The Eaglets: What to Expect Next

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Last year’s chicks at the end of April

Written By: Jim Wright for Duke Farms and Conserve Wildlife Foundation

Our story thus far:  Both eaglets hatched toward the end of March, making them both more than three weeks old. You can view the nest on streaming video here.

For many Eagle Cam viewers these days, the big question is: “What’s in store next for the two eaglets?”

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Larissa Smith with a Bald Eagle she rescued last fall by wading through chest-deep mucky water in a marshy area in Cumberland County, N.J.

For answers to this and other pressing questions, we asked Larissa Smith, Wildlife Biologist/Volunteer Manager for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.

“At about four weeks of age the chicks will begin to get their blood feathers or pin feathers, first appearing on the head and edge of their wings,” says Larissa, who has worked with Bald Eagles for the past 15 years.

“The chicks’ new feathers come out wrapped in a sheath that is filled with blood and the blood feeds the feathers so they grow.

“Eventually, once the feather is fully developed, the sheath will fall off or the eaglet will pull it off and the feather will unfurl.”

For the next few weeks after the pin feathers emerge, the chicks will have a mixture of down and feathers. At six weeks of age, biologists will band the chicks. Continue reading

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A Snapshot of Our Far-Flung (and Nearby) Eagle Cam Viewers

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Mom and Dad feeding the eaglets at 5:37 p.m., Tuesday, April 14.

Written By: Jim Wright for Duke Farms and Conserve Wildlife Foundation

Our story thus far:  Both eaglets have hatched and are developing nicely. You can view the nest on streaming video here.

Yesterday (April 14), the Eagle Cam reached a milestone: 10 million views. That’s a lot of eyeballs, and a lot of folks who have fallen love with a pair of eagles nesting in Hillsborough, New Jerey.

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Mom feeding the eaglets on Monday, April 13.

Over the past eight nesting seasons, people around the world have watched the Duke Farms Eagle Cam’s streaming video and witnessed some extraordinary moments — from tiny chicks emerging from their eggs to huge eaglets preparing to leave the nest.

While thousands upon thousands of folks from more than 65 countries have learned all about these raptors up-close this nesting season, the loyal viewers of the cam tend to watch the eagle family from the anonymity of their electronic device, be it laptop or cellphone or tablet.

To change that equation at least just a tad, we asked Eagle Cam viewers to let us know more about themselves.

Here are the results — a few snapshots of our far-flung viewers, including a long-time viewer in the Netherlands,  a couple of newbies from Alabama, a second-year viewer from Texas, and several classrooms in New Jersey.  A big thank you to all who responded. Continue reading

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Our Eagle Nest’s Offspring: Where are They Now?

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The Duke Farms Bald Eagle nest Class of 2009. For 2015 photos of one of these alumni, see below.

Written by: Michael Catania,  Executive Director of Duke Farms

The Duke Farms Eagle Cam is nearing an impressive 10 million views.

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Duke Farms Executive Director Michael Catania with an eaglet from the Class of 2014 during banding.

Installed and operational in March of 2008, the Eagle Cam has allowed viewers to have a close-up view of the nesting behavior of the adult eagles and watch the pair raise a total of 17 chicks — including this season’s two arrivals.

Throughout the last seven years, folks tuning in to the eagle cam have witnessed some incredible sights.

These have ranged from the sad fate of a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk that landed on the nest just after the chicks had hatched — only to meet its doom at the hands of one of the very protective parents — to the wide array of critters brought to the nest as food for the chicks over the years.

For most viewers, just watching 17 awkward chicks over the years learn to fly and eventually leave the nest has been a memorable experience.

Our Eagle Cam, operated in cooperation with the New Jersey Endangered and Non-game Species Program and Conserve Wildlife Foundation, has truly become a window into a “day in the life” of the Bald Eagles.

So whether you are a long-time viewer or have recently discovered our Eagle Cam, we thought that you might like a brief report on the alumni of the Duke Farms nest. Continue reading

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Duke Farms Eagle Story on mycentraljersey.com

Screen Shot 2015-04-08 at 9.49.43 AMMycentraljesrey.com has a neat article about the Duke Farms eagles, their nest and chicks.

