent GovDelivery updates, so keep an eye on your inbox. Also, be sure to check out our Nongame Wildlife Program Facebook page (You DO NOT need to have a Facebook account to view posts and photos). We also tweet EagleCam updates on Twitter, be sure to follow @mndnr. Know someone that may be interested in EagleCam updates? They can sign up by following this link: https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/MNDNR/subscriber/new?topic_id=MNDNR_107

 

Help support eagles, loons, pollinators, and more…

The DNR eagle camera is paid for by the Minnesota Nongame Wildlife Program, which is almost completely funded by people like you who make a voluntary donation, usually at tax time. Look for the Loon on Line 21 of the Minnesota Income Tax form (if you do your own taxes), or tell your tax preparer that you want to contribute to the Nongame Wildlife Fund, also referred to as the “Chickadee Checkoff. Donations can also be made using online tax-preparing software. Donations are tax deductible and matched dollar for dollar.

More information for tax preparers.
Donate anytime online at: www.mndnr.gov/nongame/donate


Important Links:

Watch the MNDNR EagleCam live at: mndnr.gov/eaglecam

Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MinnesotaNongameWildlifeProgram (You DO NOT need to have a Facebook account to view posts and photos).

Do not forget to checkout past EagleCam Updates

November 12, 2015 – EagleCam Goes Live on Give to the Max Day

Ready, set, go!

The MNDNR EagleCam is now streaming live. Please note that we are experiencing some technical difficulties but are working diligently to get these resolved before activity picks up. Thank you for your continued patience.

Same pair?

Biologist have been able to get a good look at the leg band on the female Bald Eagle visiting the nest and have confirmed that it is the same female from the past years. Learn more about this eagle’s story. This is the fourth year DNR’s Nongame Wildlife program has streamed live video from a Bald Eagle nest in the Twin Cities metro area. Last year the first egg was laid on 19th or 20th of January, with all three being laid by the 25th of January. Stay tuned!

Give to the Max.

Minnesotans are a generous bunch, so much so that a special Give to the Max Day was created over six years ago to help not-for-profit organizations raise as much money as possible in a 24-hour day. Today is that day! Though not currently listed on the Give to the Max Day website, the Minnesota Nongame Wildlife Program is dependent on donations (funded ~ 80% by donations, and 20% by competitive grants that our staff compete for). espite being part of the Dept. of Natural Resources (DNR), we do NOT receive general fund (tax dollars) or fees from hunting / fishing license sales.

Please take a moment to make a contribution today. If able to do so, consider setting up a recurring contribution to provide a gift that keeps on giving. Donation can be made by visiting: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/nongame/donate/index_eagle.html Donations are tax deductible and matched dollar for dollar!

Important Links:

Watch the MNDNR EagleCam live at: mndnr.gov/eaglecam

Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MinnesotaNongameWildlifeProgram (You DO NOT need to have a Facebook account to view posts and photos).

Do not forget to checkout past EagleCam Updates

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.

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