Exciting Eagle News

From the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources…

Egg-citing news
Hello eagle fans!

What an egg-citing week it’s been! On Saturday, Jan. 28, at 5 p.m. central time, our regal pair laid their first egg of 2017! Well, it was obviously the female, but both parents take part in the “nestorations” (preparing the nest for eggs), incubating, hunting for and feeding the chicks, so we’ll give them both credit for being such good parents.

Then, on Tuesday afternoon, the second egg appeared. The bole (which is what the deeper part of the nest is called), is somewhat deeper this year, so glimpses of the eggs have been few. The male has been doing his part, bringing in new grasses to soften the nest bole, and delivering a variety of food. So far, we’ve seen mostly birds being eaten. The eagles waste no time in de-feathering and devouring their meals, particularly the female, who is one-third larger than the male. It’s no surprise she’s hungry. She’s had to expend a lot of physiological energy preparing for, producing and laying these eggs. The bones in her body have grown less dense to provide some of the calcium needed to “construct” the eggs. When she is about to lay an egg, you can see her breathing heavily and her eyes look as though she’s fallen into a trance. And she’s likely not done, as this pair has consistently produced three eggs each year we’ve been watching. Stay tuned!

Our eagles also have consistently laid their eggs early in the year, when temperatures can take a dive, as they’ve done recently. In the colder weather, the parents hunker down, maintaining the eggs at about 99 degrees Fahrenheit by keeping their brood-patch in direct contact with the eggs. The brood patch is a bald spot on some bird’s abdomens that both parents develop during mating season. The bare skin is their body temperature, which is about 105 degrees Fahrenheit. The parents also roll the eggs around with their beaks to assist in the development process and to make sure all eggs receive equal heat.

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