The Truman Show – Bald Eagle Style

I don’t normally watch reality tv, but I’ve recently started watching one show. Filmed high up in a tree in Decorah, Iowa, two cameras record the lives of a family of bald eagles.

This weekend saw some excitement, with the hatching of two of the three eggs mom laid about 40 days ago.

Here’s a video montage of the first one hatching. It takes a while for the baby to break free. You don’t see the first hole in the shell until about four and a half minutes into the video.

Some vocabulary: “Pip” or “pipping” is the term for when a baby bird starts cracking through the shell with its egg tooth

I’ve got the streaming footage up right now, and I just saw mom, or dad (it’s hard to tell which is the male and which is the female), pick up one of the eaglets and fling it to the edge of the nest. The parent is incubating one eaglet while the other flounders around exposed.

About 10 minutes later…

Ok, the parent just tucked the banished eaglet back under its body.

Some initial google searching hasn’t come up with an explanation for this behavior. The organization running these eagle cams, The Raptor Resource Project, maintains a forum where someone has asked about this behavior. No one’s answered it yet, but I’ll check back periodically to see what they say.

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About janejaelee

Jane Lee is a graduate student in the UC Santa Cruz Science Communication Program.
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2 Responses to The Truman Show – Bald Eagle Style

  1. Melissae says:

    When I checked in yesterday, I saw one of the babies had been kicked to the curb and I wondered what was going on. Thanks for looking for an explanation! Because of this webcam, I now know that eagles hoard food in the nest for the babies. There’s a rabbit, crow and a fish up there.

  2. roese says:

    I have been watching this obsessively. Now I’ve gotten my co-workers excited as well. We even saw the third egg hatching last week. You would think that most of the time you would just see the mom/dad sitting and it would be boring, but there is a lot of excitement! The second parent swoops in with a fresh kill, the babies flop about endearingly. I love it.

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