EagleCam Update - March 1, 2016

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Time to watch for the pip!

It has now been about 35 days since the first 2016 egg was laid. We are watching closely for the first signs that the eldest chick is beginning its escape from the egg. The “pip” is the very first small hole that a chick makes in this egg in order to start the process of hatching, which we often call “pipping”. About four days ago the eldest chick began to develop an “egg tooth” inside the egg. The egg tooth is a small, hard, pointy bump on the chick’s beak that is used to puncture the membranes inside the egg and will help the chick break the outer shell. Once a chick breaks the internal membranes it takes its first breath of air! As air filters into the egg through the porous surface the chick will get a bump in energy and will start the laborious process of breaking out of its shell. 



We all watched in late January this year as the adult female eagle laid three eggs over about six days. We will see the chicks hatch in the same order as their eggs were laid. This is called asynchronous hatching. Bald Eagle chicks grow a lot in their first week or so of life and in these early stages the size difference between the first hatched chick and the last will be large. The first chick will compete more for food and parental attention, using its larger size to get routinely fed first. This can be a little tough for Eagle Cam viewers to watch. For the first weeks the youngest eaglet will look weak and tiny compared to its siblings. Have no fear, this natural need to compete for life from the very beginning in the nest helps ensure that strong eaglets make it to fledge and that our future adult population is made of strong eagles. In previous years we have even seen the eldest chick expire while the youngest goes on to fledge!


Busy time for adults

Once their chicks hatch the adult eagles have a huge responsibility to feed and care for their new chicks. We will start to see food brought into the nest very frequently, it will pile up around the nest. This pair tends to bring a lot of fish, ducks and pigeons to feed their young. Because of this added burden of caring for very rapidly growing chicks, we will see the adult eagles switch off at the nest more often and will start to get to observe feeding sessions.


Wildlife at tax time

Many of you are probably in the middle of, or preparing to file your income taxes right about now. If these cute and fuzzy Bald Eagle chicks inspire you to donate to the MN DNR Nongame Wildlife program we would be most grateful. Your donation is tax deductible and matched dollar for dollar. Every dollar helps us keep projects like the eagle cam up and running. Look for us on line 21 of your income taxes, tell your tax preparer you want to donate or look for the “Nongame Wildlife Fund Contribution” screen on online tax prep sites.