Over the summer cameras were installed above the eagle’s nest in a tree on Palmetto #14 where, for the past two years, a pair of bald eagles have nested and fledged one or two eaglets each year. The image on the right shows a parent and a fledgling in 2013. (Click on the image to see it enlarged to full screen, and click a second time to see it full sized – thanks to Patty Frothingham for her great images)
The decision to go forward with the nest cam was based on a 90% probability that the birds would return to the nest again this year. Good odds but not perfect.
In the southern US, bald eagles often time their breeding cycle to coincide with the arrival in the area of waterfowl such as ducks and American coots. Coots are one of the eagles’ favorite food items – meaty and numerous… Ducks and coots usually start pulling in around Dec. 1 for their winter stay in the southeast, where ponds and other waterways remain ice-free all season. So we expect a nesting pair of eagles might plan to have their eggs hatch some time in December or January, when there will be plenty of lunch items on the menu to feed the hungry chicks. Since it takes 30 days of incubation before the eggs hatch, we hope to see the first egg in late November or early December. First they have to return to the nest!