The Minnesota eagle cam chicks are now experiencing a little "tough love" around meals.
Their parents are bringing less food to the nest as they try to entice the chicks into nearby trees or onto the ground with pieces of food. This helps the youngsters understand that in order to get food, they will need to leave the nest to follow the food source.
The food supply has not stopped, and the chicks still are getting plenty of fish, rabbits and other tasty, furry or finned morsels. You'll notice they take very large pieces at a time now, and one large meal can sustain them for a day or longer.
We all know that eagles don't stay in their nest forever. The chicks are now at their full adult size.
Their feathers are actually longer than the adults' wings until their first molt. The longer feathers on their wings will help support them in this next phase of learning how to fly and use their new skill!
The chicks have been spreading their wings and doing a lot of jumping from one edge of the nest to the other. They are getting the feel for flapping them for flight. They will spend the next weeks doing this and "branching" - stepping onto the branches near the nest, perching and strengthening their grip.
They will take their first flight at about 10-12 weeks. Once they leave the nest, they will spend a month or two near the nest, begging for food from their parents and honing their flight and hunting skills.
After a couple of months, they often fly with the adults and learn soaring skills - eventually wandering off on their own.
It could be any day now that they will take their maiden flight out of the nest. Once they leave the nest, we may not see them on camera again, except for maybe at night occasionally. Enjoy them while you can, they are almost "off to college"!
We will continue to update our viewers at https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/features/webcams/eaglecam/index.html?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery until the chicks fledge. The camera will remain on until the third week in August, so you may still have the opportunity to see the eagles in the nest from time to time, even after they leave the nest.
Special thank you to everyone who has donated to the Nongame Wildlife Fund! Your contributions make it possible for our hard-working team to bring this 24/7 spectacle into homes and classrooms around the world. We couldn't do it without your support.
SOURCE: Minnesota DNR