The bald eagles featured on the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ EagleCam have their first chick of 2017.
The egg hatched today (Thursday, March 9) and the second egg has a pip (scientific term for the hole the chick makes with its egg tooth on the end of its beak) that is getting larger. There might be three chicks by the weekend!
Biologists were concerned that the first egg might not hatch, as it was left in the cold for quite some time immediately after hatching. The pair has proven they have this incubation thing under control.
This is the fifth year that the same pair of bald eagles has been live-streamed around the world by a small weatherproof camera mounted above their nest at an undisclosed location in the Twin Cities’ metro region. The first egg this year arrived at 4:57 p.m. Saturday and the second Tuesday at 2:50 p.m. A third is likely any time now.
The live video stream is paid for and maintained by the DNR’s Nongame Wildlife Program, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. The program is largely supported by voluntary contributions, especially those made when people indicate an amount to give on Line 21 of their state income tax form.
The Nongame Wildlife Program helps hundreds of Minnesota species through habitat restorations, surveys and monitoring, technical guidance, and outreach and education – critters such as bees, butterflies, songbirds, loons, frogs, turtles and bats, as well as eagles. Donations to the program are matched dollar for dollar by the Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) license plate fund. They’re also tax-deductible.
“This pair of eagles, which has consistently laid their eggs in the dead of winter, really embodies Minnesotans’ cold-hardiness,” said DNR nongame wildlife specialist Erica Hoaglund. “It’s a good reminder to for us to get outdoors and enjoy the weather, and to do what we can to help our feathered friends and other animals.”
Bald eagles typically lay one to three eggs, which incubate for about 35 days before hatching. Both male and female eagles, which mate for life, take turns sitting on the eggs to keep them warm. Last year, three eggs hatched after being laid on Jan. 25. The female eagle has been identified by a leg band as having been rehabilitated at the University of Minnesota Raptor Center, then released back into the wild in 2010.
In 2016, nearly half a million people from all 50 states and 155 countries tuned in to the DNR EagleCam to watch the family saga of America’s iconic raptor unfold in real time.