Monthly Archives: February 2014

Intruder Video

I went to the Refuge today and grabbed the tape we made yesterday of the Eagle Cam video feed. At the Visitor Center, we get a live video feed from the cams (you can watch it on the monitors at the Visitor Center) and we record that feed if we think something big is going to happen on either cam, so we captured the video of our eagle parent warning off the intruders (we hear it might have been vultures) that were near the nest yesterday after the first eaglet hatched. The episode actually went on for quite a while, but I edited it down in the video.

One important detail: One of our cam watchers alerted me to the fact that she thought the parent might have been the male, and after seeing the video, it was indeed the male who was protecting the young on the nest. After the event ended, the mother landed on the nest and the father left, then the mother fed the chick. It’s possible the male got help from the female, as he was calling out during the event, and the female may have been off-camera working to chase away the intruder(s).

Something else worth noting is that the bald eagle male is smaller than the female by about a third. So there’s a chance that part of his logic in holding out his wings was to make himself look bigger, which is a technique that animals sometimes use to intimidate challengers.

In addition to the intruder video, we also captured some video of our eaglet trying to eat. After watching this, you can better understand why feeding sessions with newly hatched chicks are short. The eaglet has a hard time holding its head up, and then he sometimes faces the wrong way, so it can be very challenging for the parent to actually get any food into the little eaglet’s beak.

Finally, we have another short video that one of our cam watchers was kind enough to share showing our eaglet eating. This was captured Sunday, so it’s newer than the video above, and you can see how the eaglet has gotten stronger.

Until next time,
Lisa – webmaster
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Categories: blackwater nwr, eagle cam, eaglet | 1 Comment

First Eaglet

We wanted to offer a recap of our first hatching, which happened early on Saturday morning. We were expecting our first egg to hatch before this, but it’s possible our chicks might be arriving a bit late this year, since even the second chick is a bit behind schedule.

On Friday evening, we saw a small hole in one egg, which was the first noticeable pip by the chick. Also on Friday, our male brought a fish, which is usually a good sign that he thinks a chick is coming. And then about 6:40am on Saturday, cam watchers saw what looked like something moving in the glare from the infrared on the cam.

first eaglet hatching

As for our first eaglet, it looks healthy and strong. It was sitting up and eating about six hours after hatching, which was good to see. We also had a bit of excitement when not long after the chick hatched, the parent on the nest suddenly went into a defensive posture. We contacted the Refuge staff to see if they could tell what the problem was, and our ranger confirmed that some vultures were flying over the tree. Once the vultures left, our parent settled down.

eaglet's first meal

During the intruder alert, we might have had the VCR running at the Visitor Center, capturing the live video feed. If we did, we’ll look to see if we captured the parent’s actions on tape, and we’ll try to share it.

Speaking of video, one of our cam watchers was kind enough to put together an animated image sequence of our eaglet’s first meal, which we’re sharing here.

As for the second chick, on Saturday we thought we saw a small mark on at least one of the other eggs, so hopefully we’ll have a second chick soon.

Until next time,
Lisa – webmaster
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Categories: eagle cam, eaglet, eggs, hatching | Leave a comment

Pre-Hatching News

We wanted to touch base with our cam watchers now that hatching is near. We hope to see some action from the eggs around Monday, February 17, although it’s not a concern if the action doesn’t start until Tuesday or Wednesday, since sometimes the first egg is a little late.

Our cam technician soon plans to zoom in the camera to our closest zoom range, so we can observe the hatching up close. Once he does that, we’ll stay zoomed in until the chicks become mobile and start moving around the nest.

We’ve been working on our “bug” where the cam page does not load the image every time, but it’s been a frustrating issue to fix, and since we don’t have it fixed at this time, we wanted to remind cam watchers that if they click “Refresh” in their browser when the image fails to load, often the image will appear. Also, once the hatching starts we suggest refreshing the cam page a couple times a day, just so you can see if we’ve posted any new updates on the page regarding the chicks. We’ll also post occasional updates on our Facebook and Twitter accounts (see the links in the margin).

For those who have never seen an eaglet hatching before, we suggest you watch these videos we posted in 2011 of our third eaglet hatching. This gives you a good idea of what it will look like and how the parents (and possibly other chicks) will behave.


When the hatching process begins, the chick will start to make noises inside the shell, which the parent will hear. When this happens, the parent will begin checking the eggs more frequently than normal. Eventually the chick will make a small hole in the egg and then slowly work on pecking around the entire egg, so the chick can break free. It can take the chick 24+ hours to completely break free of the egg, since it’s a very tiring process for the tiny eaglet, so once the hatching begins, it could take a while before we see a chick.

Once the chick is clear of the egg, the parent might not feed it right away, and this is normal, since the chick absorbs the yolk before hatching and doesn’t need to be fed immediately. Eventually the chick will be strong enough to stand up for short periods of time, and then the parent will tear off small pieces of food and hold them out for the chick to take. Before or during the hatching process, we might see the father bring food for the family, and this can also be an indication for us that the parents are hearing noises from the chick or have seen a small hole in the egg.

Our eagle parents have been lucky so far in that the heaviest snows this season have been north of the Refuge. The forecasters are calling for some rain/sleet Monday night into Tuesday, but other than that, it looks like good weather with warming temperatures.

Thanks for joining us for another season, and we hope we can provide a few eaglets for you to watch in the coming week.

Until next time,
Lisa – webmaster
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Contact Us

Categories: blackwater nwr, eagle cam, eaglet, eggs, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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