VDGIF/Norfolk Botanical Garden Eagle Cam: 01/01/2010 - 02/01/2010

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!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

“1st Egg”

The first egg was laid in a snowy nest at about 2:15pm on Sunday January 31st. Eagles (and many other birds) will often delay incubation until all of the eggs are laid. This helps ensure that the young hatch more closely together - keeping the youngest hatchlings from being too disadvantaged.

Even in relatively cool weather the eggs remain viable for some time without incubation...a nest full if snow is another matter altogether. To keep the egg from being excessively chilled the female has begun incubation (see picture below). Hopefully the female's body heat will melt away the snow and keep the egg at an optimal temperature (105 degrees). The snowy weather represents a challenge that this pair doesn't often have to deal with but that bald eagles as a species are well adapted for. Some have asked if the female would wait until better weather conditions to lay her first egg - unfortunately once the procees has begun and an egg has entered the female's oviduct there is no stopping it.

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Saturday, January 30, 2010

“Afternoon visit”

Both adults stopped by the nest briefly...captured on the video below.


“Snow Day in Norfolk”

The snow storm that is moving across the mid-Atlantic is dropping significant snowfall on the Norfolk Botanical Garden. While this pair of eagles don't often deal with this type of weather - bald eagles are extremely well adapted to cold weather and snow. Their feathers are great insulation - trapping body heat and keeping the birds warm and dry. The insulation works so well that its not uncommon to see snow build up on an eagles back - it doesn't melt because the bird's body heat remains close to its skin.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

“Nest Construction”

After spending two evenings (1/25 and 1/26) in the nest, the female spent last night roosting elsewhere. This morning finds both of the eagles resuming nest construction. You can see the male eagle bringing a new stick into the nest this morning.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

“Injured Eagle to Wildlife Center of Virginia”

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries personnel coordinated the recovery and transport of a bald eagle injured near the Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport. Below is a summary from the Wildlife Center of Virginia where the bird is currently receiving care. To see pictures of the eagle at the Wildlife Center of Virginia view this story at

On January 20 the Wildlife Center received a call about a Bald Eagle that had been struck by an airplane at the Newport News Williamsburg International Airport. However, the next day airport authorities indicated that no eagle had been found.

On January 26 the airport contacted the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries about an injured Bald Eagle. Conservation Police Officer George Wilson picked up the eagle and transported it to the Animal Clinic and Wellness Center in Williamsburg. Dr. Meryl Lessinger examined and stabilized the bird and, in consultation with veterinarians at the Wildlife Center, put the eagle in a figure-eight bandage.

The eagle was transported on January 27 to the Wildlife Center in Waynesboro by VDGIF wildlife biologist Susan Watson.Upon admission, the eagle — an adult bird, likely a male, and the fourth Bald Eagle admitted to the Center thus far in 2010 – was examined by the Center’s veterinary team, led by Dr. Elizabeth Daut. They found an open fracture of the minor metacarpal bone of the eagle’s left wing — an old wound. Dr. Daut removed some necrotic tissue and bone fragments from the wound. The greatest threat to the eagle at this point is the risk of infection. Radiographs also found some opaque nodules in the bird’s lungs — raising concerns about a lung infection. The bird is receiving two different antibiotics, antifungal medicine, and pain medications and will be closely monitored over the next few days.

Monday, January 25, 2010


A strong rainstorm is moving through the area this morning - causing the eagle cam feed to go down again, we are still able to access the camera directly and will check in on the eagles through the day. The eagles have not been to the nest this morning - they are likely hunkered down and waiting out the storm.

Here's a short video clip from yesterday to provide a morning eagle fix.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

“More Photos”

“Photos for Jan 24”

With the camera feed down here's a few images from the nest late this morning.

You can see the male eagle sitting in the nest. He's busy forming the nest cup, shaping the soft pine straw with his breast and his beak. The female is perched close by keeping a watch.
In the last photo - both eagles are keeping a close eye on something overhead. Many birds use the skies in and around the Norfolk Botanical Gardens- including raptors (even other bald eagles). Whatever it was didn't seem to bother them much and they returned to resting.

“Cam Down”

The Eagle Cam is suffering from a temporary outage. Technical staff have been notified and we expect that they should be able to work on restoring the feed early Monday.

The eagles continue to mate and prepare the nest. We will monitor the nest and report on any significant events that occur.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

“Getting Ready”

The eagles at the Norfolk Botanical Garden continue to mate as we grow closer to an eventual 1st egg laying date. When will the first egg arrive? Only the eagles know. Both of the adults continue to work on the nest - bringing sticks and arranging the nest materials to create a well formed nest cup.

Bald Eagles typically lay a clutch of two eggs although nests of one or even three eggs occur as well. In fact this pair has a history of three egg clutches. The eggs are typically laid over a period of 3-6 days.

Be sure to check out Nature on PBS this Sunday (Jan. 24th) for an airing of "Bald Eagle" As with all of the Nature programs this is an exceptional program and a great look at the bald eagle.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

“Eagle Cam Live for 2010!”

The Eagle Cam has officially launched for its 5th year following the bald eagles at the Norfolk Botanical Garden. The Eagle Cam is a collaborative project of the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries, Norfolk Botanical Garden and

In early December climbers with Nuckols Tree Care accessed the camera- replacing the weatherproof dome, cleaning the spiderwebs from the camera lens and installing a new infrared illuminator (for improved night vision). Nuckols Tree Care donates their services to the Eagle Cam throughout the year.

The eagles have been working on the nest, adding sticks and pine straw. The male has been bringing the female gifts of food including fish and a muskrat. This is part of the courtship process and helps to reinforce the bond between the pair. The pair have also mated on multiple occasions indicated that they are getting closer to their first egg of the 2010 season. In past years the first egg has been laid between Jan. 31st and Feb. 10th - although this doesn't mean this year's will occur in that time frame.

Check here for news on what's happening at the nest as well as general information about bald eagles...and keep watching at

Thursday, January 07, 2010

“Coming Soon!”

The Eagle Cam project partners are working out the technical details of launching the Eagle Cam for the 2010 season. The Eagle Cam at the Norfolk Botanical Garden is a joint project of the Department of Game & Inland Fisheries, The Norfolk Botanical Garden and An official announcement will be made when the site is launched on At this point both adult eagles are regularly being seen at the nest site - especially in the early morning and late afternoon. The adults are working on the nest and starting to engage in mating and courtship activities. The video below shows a brief mating behavior - watch as the male flies from the nest to join the female on one of their favorite perches.

The Eagle Cam will be live in time to catch all the action as this pair of Bald Eagles works to successfully raise yet another brood. Stay Tuned!