UPDATE Eagle Chick Thriving after a Tumultuous Season

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minnesota department of natural resources


I'm Getting Ready to Fly



June 8, 2022

trying out wings

June 8, 2022

E1 Thriving

The surviving female chick on our nest is getting stronger by the day. She continues to try out her wings by flapping and stretching on a regular basis. She is preening to rid herself of some of the old feather coatings and is losing more down as her feathers grow long and strong for flight. 

The adult female has been on her own for well over a month now, and the chick is still dependent on her for food. Even with only one chick to care for she is still a busy bird.  She has to hunt and defend the nest and territory by herself.  This takes up most of her time, but she is always nearby to watch over her chick.

There have been other eagles visiting the nest that the female has fought off since her partner disappeared.  One immature eagle has been particularly persistent in hanging around the nest.  It appears to be a three-year old bird that will not a suitable mate until it reaches five years of age (if it is a male). The visitor seems to be curious and not a threat to E1 and her mom. Since there doesn't seem to be a threat from this bird, we think the female is reserving her energy and has allowed it to hang around. It isn't stealing food or attacking either of our eagles, so it is being tolerated for now. 

E1 is now about 10 weeks old now. At this age, chicks are not fed as often. The chick is getting at least one meal a day and usually consumes all of the prey in one sitting. The extra nutrition she is able to consume is stored in her crop until the next feeding.  We know she is thriving, because she is hitting all of her developmental milestones.  She is branching (sitting on nearby branches), she is preening, stretching and flapping to strengthen her wing muscles. These behaviors prove that she is getting plenty of food, or none of this would be happening.  Her bursts of wing flaps are becoming more frequent and vigorous as she prepares for first flight.

Eaglets take flight for the first time between ten and thirteen weeks.  E1 is a large, strong female, so it could be any day that she decides to leave the nest.  As she will continue to be dependent upon her parent for food, she might return to the nest from time to time to beg. Once she takes her first flight, her parent will show her where to find prey, how to hunt and catch her own food and eventually how to soar.  Keep watching to witness the amazing beauty of the eagle chick taking wing.  

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 if it is bothersome.

It is an exciting time at the nest, so stay tuned to watch nature up-close and learn all about eagles.

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. Don't forget to make your donation on your Minnesota tax forms this year. YOU make our program and we appreciate each and every one of you!



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.