Fans of Alcoa's Eaglecam might want to keep an eagle eye on the nest this week, given the weekend arrival of the first bald eagle egg of the season.
On Sunday, the webcam revealed an egg in a 7-foot nest occupied by Alcoa's adopted pair of eagles, Alcoa Davenport Works spokesman John Riches said Monday. The eagles, which Alcoa named Liberty and Justice, first built the nest in 2009 in a tree on Alcoa's Riverdale property along the Mississippi River.
"Generally, they have an average of two or three eggs a season," he said, adding that, typically, additional eggs should come within a day or two of one other. The pair have produced two or three eggs each year they have nested there.
Riches said that visitors to Eaglecam website, alcoa.com/eaglecam, can view the nest year-round. A second camera installed last fall recently began streaming additional live video shot from a different angle.
"After the eggs hatch, there are going to be a lot of people wanting to watch again," he said.
Visitors will see that the eagle parents now take turns minding the nest and keeping the eggs warm, he said, adding that they will "get off the egg from time to time to slow down incubation."
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Riches, who writes the blog that appears on the Eaglecam website, said he has learned that the birds let the eggs cool off from time to time — until all the eggs have been laid — in order to assure that the eggs will mature and hatch about the same time.
"Now there is an egg, one of the eagles will be there almost all the time ... or very close to the nest," he said. He estimated that the eaglets could hatch as early as March 31 to April 4-5, which would mean any young birds could take flight in late May or early June.
Since the spring of 2010 — the first year the eagles fledged a pair of eaglets in this nest — the birds have fledged eight babies, one of which did not survive.
Since the Eaglecam was launched three years ago, it has drawn more than 20 million page views from fans across the globe. Last year, because of technical problems, online views were down to 5 million, but 2012 had a record 12 million views, Riches said.