If you've been looking for a reason to watch season three of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' popular EagleCam, here it is.
The female bald eagle laid its first egg of the season this week, the DNR said Tuesday. She's expected to lay up to four eggs over the next few days, and the eaglets will hatch after about 35 days, the DNR's website says.
It is a little early for eggs.
Typically, bald eagles will nest in March in Minnesota, the DNR says, so doing it earlier means the parents must be more diligent and consistent with their egg incubating duties – an extended absence when temperatures dip below zero could put chicks in jeopardy, the DNR notes.
The good news is these eagles are experienced parents. The female eagle has nested for the EagleCam the last three years (the band on her leg matches), and the DNR believes it is the same male.
The first year, no chicks hatched, but last year they successfully raised two chicks – the third had to be euthanized due to a severely damaged elbow joint, which would have prevented it from surviving in the wild.
People from all 50 states and 137 countries logged on to watch those chicks grow up.
The DNR believes they've spotted the eaglets a few times over the summer when they'd stop by the nest, but there's no way to be sure because the eagles don't have bands on them.
The location of the eagle's nest is kept secret in order to protect the birds.