I'm not sure where I first saw it referenced, but I've got to take you all to an " eagle cam", watching over a Bald Eagle nest in of all places, Davenport, Iowa! Now when I lived in Iowa, Bald Eagles were pretty much unknown in the Midwest that I recall. With the ban of DDT in the early 70s (which affected their calcium metabolism and egg shell thickness), their numbers have surged, especially near wetlands and rivers. I recall it being a big deal when my dad and stepmom took me eagle-watching one winter day in the Dubuque area back in the late '90s. Then (and now) hundreds of eagles hang out along the river fishing in the open water below the various locks on the Mississippi.
The Eagle Cam is on the property of an AlcoaPlant, and the camera they've installed looks over the nest of year-long residents "Liberty"(the female - larger of the pair) and "Justice". After eggs were laid in February, they hatched about 10 days ago, and both appear to be doing well. The nest is cached full of fish parts and remains of rabbits and other creatures. The nest, about 80 feet off the ground, is 7 feet in diameter. The camera can be spotted in the picture at upper right to the left of the image. It is quite high resolution, and has sound too! Occasionally the camera zooms, pans and scans the area - today the chicks were alone for a few minutes and the operator zoomed in for a close examination! Of course, if you check in at night it will be dark - you will only see something during the day...
I've got to admit that once activated, it is hard to turn away! Last week, with high winds and below-zero temperatures, the adults were hunkered down over the newborn chicks. Living next to the Mississippi, it appears fish is their primary food, and the adults patiently strip small pieces of meat off the carcass and feed the chicks very patiently. Between feeding, keeping the eaglets warm, and fending off attacks from preditors, the adults have been very busy! Alcoa is currently holding a naming contest for the babes, so feel free to go vote.
All photos here are courtesy of Alcoa, their video feed and blog that updates the eagle's status. It will be fun to watch the little ones grow and learn to fly. But do check it out - you'll be hooked too!