It could finally happen Saturday – though nobody's actually guessed March 4 in the official eaglet BabyHunch betting pool.
That date will mark exactly 35 days since the DNR's EagleCam couple laid its first egg, which is the approximate period of incubation for bald eagles.
"Excitement is in the air," the DNR Nongame Wildlife Program wrote in a blog update Friday.
The Jan. 28 egg was the first of three from the pair. Eggs tend to hatch a few days apart in the order they were laid, not all at the same time (referred to as "asynchronous," the DNR explains).
The chicks will break through with an egg tooth – it's a temporary little point on their bill used to crack the shell.
"This process may take 1–2 days, so it’s very likely that the oldest chick is pipping right now!" the DNR said.
The bald eagle couple – which the agency is pretty sure is the same that’s used the nest the past four years – is known for laying eggs earlier than is typical for most eagles, and the DNR was hoping they'd wait until February. But it's nature, so there's not much they can do.
Worth remembering: This is nature and eagles are carnivores.
“Natural struggles will occur and some of the feeding or other wild bird behaviors may be difficult to watch,” the DNR warns.
The Nongame Wildlife Program needs help
The Nongame Wildlife Program works to protect more than 700 animal species in Minnesota, and operates almost entirely on donations – but barely get any now.
“If every Minnesota tax payer donated just $1, we would be so much better off,” the program wrote. “But, sadly, less than 3 percent of Minnesotans who file taxes donate to our program. Those who donate are generous, yet the donations have decreased steadily over the decades and we are in serious financial trouble.”