A webcam at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center in Virginia caught the hatching of two Bald Eaglets born six days apart late last month, according to the National Wildlife Refuge System’s website.
A second webcam at Blackwater Refuge on Maryland’s eastern shore also showed the birth of two other eagles in early March. Despite hatching in the midst of severe winter weather in Maryland the two eagles appear to be doing well, according to the refuge’s website.
‘We’ve never had chicks hatch into bad weather before, and to be honest, we were more than a little worried about them since we know eaglets have perished at other cam nests when hatching into storms,’ a post at the Blackwater website stated. ‘But we caught a break with the weather in that the storm moved through rather quickly (although it left a lot of snow) and our parents have been doing an amazing job – as a team – to keep the eaglets safe and fed.’
A third webcam at the National Wildlife Refuge System’s National Conservation Training Center (NCTC) in Shepherdstown, WV showed the hatching of another eagle in mid-March. That nest started with three eggs, but two of them failed to hatch out, according to the latest post at the NCTC website.
Experts believe that the introduction of the use the highly toxic pesticide DDT is linked to the decline of Bald Eagle populations beginning in the late 1940’s. Breeding pairs dropped to about 450 in the lower 48 states. As a result, the Bald Eagles was designated an endangered species in 1978.
With the ban on the use of DDT in 1972 and other recovery efforts, the Bald Eagle has begun to recover. By 1995, the species was downgraded to threatened status, and in 2007, the Bald Eagle was removed from the federal list of threatened and endangered species.
A wintering population survey of North America in 1997 revealed at least 96,648 individual birds, with about 75 percent found in Alaska and British Columbia .
Readers can view updated still photos and live video feeds of the eagles here: