VDGIF/Norfolk Botanical Garden Eagle Cam: 04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, in partnership with the Norfolk Botanical Garden and WVEC, is providing a rare glimpse into the life of two bald eagles and their offspring!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

“Six Weeks Old and Growing Fast”

What a difference a couple of weeks makes! The three chicks are now approximately 6 weeks old and look very different than they did in the last journal entry. The eaglets have grown considerably in size: during their development, they gain an average of 102 grams/day for males and 130 grams/day for females, faster than any other North American bird. As in other raptors, male eagles are smaller in size than females, but this difference won’t be evident until around 12 weeks of age, and then only by taking measurements. Note also that the downy plumage is well on its way to being completely replaced by dark brown feathers, which will make up the juvenile plumage with which the eaglets will fledge.

If you have been following the Eagle Cam, you may have recently noticed fewer appearances by the parents at the nest. While at least one parent is present at the nest almost 100% of the time during the first 2-3 weeks of development, parents will spend considerably less time at the nest beginning around week 5 or 6.

Eaglets on April 25, 2006

Eaglets on April 25, 2006

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

“Eaglets are Growing Up”

The three eaglets are growing strong. At a little over 3 weeks in age, they have replaced their baby down with a darker, wooly-gray down. As you can see, eagles are extremely attentive parents. In general, the male eagle hunts while the female guards the nest. At times you will see where the male has lined up fish across one side of the nest. Each fish is shredded and then small pieces are fed to the chicks. As the chicks grow larger, their food requirements grow with them. With three chicks, it will require a great deal of hunting as they approach fledging, probably sometime in June.

Eaglets with parents on April 4, 2006

Monday, April 10, 2006

“How We Got Here”

As you can read in the accompanying information on eagles provided on this Web site, eagles nest in the same nest, or same general area, for many years. A single nest may be used for more than 25 years. Our story began in 2002 when a pair of eagles established a new territory at the Norfolk International Airport, built a nest there and produced 2 young. Unfortunately, in 2003 the male of the pair was struck by an aircraft and killed before eggs could be laid. Another male quickly moved into the territory and mated successfully with the surviving female. The pair fledged one young that year.To protect human safety and preserve this breeding territory, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, and the Center for Conservation Biology at William and Mary, in cooperation with the Airport, decided to remove the eagle nesting tree after the 2003 nesting season. It was hoped these two eagles would move to a nest which they had begun building in a safer location nearby.

The eagles had other ideas. They moved over to the Garden and built a new nest. This was actually a safer and better area, and plans were made with the Garden to develop an exclusion zone around the nest during each breeding season (December 15 – July 15). This marks the 3rd year that this pair of eagles has nested at the Norfolk Botanical Garden.

Parent with first hatchling on March 12, 2006

The adult eagles you see today began repairing and renovating their nest in earnest in December and January.The eggs were laid on February 2-5, 2006.The three eggs hatched between March 12-16, 2006.

As the breeding season progresses, we will continue to bring you up-to-date on what is happening with the eagles.

Eaglets with parents on March 27, 2006

Sunday, April 09, 2006

“Welcome to the Hampton Roads Eagle Cam!”

This unique look into the life of one eagle pair is available to you through a partnership among the Norfolk Botanical Garden, WVEC, and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. The video, the still photos and the ongoing journal explaining the activities of the eagles are being hosted by these partners to provide the public and researchers the ability to track a pair of eagles from nest building through fledging. Researchers gain valuable information by observing eagle behavior over the entire nesting period. The public gains insight and information about our national symbol.

We hope you enjoy this look into the lives of one eagle family!