Friday, April 28, 2006

Friday 4/28 Wrap up

The weather today could not be better--a bluebird day in WV--62 degrees, crisp air, breeze from the north.

We went out for an hour to participate in Adopt a Highway, and as we walked back in we saw one of the adults, soaring high above us with a couple of turkey vultures! There no saying what company these birds keep sometimes. It was a spectacular site as the birds circled high above us, with the white head and tail of the eagle sharply defined against the deep blue sky.

The photos above were taken by NCTC alum and FWS retiree Jim Clark back in 2004. The nest shot (click on it) gives you a great new perspective on the nest albiet a bit smaller back then.

Great Eagle Rehab Story

Someone passed this site off to me recently. It tells a great story about the rehabilitation of a bald eagle up in Pennsylvania, with some good pictures and a short video clip.

Friday 4/28

Here's a shot from the eaglecam over at Blackwater NWR on Maryland's Eastern Shore. The two eaglets in this nest are older than our NCTC eaglets, so you can see what we'll be seeing here in another couple weeks.

more from NCTC later.

Thursday, April 27, 2006


FWS Press Release out today.

Fish for Breakfast 2 4/27

Got a call from Washington that someone was worried that Eaglet 3 was not moving. He/she wasn't moving much till Dad just brough back a smallmouth from the river. Funny how the two older eaglets just sat there and let number three get some of the choice pieces; good for them. I'm getting more and more optimistic that we could beat these mortality rate odds.

more later.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


Long day today with no time to post. More tomorrow.

Thanks for all of your continued support, the live eagle cam is getting lots of traffic as is the original NCTC eagle cam.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Fish for Breakfast 4/25

About 90% of a bald eagle's diet is fish, although they do eat many other things, such as snakes, small mammals, waterfowl, and birds.

An interesting part of having a bald eagle nest on our campus is that they make a great deterrent for the nesting of resident Canada geese who seem to be everywhere nowadays. While we all like seeing Canada geese and their young, too many of them on a campus like NCTC can be a problem. Right now, the geese are sure that nesting within eyesight of the eagle nest is not a good idea, and thus where we had large numbers of gees five years ago, there are virtually none today.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Spring has Sprung 4/24

After a wet weekend, our eaglets seem no worse for the wear (and wet). Their coloration continues to rapidly change as their new, darker feathers grow in.

more later.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

We Do Need the Rain 4/22

Another very wet day, and more extreme dedication by the adults to keep the eaglets dry. We do need the rain in this neck of the woods though.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Friday 4/21 PM

You have probably noticed that the largest eaglet is now darker in color than the other two. This one is starting to get his flight feathers, the other two will start turning darker in the next couple of days. The gray down is good insulation for the eaglets but is really not waterproof and they do nothing in helping the eagles to fly. The eaglets will get their flight plumage over the next couple of weeks, then you will notice them starting to really exercise their wings. The young eagles will be completely dark, probably darker than the parents, and they will not gain their distinctive white heads and tails until they are about four years old.

Thanks to Steve W. our resident eagle expert, who is now also a TV star after yesterday's broadcast.

More soon 4/21

Was in an all day meeting yesterday that continues through the morning today. Will try to get a land manager update this PM.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Shepherdstown 4/19

Been a great spring day here.

Tomorrow we do a broadcast to middle school students across the nation on eagles and our NCTC eagles. Click here for more info on it. Should note it may not be easy for folks to view this outside of schools. I will give you more details if I get them in time.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Tuesday 4/18

Here's a couple of pictures from an eagle enthusiast neighbor, Pete (see comments section a few days ago.) It gives some good views of the nest tree ( a very big sycamore) that we have not shown before.

Live Video Feed Info

Hi Folks,

Here's the scoop. The live video feed is scheduled daily, Monday through Friday 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM EDT. It is not scheduled to be up on the weekends (but I would check, you never know...) as we only had the budget to cover the five day schedule.

Right now, at 1:00 PM EDT, the feed is down due to a technical problem, we are working on it.

more soon.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Saturday 4/15

Hi Folks,

I too just tried to access the live feed and was rebuffed. We will get the official hours out there for you Monday. As I recall right now, we have contracted for eight hours each day during the work week...thus we are off the air on the weekends. As we all know the webcam is always online.

more later.

Friday, April 14, 2006


Just wanted to let folks know that a whole team at NCTC has worked hard to make all this a reality.

So, here goes: Thanks to Karen L., Randy R., Mike G., Karin C., John K., Keith M., Steve W., Kristen S., all great FWS professionals.

I know I've forgotten someone, so thanks to everyone thus far and we'll get a comprehensive list up sometime in the future.

Thanks most of all to everyone supporting our efforts.

Friday 4/14

Hi Folks,

Thanks for the huge response to the live feed. For those of you with technical problems, the only thing I can say right now is please follow the instructions carefully. let me know on the comments if you keep having problems and we'll see if we can help.

