20 years ago, a pair of American Bald Eagles chose a location for their nest. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) eventually put up their ‘EagleCam’ that gave a 24/7 look …
20 years ago, a pair of American Bald Eagles chose a location for their nest. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) eventually put up their ‘EagleCam’ that gave a 24/7 look into the nest. This camera gave researchers vital data to help understand Bald Eagles, their needs, and nesting habits. Eventually, that video feed made its way onto the internet where thousands of people watched in awe. That all came to a heartbreaking end after this last round of heavy snow on April 1.
As much as followers of the nest had hoped it was an April Fool’s joke, it was not. The nest itself was known to be 20 years old and weighed in at over 2,000 pounds. Unfortunately, it was on a tree branch that had died and the DNR staff believe the added weight of the extremely heavy snow was enough to cause the branch to snap.
The Minnesota Nongame Wildlife Program announced the heartbreaking news on its Facebook page as it happened. The hardest part for fans is knowing that there was an eagle chick in the nest when it fell.
“At 7:53am on Apr. 2, the EagleCam nest fell. DNR staff immediately went to the site. After a few hours of searching, the chick was found deceased and taken into DNR possession,” the page said.
The good news for fans of the camera, if there can be good news at this time, is the DNR believes the eagles will stay in the area. Here is the rest of their release.
The adults were seen flying around the area. We do not know if they will rebuild in the same area, but it is likely. Eagles are loyal to their territory. However, it is highly unlikely that the female will lay another egg this year, even if they do have an alternate nest. Minnesota’s nesting season is simply too short for her to incubate another egg. However, we will keep the camera on for now and will let you know before we turn the camera off for the season. We will also keep an eye out for the adult eagles and update you if they stay around the area.
This is an emotional time for all of us, but please refrain from visiting the nest. This was already a major disturbance for the eagles and many visitors will only cause more stress. The nest is on state land and is both State and Federally protected. Trespassing is not allowed in the area.
We appreciate the amazing community and support of all the EagleCam viewers out there. Rest assured, we are feeling this with you and are committed to the EagleCam. It will return, either with a new nest in a new location or the same area. For this year, however, the chick season has sadly ended. Thank you for your donations, condolences, and your words of support for our team, you are so very important to the Nongame Wildlife Program and Minnesota DNR.
At this time, it now becomes a waiting game to see what the Eagles will do. If you would like to follow along via their Facebook page, search ‘Minnesota Nongame Wildlife Program’.