The Eagles Have Landed
If you were keeping an eye on the DNR’s eagle cam this year then you’ll be happy to know all 3 eaglets are doing great! Here’s the message from the DNR.
Hello eagle cam fans,
We hope that this year’s eagle nesting season was enjoyable for all of you.
We are very pleased that our eagle pair managed to raise all three chicks to fledging! Many people expressed concerns at one time or another during the season, about the chicks. The youngest chick was of greatest concern, but even he has now fledged, along with his two siblings. The different behaviors that each individual bird – of all species – develop is now apparent to nest-watchers. While many behaviors are typical for eagles, some of them are not.
For instance, we can usually describe nest-building and courtship, incubation and feeding, but when a chick is injured in the nest, the adult birds’ decision about that chick is not always predictable. Two years ago, a chick was obviously struggling in the nest. After much deliberation, he chick was “rescued” and brought in for an exam. Unfortunately, that exam showed an old wing fracture and the chick had to be euthanized. Last year, a chick was also struggling in the nest. Before any human deliberation began, the mother eagle fed the chick to the other two chicks. This was a difficult reality for humans, but for the birds, it was very important nutrition for the two surviving chicks. The adults both expended a lot of energy for the individual chicks, so knowing this chick was not going to survive, the adults made the most natural of choices for a wild animal to make.
We suspect that, after at least four years of nesting, this pair of eagles finally has it figured out. Their three chicks all grew to healthy juveniles and fledged several days ago. The chicks and the adults will continue to use the nest as “home base” for a while longer. Right now, the adults are training the chicks in hunting, feeding, soaring and defense. Soon, they will catch their own fish, mammals or carrion. They will soon be on their own in the big sky, where life can be dangerous for them. We certainly hope not, but we will be able to identify these chicks if any of them wind up injured or sick and at the Raptor Center. We will let you know with another email if we ever come into contact with any of the chicks in the future.
For now, activity in the nest will slow down until fall, when the adults will begin adding sticks to the nest, rearranging the furniture and beginning courtship again. Until then, enjoy these last few weeks of chick raising! If you are missing that fuzzy chick stage, you can still watch the DNR falcon cam at: MNDNR.gov/falconcam.gov.
Thank you all very much for watching the cam, for all of your great questions and especially for your donations throughout the season. We absolutely could not do this work without those donations. We appreciate your patience with the infrequency of these notices and delayed responses to emails and Facebook. Nongame lost an important member of our eagle team recently, when he left for another agency. While we struggle to fill in behind him and with all of our other duties, we still appreciate all of you and your continued support for our program.