As we discussed on the Eagle Cam page, on the evening of February 9, images from the cam seemed to show the female on the nest being agitated by something near the nest (in the air). You can see the video of images on YouTube (video 1 and video 2). This action went on for a while, and then as the evening progressed, both parents failed to show up at the nest to continue incubation. For much of the night and next morning — in freezing temperatures and light snow — the eggs were uncovered, so we have no doubt they are no longer viable. On Wednesday, a parent occasionally came to sit on the eggs, but we think they were doing it more out of habit. We know in time they’ll realize the eggs aren’t going to hatch.
Sometimes eagle pairs do lay second clutches, but it’s impossible to know if that will happen here, since we don’t know if the drama that caused the abandonment has played out or if it’s still ongoing. We have seen a pair of eagles on the Osprey Cam since the abandonment, and it could be our couple, since at this time of year you don’t often see couples together, since one of any pair should be at the nest, sitting on eggs.
This is a sad occasion, but if something like this was going to happen, we guess it’s better it happened before we had actual chicks in the nest. Watching this unfold, we remembered something our friend Craig Koppie — the raptor biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service — said about how it’s a positive thing that eagle populations are growing around the country, but the downside is that it brings more competition from eagles that are looking for mates and prime nesting locations.
For the time being, we’ll keep watching the nest to see what happens. It’s possible the eggs will get buried or a predator will come for them when the eagles are away. We’ll also keep the gallery open until we’re sure the season is over.