MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota DNR’s popular nongame wildlife eagle cam has brought viewers countless hours of enjoyment and entertainment.
For the past seven years each spring, people log on and wait for eggs to hatch and young eaglets to mature and fly off.
But the anticipation is also bringing some unexpected high drama from Mother Nature herself.
Since the first eagle web camera was installed back in 2012, prying eyes have watched one of nature’s greatest spectacles. The natural cycle of raising and nurturing the next generation of a species is nothing short of miraculous.
Explains the DNR’s Lori Naumann, “She showed up at this nest probably two years before we put this camera in.”
From her office cubicle, Naumann has an enviable job. When she’s not attending to other nongame wildlife duties, she is spying on this pair of nesting bald eagles. From her computer desktop, Naumann can manipulate the high definition camera to show the pair feeding on fish, ducks and even turkeys.
One of the surprises discovered through the infrared lens was the nighttime duties of mice and raccoons as they scavenged for leftovers.
Adds Naumann, “The raccoons come and clean the rest of it up, it’s fascinating. Although, this new male is not too happy about the raccoons. Oh, here he comes.”
But watching the eagles is not without some disappointment. Twice in the past seven years, the eggs have failed to hatch. And then just a week ago, the female eagle who has returned to the nest every year simply up and vanished.
“I suspect that she was ready to lay eggs and just got tired of competing with other eagles for this nesting space,” Naumann said.
However, just as quickly, a new pair of eagles has moved in and is showing signs of mating. While they weave new sticks and soften the nest with grass and duck feathers, there’s hope they will soon lay eggs of their own.
“It’s fun and is a learning tool for kids. It’s teaching us quite a bit,” Naumann said.
So for viewers who’ve been waiting and watching, don’t give up. Although the clock is ticking, Naumann says eagles can successfully raise young, even when eggs are laid in May.
The eagle camera is made possible only through the generous donations to the DNR’s nongame program. Taxpayers can help by donating to the checkoff on their Minnesota tax forms.