Here’s a sample:  “The camera allows a second-by-second example of ornithological voyeurism that soothes and amuses, and also provides a chance for schoolchildren and teachers to watch nature’s life unfold day by day, minute by minute.”

The link is here.

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Your Bald Eagle Questions Answered

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Photo taken on Sunday via Eagle Cam screensht.

Written By: Jim Wright for Duke Farms and Conserve Wildlife Foundation

Our story thus far:  The Bald Eagles incubated two eggs this seasoKathy Clark by Ben Wurstn. Both eaglets
have  hatched. You can view the nest on streaming video here.

Will the smaller eaglet get enough food? Are the parents different each year? Once the eaglets are fully grown, do they ever see their parents again?

With so many pairs of eyes watching the Duke Farms, questions are sure to arise.

For some authoritative answers to viewer questions, we turned to Kathy Clark, eagle expert and a wildlife biologist for the N.J. Endangered and Nongame Species Program.

The questions are in italics, indented. Kathy’s answers are in roman (the regular typeface).

I’ve noticed the parents seem to favor the stronger of the two eaglets and not feed the smaller as much.
I’ve read there’s a possibility they’ll reject the weaker one.
Is any human intervention is planned in that event ?

The observer is correct that eagles (and all birds with asynchronous hatching) will feed the oldest and strongest chick first, but that’s not the same as “rejecting” a smaller chick. Continue reading

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The Duke Farms Eagle Cam Wants You!

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U.S. Postal Service, first day cover, Nov. 10, 1989. The Bald Eagle with shield is a popular postal service motif.

As the Duke Farms Eagle Cam approaches 10 million views, we’d like to hear from you.

How many years have you watched the Eagle Cam?

Roughly how many hours a week?

Why do you watch?

What is your favorite moment?

What town and state (or country if outside the U.S.) are you from?

We’d also love to hear from classrooms, and to have them scan and send us their drawings (with student’s first name, last initial, school, town and state)…

Please e-mail us c/o Jim Wright, wrightjamesb@gmail.com

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Bald Eagles: Incredible Avian Engineering

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This Bald Eagle, a rehabbed bird, is from Mercer County Wildlife Center. She was photographed last month at a presentation abut Bald Eagles at the Tulpehaking Nature Center in Hamilton.

Written By: Jim Wright for Duke Farms and Conserve Wildlife Foundation

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 8.56.14 AMOur story thus far:  The Bald Eagles incubated two eggs this season. Both eaglets have hatched within the past week. You can view the nest on streaming video here.

The eaglets in the Duke Farms nest look so fragile and helpless that it’s hard to believe that, if all goes well, in the next few months they will grow into enormous raptors with incredible abilities. (Photo at right was taken this morning via the Eagle Cam.)

Bald Eagles not only build the largest bird’s nests in the world, but as viewers of the Duke Farms Eagle Cam have seen, they are able to incubate their eggs in all sorts of snowstorms and Arctic blasts.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            These alpha predators, sitting atop the food chain, have incredible eyesight as well.

“Their visual acuity is four to six times better than a human’s,” says Bill Streeter, director of the Delaware Valley Raptor Center in Milford, Pa. “That’s similar to or slightly better than other diurnal raptors, better than most other birds.”

Bill, a raptor rehabilitator and educator who has worked with Bald Eagles for more than three decades, says great vision goes with the territory:   “With some exceptions — bats, sharks and pit viper snakes come to mind — most predators must have great eyesight.” Continue reading

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The Second Eaglet Has Hatched

Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 8.35.06 AMDuke Farms’ Charles Barreca reports: “The 2nd chick is making its way out, the hatch occurred at ~7 a.m today.”

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One Egg Hatched, One with a Pip?

Screen Shot 2015-03-030This screen shot of the Bald Eagle nest taken at 7:33 Sunday morning shows the young eaglet, the remaining egg with a (possible) small pip, the Mom and a fish breakfast.

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2014 photo

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We post a new article about our nesting Bald Eagles every Wednesday at 1 p.m., but we sometimes post additional items — like a recent post that described the hatching process`.Screen Shot 2015-03-15 at 6.26.32 PM

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