The pair of early-nesting bald eagles in the Twin Cities being watched by people via a video camera on the Department of Natural Resources' website has failed to hatch the three eggs laid in January.

"They are going to be unsuccessful,'' said Carrol Henderson, DNR nongame wildlife program supervisor.

"They could have been off the nest long enough for the eggs to be killed by the cold. Why they started nesting almost two months earlier than we've ever seen is a big mystery.''

Normally, eagles would begin nesting sometime in March. Henderson said it's possible the pair, once they realize the eggs are dead, will produce more eggs.

"Not all eggs hatch and not all chicks survive; that's the way nature is,'' Henderson said.

The nest can be viewed at

Walk-in program

Minnesota's fledgling walk-in access program is being expanded to another 14 counties.

The program, which pays landowners to allow public hunting on their property, began two years ago with 21 counties in the southwest. About 12,500 acres are enrolled there, but officials said it appears unlikely significantly more southwest landowners will sign up for the program, so they'll look elsewhere.

"We'd like to get at least 25,000 acres in the program," said Marybeth Block, DNR walk-in access coordinator.

Landowners in 35 counties in the western half of the state are now eligible for the program. New walk-in counties include Becker, Blue Earth, Clay, Douglas, Faribault, Grant, Le Sueur, McLeod, Meeker, Nicollet, Otter Tail, Sibley, Traverse and Wilkin.

The program targets privately owned parcels of 40 acres or more that are enrolled in a conservation program such as the Conservation Reserve Program or Reinvest In Minnesota. River bottoms, wetlands and other high-quality habitat also can be considered.

doug smith