The Raptor Resource Project located in Decorah, Iowa, has been broadcasting a live feed of a pair of mated Bald Eagles and their new hatchlings. It has become somewhat of a sensation, landing spots on several news channel reports and attracting thousands of streaming viewers. So many people were viewing, in fact, that it has crashed their website twice so far (bandwidth limit exceeded) — from what I’ve seen there have been almost 120,000 viewers during the peaks!
I have been watching for two days and it is amazing! The first baby hatched yesterday, and the second today, tomorrow hopefully the third, and they are absolutely adorable. Their little heads are all gigantic and wobbly, and they’re so fluffy and dopey looking. *squee* It has also been interesting to see all the different preys brought to the nest for the hatchlings; you can see in one of the photos above a whole rabbit carcass, and there has been various fishes, and even another smaller species of bird (blackbird or something). I can’t believe how great the images from the camera feed have been, even in the dark (equipped for night vision). Someone from the center is there monitoring the video all day long, too, and they zoom in/out and move the camera around.
Why all the fuss about these bald eagles? Well, first you need to understand that when I was growing up, you NEVER saw bald eagles anywhere out in the wild. They were very-very endangered, and if you ever got to see one, it was on a special preserve or at a National Forest Park. These days, they’re just everywhere! and it’s wonderful! It makes sense for this country’s “national symbol” bird to actually exist and live and thrive in its wild habitat.
I am not what would be considered a “bird person”, but I have to admit that birds of prey are incredibly cool. Living out here in the Iowa countryside, we have all kind of awesome raptors on our property: red-tailed hawks, many different types of owls, turkey-vultures, we’ve even had some bald eagles here! Though I’ve never seen them up close before; usually I only see them on-the-hunt or perched. Watching the bald eagle family in their nest, interacting and hatching their eggs, has been so much fun and a really enriching experience for our whole family. What a great service to have available to the public!
All video still-capture images are copyright Raptor Resource Project