The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ “Eagle Cam” garnered a lot of attention this year when the resident mother Bald Eagle was seen protecting her nest from the bitter cold of a Minnesota winter. In footage, the heroic mother raptor was seen sitting on her nest which was covered in a thick blanket of snow. After braving the extreme conditions, the Bald Eagles were rewarded on the 26th of March when an eaglet hatched. This was the only nestling that the pair had and there was a sense of relief amongst spectators that the young bird had survived the worst of the winter. This would, unfortunately, prove to be untrue.
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April 1st brought blizzard conditions to Minnesota. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources noticed on the morning of April 2nd that the nest had fallen. According to their report of the incident, the nest was over twenty years old and weighed more than 2,000 pounds. Further contributing to the precariousness of the situation, the nest was built on a dead branch. It is believed that the massive weight of the snow that was deposited by the April 1st blizzard caused the nest to fall. At 7:53am on April 2nd, the nest plummeted 100 feet from its branch. It was destroyed upon hitting the ground.
The adult Bald Eagles were seen flying around the area in the aftermath of the fall. They are both unharmed. After searching for hours, staff from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources were able to confirm that the nest’s sole chick had died from the fall. This sad news was met with heartbreak and disappointment from the many people who had followed the Bald Eagle family’s journey since the beginning of the nesting season.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has said that there is no way to predict where the pair will go from here. Bald Eagles often maintain a territory to which they are somewhat loyal. It is believed, then, that the pair may choose to build a new nest in the same area as the original one. Even if they do choose to nest again nearby, though, the breeding season in Minnesota is far too brief for another breeding attempt. They are unlikely to lay another egg and incubating one would be nearly impossible this late in the season.
It is hoped by the department, as well as all of the fans who followed this dedicated pair of eagle parents, that the next breeding season is a success. For the time being, the Bald Eagle nest cam remains in place and future nest cams may be installed if the pair do decide to nest in the area once again.
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