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.