Shepherdstown, WV – Since 2006, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Conservation Training Center (NCTC) has connected people to nature by streaming live video of a pair of American bald eagles to viewers across the country and abroad via a camera placed near the eagles’ nest.
The NCTC eagle cam serves as an educational tool to showcase eagle biology, including mating behavior, egg laying, incubation, and in a successful year, rearing eagle chicks until they are old enough to leave the nest. Although the NCTC campus is closed to the public (with the exception of the annual open house and occasional special events), the cam records video year round can be accessed online anytime at: www.fws.gov/nctc/cam/livevideo.html.
After many years of viewing the same pair of eagles, this year we have witnessed the process of natural competition within a species. Recently a third eagle, believed to be a female of breeding age, has been sighted…
March 21Over the weekend, we were able to confirm the presence of a third adult eagle near the nest, and we are almost certain that it is a breeding age female. Typically, the presence of a new female means she is competing with the established pair of eagles for the current nest. Nest competition is a common occurrence in areas with healthy eagle populations, meaning the total population of eagles near NCTC has likely increased in recent years.
We have also confirmed multiple sightings of the male eagle who is part of the established breeding pair. The male does not appear to be injured, and appears to be in good health. The eaglet which hatched on March 17th has died and the remaining egg is not likely to hatch given that it is not being regularly incubated by the parents.
We do have biologists on staff here at NCTC who have been offering their expert assessments of the situation. In addition, our land manager has been communicating with anothe…
I have gotten inquiries from folks about getting more info on what's going on and also requests that the NCTC do something to assist the birds.
I need to repeat that we all understand that this episode is unsettling to everyone, but it is one of the risks of having the cam in place--you get to see the wonderful things and the not so wonderful as well.
Wild nature is not always a happy place...the best thing to do is not to interfere in any way.
FWS biologists have been aware of this episode since it began and I suspect there will be more information put out tomorrow on the official cam website.
OK. First off, I am on vacation. I get very little time away, and am in hot water with my family because I have been checking email and blogs related to work and the cam too much today.
From what I see on the blog comments, there's a lot of emotion going on with today's events, for which I do not have the facts.
If there was an intruder, that would not be an unusual event. There is great competition now for nesting habitat in the region because the bald eagle has been very successful in recent years. This has happened in several places in the mid Atlantic over the past few years.
It would not be right to have any human intervention in matters concerning wild nature such as this. It may not be pretty, but nature is not always gentle--it can be brutal.
Everyone please calm down.
I understand why folks would be upset, but let's see how things work out.
Also, based on some of the things I have read in the comments, I reserve the right to delete any comments on my bl…