Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Eagle lays egg

Yesterday afternoon, March 5th, the female laid the first of up to three eggs. We have confirmed this by her constant presence on the nest through the night. Over the next 3-4 days the female will potentially lay two more eggs. We can now start the count down to hatching—35 days.

During this unusually cold weather the birds will be very diligent on keeping the eggs warm. Temperatures across Maine today are going to be in the single digits with below zero wind chill.

You will see that the birds will periodically stand up and rotate the egg. This is an important part of incubation and keeps the embryo from becoming stuck to one side of the egg. Also keep an eye out for the male bringing food to the female and also taking over incubation from time to time. The female does most of the incubation.

What is very interesting is that the birds have laid their first egg exactly 24-hours earlier than last year. Last year they laid their first egg in the afternoon of March 6th.

Wing Goodale, BRI

Below is a post from the blog on March 6th 2006 by Mark McCollough of USFWS and Charlie Todd of MDIFW.

“March 6 notes: incubation begins! The eagles completed nest building last week. For several days they carried grass, sprigs of pine, and other fine materials to line the center of the nest. After home improvements were finished, the female began laying prone in the nest for short periods of time. Late last week the duration of incubation behavior increased, and we knew that egg-laying was not far away. She remained prone for 30% of the time during a 4-hour period on February 27, but periodic absences indicate that eggs had not yet arrived.Bald eagles have spectacular courtship displays in the weeks leading up to egg-laying. They soar to great heights, lock talons and cartwheel at dizzying speed to the earth, breaking apart just before they hit the ground. They may chase each other, lock talons, roll together in the air, and continue their tandem flight. These behaviors are part of an annual courtship ritual to strengthen the pair bond and encourage mating. Copulation may take place on the nest or a perch nearby. During the last week, we often heard the eagles vocalizing from the nest tree, but out of view of the camera. Our eagles were discreet, and we didn't observe mating. We suspect the couple spent a romantic weekend somewhere on the coast of Maine!By the morning of March 6, both birds were at the nest for extended periods of time but still left for varying intervals. Charlie stopped at the USFWS office that afternoon to pick up several eagle carcasses sampled by Steve Mierzykowski, our contaminants biologist. We tuned into this web site and were thrilled to see that the female had resumed incubation posture in the nest. A clear, starry night revealed the adult's white head in that same position long after sunset. Nothing had changed by first light March 7. It seems certain an egg was late March 6!Management comments: Some observers of nesting eagles get the mistaken impression that they are no longer present when, in fact, incubation is underway. One member of the pair is almost always attending the eggs and out of view. Its prone posture is usually not visible from below. The mate may be ranging widely for food or watching nearby but is also less conspicuous to most. Seasonal privacy near the nest is their priority and a good strategy for those who want to co-exist with nesting eagles. -- Mark McCollough, USFWS, and Charlie Todd, MDIFW”


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too saw a white head in nest late last night, wasn't sure it was the eagle until this new report. Hope all goes well for the eggs.
Karen in Denmark

9:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

March 6, 2007
Male eagle visited the nest.
Stayed for a short time then flew off.
It is very interesting.
We learned that they can lay more than one egg.
It takes 35 days for the eggs to hatch.
We are excited to watch this.
Mrs. E's Class

9:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I posted these links on the old thread, so I am reposting on the new thread so people can see the links.

We think she may have laid an egg around 4:55 p.m. March 5! :-)
Here is a video of what might be an egg laying that will open directly into Windows Media Player.
Notice how she starts looking puffed out at around the time the egg laying might be occurring.

Tuesday, March 6
It looks like an egg was laid for sure. After sitting on the egg for about 10.5 hours the male arrives around 5:25 a.m. and the first nest exchange takes place. Here is the video.
or tinyurl

This is him being blown over while checking the egg around 6:18 a.m.
or tinyurl

Video of what looks like an intruder at 8:45 this morning.

Animated version.

9:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your videos will be very helpful as now the classrooms can see the important events that they may have missed! Thank you!

10:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This video starts shortly after he has landed around 10 a.m. and he fixed the nest some and then he starts eating, she turns around her head and gets up to eat. He sits on the egg, but he only sits briefly and then he flies away. She continues eating and the egg is exposed to the cold for 3 minutes. Three minutes seems like a long time in this extreme cold?

Here is the video starting right before he begins to eat.

10:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I checked in several times yesterday, knowing that it was almost time for the eggs to appear. I also checked several times last night and was thrilled to see mamma tucked in each time I checked the CAM. I sure would like to bring mamma a blanket today.

12:57 PM  
Blogger dave said...

On 3/5/07 at about 14:45 we saw the male mating with the female.

Today 3/6/07 at about 12:15 I believe she was layiing another egg.

We have raised bantam show hens for over 25 years so I do know what things look like.
Dave Peaks Island

1:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My descriptions of watching her through the early morning hours of the first night after egg laying, and of the first "nest exchange" are both appended to the old biologist's column, also. But since Judy's videos are posted here, I'm not going to re-post my word by word description! It was VERY exciting to watch!!

We have someone from England and someone from the Netherlands that watch early in the morning, along with the early risers in the U.S.

All of us are learning so much.

Thank you, WIng, for starting a new column and giving us some confirmation, etc. I'd be interested in our reaction to the intruder. Were you surpised, as we were, that he or she came at the female right in the nest while she was incubating?

1:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We were absloutley spellbound watching the video clips.

4:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The intruder looked like an eagle -- do you think it could have been one of last year's babies?

5:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Arizona, 3/6 5:30pm
Wow! Windy and freezing cold. Here it was 80 and we're going to Spring Training game. Mom's wing feathers are being blown upward with the wind conditions. The infrared is great. We appreciate the colums by the biologists.

7:31 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Mar 6, 2007 8PM (EST)

Here a clip of dad leaving the nest in an exchange rather hastily. Evidently dad thinks mom should have been home earlier.

She has some parting words for him, as well.


For Becky. The eagle or intruder was an adult, most likely 4-5 yr old. The juveniles eagles won't get the "white head" until they are about 4-5 yrs of age. This is such a great area to learn, so ask away. The biologists or someone will gladly reply here.

Nature is kind to the bald eagle by letting it mature and learn to fend for itself. Without that bald head, another adult eagle won't consider it a threat.

After 3-4 yrs of learning, the bald eagle stands a much better chance of living longer, and hopefully raise a brood of chicks.


8:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Weds March 7th
3:46 AM

We have people on the West Coast who watch way into our night, some from Europe who watch after that, and then we East Ciast early risers take over the dawn duty!

Here's Will's movie of the night of Mar 6th 8 PM EST till 3 AM Mar 7th.


Will also described to us what the eagle is doing when she gets up and moves the nest material around in the middle of the night, and fluffs her feathers out. It's below zero tonight, and there's a wind chill factor. These are difficult conditions for the eagles, but they seem to know what to do.

Will speaking:

"When the eagles are poking around under themselves, there is a lot more going on than turning eggs. When they fluff their feathers, that is to trap more air in them because trapped air is an excellent insulator.

After they set for awhile, the down, grass, moss and fine twigs get compressed and the result is far less trapped air. Two ft below the eagle, the temp is -4F and with all the insulation compressed, they begin to feel cool, so they get up and start poking and stirring up the insulation...quite deep too.

Of course the egg(s) get turned as well but on a bitterly cold windy night like March 6th, that insulation must be stirred up.

Regarding egg turning, 12 times in 24 hrs is plenty. They have done tests on egg turning. They tested turning them 180 degs, 90 degs and 45 degs and they found that 45 degs one way and later 45 degs the other was sufficient to keep the embryo from sticking.

Of course, the eagles can't measure degrees, so they just nudge them around and do it more often."

5:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

March 7th

to Dave on Peaks Island, re possible egg laying, March 6th.

