Imagine if you could watch the growth and development of three baby eaglets--just a few days old, nesting eighty feet above the ground, with very attentive parents feeding them aged rabbit, squirrel, or fish.
You can, but I must warn you, it's addictive. The Decorah Eagles Ustream provides a bird's eye view of the life of these lovely birds. but if you're not careful, you won't get anything done because of this video stream. Still, how cool is it that we can watch nature in action and not disturb the natural progress of things?
Here are a few of the FAQs from the website. I'll save you the time by listing them here, so you can go to the stream and watch instead of read. FYI, though, there are extended lengths of time where you only see one of the parents sitting on the nest, keeping the eaglets warm. When they feed, though, it's amazing.
The site tells you how many people are watching (I've seen over 14,000) at a given time and there is a live chat onscreen, too. During one of the quiet times, scroll down and see the videos of the eggs hatching and other details and facts.
Let me know how long you end up watching. I've got it in bookmarked.
How high is the nest?
About 80 feet.
How big is the nest?
about 6 feet across, about 4 feet deep; it weighs about 1000 lb.
How old is the nest?
The eagles built it in 2007. A previous nest close by fell when a windstorm broke one of the branches.
Are these eagles banded?
Which is the male and which is the female?
It is hard to tell the difference unless they are both on the nest. The female is larger than the male. This female has a ridge above her eyes that goes further back than on the male, and her eyes are surrounded by a greyish shadow; the male has a line around his eyes that makes them look “beadier.” Some think that the male’s head is “sleeker” than the female’s.
What is the history of this pair?
They have been together since the winter of 2007-2008. Her markings at that time indicated that she was about 4 years old. They successfully hatched and fledged 2 eaglets in 2008, then 3 in 2009, and 3 more in 2010.
What is the area around the nest like?
The nest is in a cottonwood tree on private property near the Decorah Fish Hatchery (operated by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources), on the banks of the babbling waters of Trout Run in extreme northeast Iowa. The nest can be seen from the hatchery, but visitors to the hatchery should keep their distance from the nest tree, both to respect the private property where the tree is located and to avoid disturbing the eagles.
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