The camera streaming live video from a bald eagle nest in the metro isn’t the only thing new at the much-watched location. The resident male might be new, too.
As the EagleCam's mass following online ponders and debates that observation, an egg is expected from mother eagle, said Lori Naumann, information officer for the Nongame Wildlife Program of the Department of Natural Resources.
"I believe it’s going to be any day now," said Naumann on Tuesday afternoon. Last year, the mother laid the first of three eggs Jan. 28. The parents take turns incubating eggs for about 35 days.
Naumann said there has been a lot of discussion among colleagues – and questions from watchers of the EagleCam – about who the father is. As expected, there has been a lot of territorial fighting for the nest over the last several weeks, with different eagles appearing and disappearing, she said. The current male has a marking on the top of its beak that is different and "that looks slightly beat up."
"His behavior is different, too," said Naumann, noting that he perches on a different branch near the nest than the male of previous years (shown in the camera still above). She said some photographs from interested parties have support the program’s suspicions about father raptor.
Naumann said the EagleCam showed two eagles mating Jan. 26. As remarkable a moment as it was, she said, even the event was unusual from years past.
The female seems unusually agitated at times in the male’s company. They fought over a meal the other day. Naumann said she thought the male might lose a toe in the spat.
"I never say 'never,' and I never say 'always' in all my years of answering questions," said Naumann, regarding which male inhabits the nest now. "We really don’t know. We don’t know because we never had a band on the male."
Naumann said there has been heavy discussion, daily postings, and observations from supporters online. Friends of Minnesota Nongame Eagle Cam has almost 8,600 members in its group. Clearly, a lot of eyes are watching all at the nest.