ST PAUL, Minn. — Raptor fans across the U.S. – and the globe – will have some extra time on their hands this spring to do something other than stare at their computer screen and wait for eagle eggs to hatch.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) says plans to install a camera near a new eagles’ nest have run into delays, and it is unlikely that the enormously popular “EagleCam” will be up and running in time for the 2024 nesting season.
EagleCam fans will recall the sad event last April when the tree limb holding the nest of the long-time featured pair broke – likely under the weight of significant snow from winter 2022-23 – resulting in the nest plunging to the ground with a baby chick in it. That eaglet did not survive.
DNR field agents noted that the branch supporting the nest was dead and that the 20-year-old nest itself weighed more than 2,000 pounds.
DNR Information Officer Elizabeth Nault-Maurer says the EagleCam that was focused on the old nest will be turned on and a live stream started Nov. 16 as part of Give To The Max Day, in hopes viewers will be able to catch a glimpse of the resident pair they’ve watched for years as they visit their old nest site. She says eagles by nature are very loyal to their territory.
Nault-Maurer explains that a new nest has been found (playing host to a different set of eagles) but that delays in running electricity to the site make it unlikely it will be ready for the 2024 nesting season.
There is a bit of good news in all this: The DNR says the goal is to have two separate EagleCams focusing on two nesting pairs ready to go for 2025. First field agents have to locate a second new nest that is accessible by bucket truck, which narrows down options.
“We know how much our EagleCam community cares about our resident pair, and rest assured we do too!,” Nault-Maurer messaged KARE. “Staff have been keeping an eye on the pair and we believe we’ve found their new nest site. We’re going to watch the nest this year to see how the pair use it and are exploring possibilities of either moving the original camera to their new nest or purchasing another new camera so we can follow the pair. The strong connection between our viewers and the eagles is something we value deeply and take seriously.”
EagleCam is funded by the Minnesota DNR Nongame Wildlife Program, which helps over 700 species of Minnesota wildlife survive and thrive. It is largely supported by donations from those who love the outdoors.