Tagged: raptors

Addicted to the Eagle Cam

It was an incredibly busy weekend, with a day trip to Houston and back for a touch rugby tournament on Saturday, then a long run that almost did me in (82 degrees at the finish!) and a full afternoon of working in the garden. In addition to all that, I had to make time to watch the Decorah Eagle Cam (you can also view the eagles and other raptors here).

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you need to check out the link above. The Raptor Resource Project has installed live cameras above various bird nests, and you can watch what happens in the nest. My favorite is the Decorah bald eagles’ nest.

The Decorah eagles’ nest is located in Iowa and there are three eggs. The first baby bird poked through its egg this afternoon, but it will be hours, maybe days, before it fully emerges. The other two eggs should hatch within the next two weeks.

Someone described watching the live feed as “the most boring, yet fascinating thing” they’d ever seen. I have to agree. Supposedly the nest was all the rage last year, but (like Downton Abbey) I somehow missed all the hoopla.

Right now it’s just a lot of sitting on the eggs. The mother and father birds trade off, and occasionally call to each other to signal when they want to switch. At periodic intervals the eagle will stand over the eggs, carefully arrange them, sometimes nudge them over, fluff up the area around the eggs, then settle back down and rock back and forth to get situated.

More than anything, it’s a huge lesson in patience.

Since my first trip to Yellowstone years ago, I’ve loved large birds, especially eagles, ospreys, and peregrine falcons. We don’t have eagles or ospreys here in Dallas, but we do have falcons that roost in downtown, and we have a neighborhood hawk couple who fly around every fall through spring. We also have pelicans and herons at the lake where I run, about 2.5 miles from my house.

If you’ve never seen a bald eagle’s nest, they are HUGE, about 6 ft across. There’s an eagles’ nest just off one of the main roads in Yellowstone and it was always nice to go back each spring and see one of the eagles sitting on the nest.

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There is a canyon in Yellowstone where you can see osprey nests on the tops of pinnacles. Some of them you can view from above, and there’s nothing more touching than to see a baby osprey sitting in the middle of their rather large nests. The mom and dad osprey swoop down and around the canyon, hunting for food and calling to each other and their baby. Once I saw an osprey swoop down and catch a fish from a stream near some geysers not 10 feet from where I was standing.

It’s hard not to watch the eagles sitting on the eggs and wonder at the beauty of nature. The eagles innately know what to do, and their job is to protect, raise, and care for their young.

So simple, so lovely.

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