Eagle Cam: Hatching process complete as eaglets Nos. 2 and 3 make an appearance

A screenshot of video of the Eagle Cam nest Monday morning.

Aside from snow in the nest, it’s looking like just another day on the Eagle Cam.

As of Monday morning, an adult eagle was hunkered down in the nest, which got a wintery look with Sunday’s snowfall in the Twin Cities metro (the video camera is mounted above a nest at an undisclosed location in the metro region). But, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the adult eagle is now sitting atop three chicks — or eaglets.

As was indicated here, the much-anticipated arrival of the first eaglet came Wednesday. A second chick came Thursday and the third and final egg hatched Friday, according to the DNR.

For the first several hours after hatching, the chicks are nutritionally sustained by the egg sac that they feed on, the DNR said in a release announcing the hatching of all three eggs. 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 food in the nest, the DNR said. At one point last year, there were nine full fish in the nest, in addition to a squirrel, some small birds and a duck.

The adults at this nest are sitting very tightly because of the return of colder weather.  But as long as they are not left alone for too long, the young eaglets will survive the cold. And while the chicks were hidden under the warmth of an adult eagle body Monday morning, there will be times when Eagle Cam viewers can see the chicks being fed.

According to the DNR, this is the fifth year the agency’s Nongame Wildlife Program has streamed live video from a bald eagle nest — last year, the DNR said nearly half-a-million people from all 50 states and 155 countries tuned in to watch the family saga of America’s iconic raptor unfold in real time. This year, “bets” for the first-egg hatch date and time were placed by eagle enthusiasts from nine states, the DNR said.

Again this year, there is no audio, and the DNR reminds viewers that this is live video of bald eagles living in the wild — natural struggles may occur and some of the feeding or other wild bird behavior may be difficult to watch, so use discretion when watching, the DNR said.

And for those who want to see what they might have missed earlier in the day, the streaming service allows viewers to go back four hours and replay the video — click anywhere on the orange timeline bar below the image. To return to the live feed, click on the “LIVE” button. Also, for full-screen video, click the double arrow in the lower right; to escape from full screen, press the ESC key, or tap Done on your mobile device.

In addition to live video on the DNR website, information on the eagles’ activities will be regularly posted on the Nongame Wildlife Program’s Facebook page, and people may sign up for email or Twitter updates.

A similar cam in the fish pond is the staple of the annual Minnesota State Fair, drawing thousands to the pond itself on the Minnesota DNR “campus” at the State Fairgrounds in St. Paul and many more via a live camera feed.

But unlike the manmade pond where the fish are “stocked” at the start of the fair each year, the nest in the eagle cam is the eagles’ home — a small weatherproof camera was mounted above their nest at the undisclosed location in the Twin Cities’ metro region, the DNR said.

The DNR said the only visible physical difference between an adult male and female bald eagle is their size — females are larger by about one-third than males, and the females have especially larger feet and beaks. With this pair, the female also appears to have a brighter, whiter head than the male, the DNR said. According to information taken from a leg band, the female was rehabilitated at the University of Minnesota Raptor Center, then released back into the wild in 2010.

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