EagleCam Updates - 2013
Click image for the photo gallery:
May 8, 2013
The eaglets are maturing very fast. They have been observed self-feeding on fish brought by their parents, exercising their wings, competently walking around and preening as if they are adults. However they still sometimes sleep on their sides, with their bright yellow feet splayed, a posture they will never assume when they leave the nest for good in a number of weeks. The nest has been kept very tidy this year with no loose debris or old turtle shell and other prey remains. Are the sprigs of fresh sycamore leaves brought in by the adults or are they simply falling into the nest from above? The cool weather has benefited the eaglets as they rarely have to pant to prevent heat stress. Until they leave the nest, all moisture they ingest has to come from their food alone. The parents do not bring water on their feathers for the nestlings to drink, although a few species of birds, such as the sandgrouse, a desert bird of Africa and Eurasia, do exactly that.
Check out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1JEGjNp3h4
April 16, 2013
The NCTC eaglets are growing fast as they go into week 5 since they hatched. They are now in that “awkward” stage with their large feet and wings growing and they are just learning how to maneuver around, not yet so gracefully. They easily maneuver to defecate outside of the nest, which is pretty amusing for any viewer to watch. Both chicks have been fed an abundance and a variety of food. People have observed mostly fish, but also squirrels, being brought to the nest. In just another 5-7 weeks, we’ll start seeing them fully grown. It will be here before you know it. They will also have added some weight as they develop their flight muscles after they leave the nest. Their wingspan will be as large as or slightly larger than the adults at that time.
April 3, 2013
Now that the NCTC Eagle Cam is back up and working, there has been plenty of action, and the chicks are already starting to get bigger and have become vocal and active. A variety of food has been brought into the nest - from large flopping suckers and waterfowl, to squirrels and rabbits - there have been some diverse options.
Steve Chase, Division Chief writes:
We had indications that an intruder was in the vicinity of the nest on Saturday and again on Sunday morning. Tuesday afternoon, our pair was involved with an extended altercation with another adult bald eagle who is likely interested in our pair's territory.
One of our birds stationed itself on an adjacent tree watching, and soon, the other (likely the male) flew across our entry road chasing another adult bald eagle. These birds fought overhead while our other bird stationed itself in the top of the nest tree. The fighting went on for some time until the interloper bird was finally chased west away from the nest tree.
We are not sure what the conclusion of this altercation was, but both of our birds are back in normal mode. We'll see if there are any additional challenges.
Remember this is wild nature we are watching. Nesting habitat is at a premium, thus nesting pairs will be challenged occasionally.
March 19, 2013
Two eaglets hatched this weekend in the bald eagle nest at the National Conservation Training Center near Shepherdstown, WV. The first eaglet hatched on 3/16/13 at 2pm after 38 days of incubation.
The second eaglet hatched 3/17/13 at 3pm after 39 days of incubation. The eggs were laid February 6th and 9th. In the next 3 months they will grow from eaglet to adult and by mid-June they will fledge the nest. Feeding time is approximately every 1-2 hours with fish caught from the Potomac and other food, as available.
The link below will show a still photo image that refreshes every 30 seconds. If you right-click your mouse over the image you can save, print or e-mail a picture.
February 27, 2013
Our NCTC eagles have been doing great. The two continue to switch off, as the other adult gets a break and hunts. The male has been very active as a brooder, which is unique in what we’ve seen in past years. It also appears they’ve brought some pine needles in the nest, which is also new. Fluff and nesting material continue to be abundant and has been brought to the nest frequently. The eagles have made a very nice, deep, insulated nest cup within the nest itself. Every day that there hasn’t been snow is a greater advantage for the eggs survival, and for the eagles not to have to relay as they have for several years before.
In the mean time, Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, located in Cambridge, MD just had their second chick hatch today, February 27th. Our NCTC eagles won’t be far behind. We’re expecting the hatching to occur right around March 13th.
February 13, 2013
On Wednesday, February 6, 2013 our NCTC eagles laid their first egg. The second egg quickly followed on Saturday, February 9. We have observed the male and female switching off on incubation duties, but rarely will you see the eggs left alone for very long. In fact, 98% of the time one parent will remain on the nest. Laying on these eggs day in and day out can be tense, so the parents will call each other for reprieve. Since tonight is calling for snow, let's watch them and see that not rain, snow or wind will keep these parents from protecting their young. They will be there to protect these eggs through adverse weather and even potential predators. In approximately 35 days, we'll all be watching for that first eaglet.
January 23, 2013
As the blustery temperatures start plummeting in Shepherdstown, WV at currently 17 degrees, our eagles are setting up house in their beautiful sycamore tree located at the National Conservation Training Center, just a hop, skip and a jump from the Potomac River, where they have nested every year since 2007. Each year, the eagles add sticks, grass, and other material to their nest, so every year, the nest gets bulkier and heavier. Our NCTC nest is approximately 7-8 feet in diameter and could weigh nearly a ton by now. Eagles add material to their nest every year to build the sides up higher in order to keep the eaglets from falling out. You might think this is not necessary, but the nest needs to be so big because, even though the chicks are small when they hatch, within a couple of months they get very large. You can imagine with, potentially, three very large chicks and two adults, each with a wing span of 7 feet, the nest can get very crowded, very quickly. Check out the photo of a man installing the eagle camera. You can see just how big the nest really is.