DNR relaunches live cam on local bald eagle nest [PHOTOS]

Categories: Animals
via the Minnesota Department of Natural Resource's live cam
America! An eagle looks out for the eggs in the Twin Cities nest.
Somewhere in the Twin Cities, a pair of bald eagles and their eggs are getting used to life on camera. This morning, the state Department of Natural Resources switched on a live feed of the birds' nest.

See Also:
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via the Minnesota Department of Natural Resource's live cam
Both birds nesting. The camera went live inside the DNR earlier this season, and today, launches for the public.
These birds aren't strangers to celebrity-level attention. The DNR first installed a live feed camera at this site last year, when two eagles -- likely the same pair -- began hanging around the area. But last year, the birds' nest failed: The couple laid their eggs in the frigid first week of January, and after the expected Valentine's Day hatch time came and went, the eggs eventually crumbled without yielding chicks.

Now, though, DNR biologists are hopeful. For one thing, the birds seem to have learned. This year, they laid their first egg last Friday, on last year's hatch date -- Valentine's Day -- and the later start means better weather for incubating. They also brought dry grasses into this year's nest, and used them to build an insulating bowl around the eggs.

"It's pretty cool," says Lori Naumann, a non-game wildlife specialist with the DNR. "The eggs seem much more protected from the elements this year. I think they have a much better chance to hatch."
via the Minnesota Department of Natural Resource's live cam
One-half of the celeb eagle couple.
The nest is in the Twin Cities, but the DNR is staying mum on its precise location in order to protect the eagles. Biologists aren't certain these birds are the same couple that nested in this spot last year, but once bald eagles pair off, they tend to stay in the same place, and stay together. Sound romantic? Really, it's territorial.

"Eagles, and raptors in general, are more dedicated to the territory than they are to each other," explains Naumann. "Once they've established a territory, they stay together for quite a long time."

The live feed allows the DNR's specialists greater access to the birds' habits. Last year, the camera helped them study behaviors ranging from how often the male and female trade off hunting food with incubating eggs, to how they build the nest.

"They're always moving sticks around," Naumann says. "Even if they come to the nest just to hang out for a few minutes, they're rearranging furniture."
via the Minnesota Department of Natural Resource's live cam
Incubation station.
The branch of the DNR that runs the camera is non-game wildlife, a program that studies animals that aren't hunted or fished, and gets most of its funding from the optional "chickadee" check-off box on Minnesotans' tax forms. Along with the eagle cam, they have a live feed set up on a peregrine falcon nest box in downtown St. Paul, and during the summer, another in the fish tank at the Minnesota State Fair. A fourth, a buffalo cam, is in the works at one of the state parks.
via the Minnesota Department of Natural Resource's live cam
Eggs still there?
Once the cameras start up for the season, the DNR doesn't turn them off. Even when nature -- and its violent side -- happens.

"They bring ducks and squirrels into the nest, and that's something for the public to keep in mind," Naumann says. "It's nature, and we're not going to turn the camera off."

Check out the eagles' nest here. As of this writing, there's a great bald eagle hunkered down in it, keeping the eggs warm.
via the Minnesota Department of Natural Resource's live cam
The DNR's security team, with help from Excel Energy staff and a bucket truck, installed the camera next to the eagle's nest last year.

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