Great news from the MN DNR regarding the hatching of eggs!
All three chicks have successfully hatched!
And then there were three
What an egg-citing week it has been! Saturday, March 4, brought us our first pip (a hole in the egg made by the chick pecking with its “egg tooth”). It took three days for junior to break through the shell, and the chick emerged finally during the night on Wednesday, March 8. Taking that long to break through the shell tells us that the shells are very thick, strong and healthy. By Thursday afternoon, we had a second chick, and both had their first feeding at around 5 p.m. Thursday. Friday during feeding, we got some video of a chick trying to emerge from the third egg. Once again, this eagle pair has three hungry beaks to fill.
What’s for dinner?
For the first several hours after hatching, the chicks are nutritionally sustained by the egg sac that they feed on. Eagles receive all of the nutritional value they need from the fish, birds and mammals they eat. They don’t need to drink water because they also get all of the moisture they need from their food. While the chicks are this young, the parents feed them very small bits of food that is mostly liquid, like fish meat. As the chicks grow, the parents will begin caching lots of food in the nest. At one point last year there were nine full fish in the nest, in addition to a squirrel, some small birds and a duck.
It’s not spring yet
The adults at this nest are sitting very tightly because the weather here in Minnesota has gotten colder again. This morning’s temperature at the nest was 8 degrees F. As long as they are not left alone for too long the young eaglets will survive the cold. They have a huge feathered blanket over them and they are being well fed. We very much appreciate them sharing their intimate world with us!
The snowbirds return
Just like humans, some bald eagles (such as the stars of our eaglecam) stick around Minnesota all winter, while others head south to escape the cold and snow. Many of those “snowbirds” are starting to migrate back from their winter homes, and may be seen in large numbers across parts of the state over the next few weeks. Look up in the sky and you might see one.
The MN-DNR eaglecam is brought to you by the Nongame Wildlife Program, which is supported almost entirely by voluntary donations. Please consider designating a gift on Line 21 of your Minnesota income tax form, or donate online here.