EagleCam Update

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minnesota department of natural resources

EagleCam Update

May 8, 2020

large chicks

Getting Stronger Every Day

Banding decision

To ensure the safety of staff and volunteers during the COVID-19 pandemic, the DNR has decided not to band the chicks in the EagleCam nest this year. 

Banding birds causes no harm to them, and is used as an identification and research tool.  Neither of the parents at this nest are banded, so information about their birth places or their ages is unknown.  Not knowing the age or location of the nestlings makes these chicks just like nearly every other bald eagle in the wild. They will carry on with their lives normally - just without identification.

What happens now?

The chicks are now a little over seven weeks old.  They have been stretching their wings, flapping and walking around the nest.  Jumping, flapping and catching wing is how they will get a feel for their wings and learn to eventually fly as a fledgling eagle.

They will start branching very soon.  Branching is when the chicks venture out to the branches surrounding the nest.  They use this exercise to strengthen their legs and wings.  They are also developing their eyesight and watching the parents as they hunt. The parents will spend less time in the nest with them, usually just to feed them. 

Often, the parents will perch nearby with food or fly over with food, to entice their young to try out their wings.  They will vocalize, flying low above the nest to encourage the chicks to leave the nest. Once the young feel confident enough, they will take their first flight.  They are usually clumsy at first, taking off and flying from the ground and honing their flight skills with the direction of their parents.

They will take their first flight at about 10-12 weeks.  Once they leave the nest, they will spend a month or two near the nest, begging for food from their parents and honing their flight and hunting skills.  After a couple of months, they often fly with and learn soaring skills - eventually wandering off on their own. 

We will continue to update here until the chicks fledge.  The camera will remain on until the third week in August, so you will still have the opportunity to see the eagles in the nest from time to time, even after they leave the nest. 

Special thank you to everyone who has donated to the Nongame Wildlife Fund!  Your contributions make it possible for our hard-working team to bring this 24/7 spectacle into homes and classrooms around the world. We couldn't do it without your support.

Visit the DNR EagleCam: mndnr.gov/eaglecam

Minnesota Nongame Wildlife Program

DNR’s Nongame Wildlife Program helps preserve and protect thousands of Minnesota wildlife species, some of them threatened or endangered.  The program is supported almost entirely through voluntary donations, either directly or by designating an amount to donate on your Minnesota individual income tax form (look for the loon). Donations help us restore habitats, conduct crucial surveys and monitoring, engage in outreach and education (like our Eagle and Falcon cams), and complete other important projects.  Visit mndnr.gov/nongame to learn more.