Celebrate July 4th with Bald Eaglets – Live on the Web!
Reston, Virginia, Jun. 27 - /EWire/ -- Celebrate the 4th of July this year by watching live bald eaglets on your own computer screen, just a few weeks before they fledge from the nest. You can see two bald eaglets being fed and cared for by their eagle parents live from a nest off the coast of Maine, online at National Wildlife Federation's website: www.nwf.org/eaglecam .
The bald eagle pair featured on the NWF web cam (www.nwf.org/eaglecam) has successfully raised chicks in this nest for the past decade, raising 16 – 17 chicks. The nest is located near the ocean in Maine in a large pine tree, and is six feet across and 15 feet in height.
Although three eaglets hatched, only two survived. In a not uncommon "survival of the fittest" occurrence, the weakest eaglet was pecked to death by one of the others. Despite being severely impacted by DDT and now threatened by mercury pollution, Bald Eagles have made a dramatic comeback in the lower 48 states. where there are now over 7,000 nesting pairs.
National Wildlife Federation is also spearheading another eagle web cam project in Vermont. Vermont is the only state in the lower 48 states where bald eagles are not yet successfully breeding again. National Wildlife Federation is working is working to reestablish the eagle in the state, in partnership with Central Vermont Public Service, a Vermont utility company, as well as several other partners. The other partners include the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, Outreach for Earth Stewardship, and US Senator James Jeffords. Six-week old eaglets have been transplanted from nests in Maryland, Maine, and from captive breeding facilities in Massachusetts and New York to a "hack site" in Vermont –a caged artificial nest, where they are being fed and watered and given a chance to fledge at about 12 weeks old. The eaglets at this hack site may be viewed at www.cvps.com/eagles. Three eaglets have already fledged from the hack site this season, and seven more should fledge during the next several weeks. At the completion of this 3-year project, nearly 20 fledgling eagles will have been released in the state. While the eaglets are growing at the hack site, they learn to think of the area as "home" and should return to nest in the area once they are 5 or 6 years old.
Despite the eagle's strong comeback, the species still faces major threats.
Eagles are threatened by mercury pollution as they eat fish contaminated with the toxin. Mercury is released into the environment from power plants and incinerators around the country and accumulates in our fish, waters, and wildlife.
Mercury is a neurotoxin for wildlife, inhibiting the bird's ability to function well. They have difficulty flying, walking, and catching prey. Parents are not as adept at caring for chicks. Chicks are not as able to survive. The birds easily become fatigued and are less able to cope with the stresses of life.
Bald eagles normally lay two or occasionally three eggs and are incubated for about 35 days, typically starting in March with chicks hatching in April. The chicks stay in the nest growing bigger until August. From April to August, the parents will bring lots of food to the chicks, so you might be in for an interesting array of prey by watching the Web cams!
The National Wildlife Federation web cam is available because of cooperative agreement between the National Wildlife Federation and the Biodiversity Research Institute of Maine. National Wildlife Federation is America's conservation organization protecting wildlife for our children's future. Visit www.nwf.org.
For more information:
Doug Inkley 703 438-6460 cell 703 201-1026 Lisa Swann 703 438-6083 cell 202 368-5033