I asked Will about this, as, like you, he has had a lot of experience with hens. He was watching the apparent egg laying you saw at noon on March 6th. See what you think after reading his comment. He captured it on video, so he could look at it more than once.

"Eagles lay an egg every 2nd or 3rd day, so this would really be an exception. [Also] she would have done today, in 1.5 mins, what took 10 mins yesterday.

She got out of the nest. I think she'll stay in the nest next time to keep the other egg warm. I think she was constipated and was either trying to or had a bowel movement. I've seen setting hens, after being on the nest for a long time, pass some really large stools.

Watch carefully tomorrow or Thursday."

here's the video link.


5:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Weds March 7th

Last night or the night before at supper time we saw one of "our" local eagles flying across the ice covered river, heading up to their nest. It was after sunset but before the end of "Civil Twilight".

He was coming from the direction of the Kennebec River, which is "open water". At this time of the year, they like to fish on the Kennebec, behind the Winslow Town Hall where there are some "rapids", and it is just behind a dam, with a fish lift.

His return up there, by night fall, most likely means that they are roosting for the night up near their nest, and probably getting twigs for it, during the day.

We can't see the nest from the house and the snow is too deep to walk up to our observation place in the woods. It is so cold, I haven't even been tempted, although on the warm days I break a little more of the snowshoe trail going in that direction every day!

The biologists say that inland eagles are up to two weeks later than the coastal eagles, in nesting and egg laying (probably because of the ice on the lakes and ponds)

9:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Here's a story about the eagle cam that appeared in the Portland Press Herald yesterday. For those of you in central Maine Maine, it's in the paper copy of the Waterville Morning Sentinel today, and probably in the Kennebec Journal, but I can't find it online in those papers.

Incidentally the height of the tree, which we had a recent discussion about, is given as 70 feet. That sounds right. And John Richardson is a very careful and accurate reporter. We have found inaccurate information about that in some previous stories and on the National Wildlife Foundation site,

11:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

March 7th, Weds.


That's a link to a story about the eaglecam that appeared in the Portland Press Herald yesterday.

The height of the tree, which we had a recent discussion about, is given as 70 feet. Hopefully that information came directly from WIng, as there's lots of misnformation out there about the height of the tree, ranging from 30 feet to 170 feet!! :-)

70 Feet sounds more like it. In the Biologist Blog from last year, early in July when "Little" fell out of the tree, Charlie Todd mentioned that the first 50 feet of the tree is branchless.

11:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

12:12 pm
March 7,2007
We turned on the Eagle Cam and saw an eagle and it was not an intruder. The eagle came to the nest with a stick. The eagles were rearranging the nest.
They exchanged positions and one flew off. Then the cam turned off.

Mrs. E.'s Class

12:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Weds Marcy 7th

Ooops. I got lost in the "blog" that goes with the eagle story.

Here's the site for the actual story, if you haven't found it yourself, going from the blog.

Sorry. They both start off with the opening paragraph that I read in the Waterville Sentinel this morning!


12:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wed March 7, 2007 13:01

I was just watching the cam and the female got up and moved the egg. Then she sat back down and puffed up a little again. I wish I could keep some of this footage! She's so beautiful too

Jen from Lamoine Maine

1:07 PM  
Blogger Bald Eaglecam said...


Just a quick note that I plan on zooming into closer to the birds as soon as it warms up a bit. I do not want to stress the camera by moving in such cold weather.

Wing, BRI

4:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was just watching on the webpage, not cam. It's 732CST here in MN. Mum just popped her head up and then was gone from sight. Tried live cam, but nothing. Anyone know if shes ok?

Thanks for the pleasure in watching these wonderful birds.

8:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Around 12:10 p.m. March 7th the male eagle landed with a big heavy looking stick that seemed to almost land on the female's head. She had to protect the egg because he kept trying to move it over the nestbowl. Willpatt has a great video clip of the eagles and what he appropriately calls "the club".


10:41 PM  

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