Let the EagleCam soar: DNR puts popular webcam back online

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The eagle has landed.

Actually, two of them have landed. Then they took off again. Then landed again. And you can now watch everything else they decide to do from the comfort of your home.

The Minnesota DNR's EagleCam is streaming once again after nine months off the air.

The webcam gives internet users 24/7 viewing access to the birds in the nest, but had been disabled for public viewing since May of last year, DNR Information Officer Julie Forster says. That's when activity in the nest died down for the season.

The nest being broadcast is located in the Twin Cities, but the DNR isn't giving away its exact location. The agency wants to make sure crowds don't gather and potentially affect the birds' natural behavior.

It's the second year the department's nongame wildlife program has hoisted a webcam above an eagle's nest. It was first launched in early February last year.

The Star Tribune says more than 137,000 people from about 100 countries tuned in to see what the eagles were up to last year. Unfortunately, things ended with sadness for the expectant mother and father: None of the eggs hatched. According to the DNR's announcement, biologists think they were laid too early and froze.

DNR biologists believe it is the same avian couple that used the nest last year returned. So far this season, the birds have laid two eggs in five days.

“We’re excited they came back, and grateful that they’ve waited until a little later in the season to lay their eggs,” Lori Naumann, DNR nongame specialist, said in a statement.

The agency also makes note of a couple things.

First, for anyone wondering which one is the male and which is the female – it's hard to tell, the DNR says. Both parents incubate the eggs, taking turns throughout the day. A bird's size is usually indicative of the sex, females generally coming in about one-third larger than males. The females also tend to have larger beaks and feet. With this specific pair, the DNR says the female has a brighter, whiter head than the male.

There's also a note of warning below the webcam stream, reminding viewers that the camera captures the "natural process" of the eagles raising their young.

"Life and death struggles occur all the time in the natural world," the DNR says. "DNR staff will monitor this camera and will evaluate incidents as they occur, but we do not plan to, nor do we condone, any interference with this nest or its occupants."

The DNR also has a FalconCam, but that isn't back online yet. In a post from last summer, the DNR said to expect the FalconCam to return in January or February of this year.

Click here to check out the EagleCam from a desktop or laptop. Alternatively, click here if you're on a phone or tablet.

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