Love is in the air for Maine’s bald eagles. March marks the beginning of their mating season, and if all goes well, they’ll be raising baby eagles in no time.
Thanks to Biodiversity Research Institute, people can watch this wildlife drama unfold in, not one, but two bald eagle nests located in Maine. Two videocamera, sponsored by Brookfield Renewable Energy Group, have been placed at two Maine bald eagle nests that have a long history of use and nesting success, and the cameras’ footage is constantly streaming online for internet users to view for free. To access the steams, visit www.briloon.org/oae/webcams and select “Brookfield Eaglecam1” or “Brookfield Eaglecam2.”
As of March 24, a bald eagle was lying in the nest of Eaglecam1, suggesting that the pair living in the nest had already successfully laid eggs (two, according to the eagle cam chat).
Bald eagles mate for life, but when one dies, the survivor will not hesitate to accept a new mate. During breeding season, both birds protect the nest territory from other eagles and predators.
A pair of eagles usually build their nest (which may reach as wide as 10 feet across and weigh up to one-half ton) near the top of a large tree, typically close to lakes and rivers, according to BRI. They lay eggs once each year, usually in early spring; the eggs, up to three in a clutch, hatch in about 35 days. The male and female share incubation duties, but it’s the female who spends most of her time in the nest.
The young eagles, called nestlings, learn to fly by three months of age, and can be on their own about a month later.
BRI’s first eagle cam, which was installed in February 2006, captured the successful nesting of a pair of eagles in the spring of that year—two nestlings survived.
Beyond the value to wildlife studies, webcams are an important tool to help engage the general public in science and ecology. Millions of people have logged onto BRI’s website to watch wildlife. “Eaglecam1” has already been viewed more than 1 million times.
The two Maine eagle webcams are supported by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.