Here's an update from our land manager:

The oldest eaglet will be 4 weeks old tomorrow. They are all growing very fast now. At 4 weeks, the eaglets are able to hold their heads up for long periods of time, flap their growing wings, and stand and walk around. You might have noticed how big their feet and beaks are. The feet and beaks grow faster, and are nearly adult size at this time. As the weather gets warmer, we will see more activity by the parents to shade the eaglets. You might have noticed the male doing this yesterday with his wings spread wide. The only water the eaglets get at this time is through the food brought to them, so it is important to not get too overheated. You might notice their beaks opened a little part of the time. They are panting to help them stay cool--just like dogs. Be sure to check out the live video feed if you have a broadband internet connection, and pass it on to any school contacts you think might be interested.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Wednesday 4/12

Been on travel today. Our contract process is done, so I will get the info on the live video feed up hopefully tomorrow. Thanks to Jason for getting us linked up on the birdcam list.

more later.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Other Birdcams

Found this Birdcam site tonight, for those of you who want to see other nesting birds of all kinds. Of course we think the NCTC eaglecam is the coolest.

We will hopefully get ours up on this list soon.

Click here

New Dining Area

We have been getting excellent views on the live video this afternoon due to the new dining are just below the camera.

Great Picture

Thanks to Mike at NCTC for the great picture.

Tuesday, April 11

Here's a report from our land manager:

At three weeks+ old, the largest eaglet is nearing the one foot high growth mark. The smaller two are not too far behind. The webcam images are a little deceiving when it comes to gauging their size. The darker feathers we see coming in are the secondary down feathers. They are a little darker and thicker than the first down feathers. In another 2-3 weeks, we will start to see the darker juvenile body and flight feathers. As the adults move around the nest, you might have noticed it looks like their talons are curved into a ball. They do this to protect the young eaglets. The adult's talons are very sharp, and could easily injure one of the chicks if they are not careful. All three are eating well and growing fast.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Monday 4/10

Second day in a row with great weather here in West Virginia. It's still brisk though, in the mid fifties today; although the seventies are forecast for tomorrow.

The bright sunshine has allowed our eagles to dry out from saturday's rains, and the adults have been spending a good deal of time out of the nest today between feedings. What you can't see in this shot is that the adult is plucking a bird that was caught for the midday meal.

Regarding that announcement,you're hearing it first on the NCTC Eagle Cam Daily:
the folks here at NCTC have been working on getting our real-time video feed of the nest up on the web.

I don't have full details to pass on to you yet, as it could still take several days to finalize. Our plan is to offer all you folks with broadband connections the chance to watch the cam in real time video for several hours each day.

We have tested this already and it looks good, if you have that fast connection.

More on this once we get our arrangements finalized.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Rainy Saturday 4/8

We're getting alot of rain today, and it is really needed. So, our eagle adults are "tenting" today to protect the eaglets. Weather for tomorrow is mostly sunny and warmer.

See the fresh fish? With all this food available it's interesting to note that eagles have a crop (on their esophagus) where food can be stored until ready to be eaten. The crop also helps separate the meat from bones, fur and feathers, based on what's being eaten at the time.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Friday 4/7

We had a rainy morning, but it's drying out a bit and the eagles are up and active now. Here's our daily family shot above. The food continues to pour in to feed these hungry youngsters, mostly fish with an occasional snake.

We're optimistic about our youngest eaglet, who was getting a full meal an hour or so ago with minimal interferance from the oldest eaglet. But as we continue to say only time will tell.

Thanks for your continued comments, and we'll have that announcement early next week.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Thursday 4/6

It's a beautiful day here in Shepherdstown, and our eagles continue to do well. Early next week we will have some big news regarding the eagle cam program. Can't quite tell you folks what we have up our sleeves yet, but stand by--the wait will be worth it.

More later.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Wednesday 4/4 Midday Report

Cold, windy weather overnight with some rain and snow kept an adult sitting on the eaglets all morning.

It's feeding time now and all three eaglets are active. The forecast is for continued brisk weather over the next several days, so let's keep rooting for the third eaglet, who still has a ways to go.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Couple of pictures from a Blog Reader

The first picture was taken Sunday April 2 and shows the chowline.

The second picture was taken the evening of April 3rd during the powerful storms that came through the area. Note how the adult is sheltering the young eaglets.

Thanks to eaglecam friend Jo Lennox and her grandson for the pictures.

Midday Photo 4/4

Tuesday April 4 Morning Report

From Our Land Manager:

Today, eaglet 1 is 18 days old, eaglet 2 is 15 days, and the little one is 13 days. All of the eaglets are beginning to get a few dark feathers on their backs and heads. Its most apparent in the oldest one. All three are surviving the strong winds, rain and cooler temperatures. Mom and Dad continue to bring fresh grass to the nest for insulation and fresh bedding. Feeding times will probably get a little more consistent and often. The eaglets are growing very fast. Maximum growth will happen in the 3rd and 4th weeks when the eaglets will gain about 4 ounces a day. It also looks like the parents have been adding a few sticks to the perimeter of the nest--probably in preparation for the increased movement of the eaglets as they begin to explore their surroundings. Stay tuned.