Two eagle chicks arrived Thursday and a third first-seen Saturday on the popular EagleCam, the streaming feed monitored by the Nongame Wildlife Program specialists with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and excitement ensued on social media.
"All three fuzzies are here!" was the announcement shared on the program's Facebook page Saturday, with video of the three getting fed in their nest. "How cute is that. Oh my. Triplets," said one commenter. "Fish Friday?" said another, referring to the food pile stacking up in the eagles' nest in the metro area.
On Sunday, an e-mailed update from the Nongame Wildlife Program said the chicks are getting nourished in a number of ways:
"For the first several hours after hatching, the chicks are nutritionally sustained by the egg sac that they feed on. Eagles receive all of the nutritional value they need from the fish, birds and mammals they eat. They don't need to drink water because they also get all of the moisture they need from their food. When the chicks are this young, the parents feed them very small bits of food that are mostly liquid, like fish meat. ... At this point last year there were nine full fish in the nest, in addition to a squirrel, some small birds and a duck."
The first was laid Jan. 28, and the eggs normally hatch in order. The DNR announced the first arrival Thursday in a news release; the second was announced, with photos of the two hatchlings, on the Nongame Wildlife Program Facebook page: "Two chicks! First feeding for the first chick. The second chick is still wet, fresh out of the shell!"
The DNR said biologists feared for the first egg after it was left exposed for an extended time in the cold. At the time, a Nongame Wildlife specialist said the egg was likely OK, noting the relatively mild temperatures and parents' diligence. "A lot of times they are in search of food. Both parents have been really good about incubating, and bringing food to the nest," said Lori Naumann.
Naumann said specialists know the mother eagle is the same bird as last year because she is banded. She was once a patient at the Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota.
Nongame specialists manage the EagleCam perched above the nest in the metro area.