The Count-down to Chicks is on!

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minnesota department of natural resources


Bonding, incubation and bandits



February 25, 2022

Two eggs

February 25, 2022

The clutch is complete

On February 15, a second egg arrived at our EagleCam! Four days earlier, the first egg arrived and the official incubation count-down is now on. If all goes well, after 34 to 36 days, the eggs should hatch during the third week of March.

Incubation is the period when both adults take turns sitting on, turning and caring for the eggs. During the courtship phase, both adults molt feathers from their abdomen to create a brood patch, which is a bare spot of skin in the perfect spot on their abdomens for keeping the eggs warm. Even when snow and storms are at the nest, the eggs are warm and safe. You will notice that the female does more of the incubation, while the male is busy foraging for food.  Now that the female is past the egg laying cycle, mating behavior will stop and the focus will be on incubation. They will turn the eggs every hour or so, will keep the embryo from sticking to the inside of the egg. If you watch closely, when the adults are stepping around the eggs, you'll notice they curl up their talons so they don't harm them.

What you may have missed

The young male has been regularly bringing in food, despite the snow and frozen water near the nest area. The prey brought into the nest has included dead birds, fish and mammals. Bald eagles are scavengers, so road-killed animals, as well as freshly-killed "gifts" to the female give her sustenance while she incubates. Yum!  This is courtship behavior that strengthens the bond between male and female, as does continued mating on the nest. When he brings food to her he will often take over incubation duties while she eats. He will usually stay on the eggs for a while to provide her with a much-needed break, but it is always the female who stays on the eggs overnight.

So, where does the male go at night? He is busy keeping close watch over the territory, the nest and family. He has even been challenged with keeping the nest safe from the occasional raccoon that has tried to scavenge left-over food in the nest. Things have gotten rather exciting a couple of nights when the female has gotten up, vocalized and started wing-slapping. Then, suddenly the male screams in from the dark and hits the raccoons with his powerful talons! This is enough to scare the would-be thieves away. Raccoons can be a threat to an eagle's nest, but the parents are determined and very protective. The masked bandits have been no match for these two powerful predators!

NOTE TO CAM WATCHERS - clicking noise:  The microphone at the nest is faulty. A replacement arrived too late to install this season.  The eagles cannot hear the clicking noise, but it can be bothersome to hear when watching the EagleCam.  We suggest muting your sound until next season.

It is an exciting time at the nest, so stay tuned to watch nature up-close and personal, it all of its amazing beauty.

Hey, you!  Yes, you, reading this email! We want to sincerely thank you for your continued support of the Nongame Wildlife Program. We rely on your contributions and we just couldn't do our important work without your support.  YOU make our program and we appreciate each and every one of you!

Male incubating


Protective Dad

Visit the DNR 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 to learn more.