MOUNT BERRY, Ga. (FOX 13) - Eagle families have captured the hearts of internet users around the world through live cameras set up at nesting locations.
Berry College has one such location and broadcasts video of a family of eagles as new eaglets hatch.
Berry College’s bald eagle couple came to campus in the spring of 2012 and has continued to nest in the top of a pine tree, located between the college's main entrance, and the parking lot of the Steven J. Cage Athletic and Recreation Center, according to the college's website.
The Berry College eagles have hatched nine eaglets at their campus nest. Their first eaglets hatched at Berry College's nest - B1 and B2 - came in 2013. Eaglet B3 hatched in 2014, and two eaglets - B4 and B5 - hatched in 2015. In 2016, B6 and B7 hatched, and early in 2017, B8 and B9 hatched on February 11 and February 14. Yes, B9 is a Valentine's Day eaglet!
Berry College said they believe the eagles do not migrate but stay in the area during the summer months, feeding in the lakes, the Berry quarry, and the nearby Oostanaula River. Berry College says the eagles are sometimes spotted near the nest during the summer.
There are three cameras trained on the Berry College nest. In the summer of 2012, the college set up an approach camera in the parking lot, and in the fall of 2012, the eagles returned and began nesting. The second camera - and first trained on the nest - was added at the beginning of 2014. The first eaglet to hatch with cameras watching was B3 in February of that year.
A third camera was added to the nest tree during the 2014-15 nesting season. Thousands watched as the eagles refurbished the nest and exhibited appropriate mating activity.
After eaglets B6 and B7 hatched in February of 2016 and fledged in May, two new cameras and a new approach camera were added.
On its website, Berry College added special thanks on its website to Georgia Power for donating a truck and manpower to install the nest camera. One of these cameras was donated by Axis Communications Inc.
The Berry College eaglets hatched on the heels of E9's arrival in the southwest Florida nest on the property of Dick Pritchett Real Estate in North Fort Myers.
EAGLE FAST FACTS:
A bald eagle egg is slightly smaller than a domestic goose egg. The chick will measure 4 to 5 inches at hatching and weigh only a matter of ounces. Bald eagles incubate their eggs for about 35 days. They begin incubation as soon as the first egg is laid.
The second egg usually appears within 36 to 72 hours after the first. Occasionally a clutch of 3 eggs will be produced.
Eagle chicks are fed a steady diet of fish, occasionally supplemented by waterfowl (ducks, geese) or water birds (gulls, cormorants). About 85% of a chick's diet will typically consist of fish such as carp, white sucker, shad, bullhead and sunfish. The adults capture and tear the fish into small strips, offering them to the chicks. The chicks snatch the food from the adult's beak and swallow it whole.
An eagle chick will eat as much as it can at a single feeding, storing food in its crop. The crop, an organ located near the base of the bird's neck, will enlarge as it fills, resembling a golf ball.
Hunting and Feeding
The male parent does most of the hunting and scavenging during the early weeks of the chick's life. The female parent does the majority of the feeding and brooding. The male will often eat the head of the fish he catches and then bring the remainder to the nest. The male will brood and feed the chick when the female is off the nest. Shewill leave to stretch, defecate, bathe, preen and hunt on her own.
The chicks will be nearly full grown at 9 weeks of age. They will add some weight as they develop their flight muscles after they leave the nest. Their wingspan will be as large or slightly larger than the adults at this time.
Once most of their wing and tail feathers are developed, the eaglets can finally leave the nest. First flights usually occur at 9 or 10 weeks of age and are preceded by vigorous exercising and flapping.
Source: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
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