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A Recap of the 2011 Eagle Nest Cam at the American Eagle Foundation


Live Feed Eagle Cam

American Eagle Foundation's "Eagle Nest Cam" - 2011

• More Photos - Nesting Season 2011
• Questions and Answers

June 22, 2011

This year, as the American Eagle Foundation was preparing to do its "Live Eagle Nest Cam" from Eagle Mountain Sanctuary in Dollywood (our 10th year for this), we searched for a better way to bring to our viewers the excitement of watching baby eaglets hatch and grow in the nest.

We learned about UStream from watching the amazing Decorah eagle site right after it launched.  For us, it was too late in the season to add new cameras, because we knew eggs would be laid soon, and therefore we could not disturb the nesting eagles in any way.  What we COULD do, however, was to incorporate the UStream environment with its user-friendly interface, and broadcast live from the nest with the cameras we already had in place.

After some false starts and glitches — all part of a learning experience — we were off and running!  Soon we learned about "Stream" and "Chat" and "Moderators," and we were blessed with meeting many kindred spirit eagle-watchers on line.

Our eaglets were immediately given pet names by our viewers — E-1 became Big Bird; the other two (almost twins!) became the "Wee Ones" – and a plethora of great names were submitted by our viewers for the 3 offspring of our non-releasable Eagle parents, Independence and Franklin.

How diligent the chatterers were in watching the babies.  We delighted in reading their observations and comments — they marveled at how protective the parents were during the bad storms that hit Dollywood, they worried when Big Bird leaned too far over the nest — and they fretted as to whether the Wee Ones were getting their fair share of food.

When the video was released of Big Bird graduating to the hack tower overlooking Douglas Lake in East Tennessee, the chatterers were almost to a person incredibly amazed at how big he actually was.

The other two siblings have now joined E-1. All 3 are in the same compartment and all are doing extremely well. They will fledge at about 13 weeks of age – in late July or early August.  When that happens, we will have a video that we will post up on our website (WWW.EAGLES.ORG).

So, the 2 eaglets (hatched from their eggs in AEF incubators) were removed from the Indy and Franklin nest and will continue to be cared for by the AEF staff and fed with an eagle-puppet until they are eating on their own and ready to be released on Douglas Lake.
We have ambitious plans for next year, which include new high-tech and high definition cameras that can pan, tilt, and zoom. We also hope to have cameras on an additional nest located in the off-park eagle breeding facility.

Many thanks to everyone who has helped us this year: Bob Anderson with the Decorah site (who shared some initial knowledge with us about USTREAM), Chip Tarver, Judith Newby, Ruby Tugate, Mazy Kazerooni , Robert Wilson, Craig Strong, Carolyn Stalcup, Bob Hatcher, our moderators (shermpaul, eaglewatchingfool, gretchenFL, yamibike, and margieford44), and, last but not least, the American Eagle Foundation staff - who always do such an amazing job as "eagle caregivers".

A special thanks must be given to Independence and Franklin, whose starring roles as "Great Eagle Parents" (even though disabled and non-releaseable themselves) won them countless kindred friends and admirers.

We wish our eaglets "bon voyage and safe journeys" wherever they go — and we would be very happy if they decided to make Tennessee their forever home.

Thank you to all our eagle nest cam viewers & friends,

Al Louis Cecere
President and Founde
American Eagle Foundation



After its release on August 15, 2011, Halo was twice observed in good condition on Lake Erie - near Cleveland, OH on September 2 and on October 16 near Erie, PA. Halo was again observed near Angola, NY on 12/28/11, 1/9/12, and on 1/11/12. Our last sighting of Halo was on May 2nd and again on May 23, 2012 in the Port Bruce Ontario area, close to Lake Erie (see photo above).  An interesting fact is that during 18 days from fledging, Halo traveled at least 404 straight-line miles, averaging 22.4 miles per day.

The eaglet Atlantis was released on August 14, and was seen doing well on Lake Huron near Oscoda, MI on September 7. A tentative sighting was also observed in late January 2012 in the same general area.

August 27, 2012:  Having had no sightings of Endeavor for an entire year, we are so pleased to report that Endeavor (wing tag H1) was sighted twice in August 2012 on Pymatuning Lake in Northwest Pennsylvania. To add to the good news, Endeavor was seen with another immature eagle with wing tag C2 that was transferred to AEF and released from its hack site on June 20, 2012.  It's very rewarding to know that these 2 eagles are doing well.


The video below is taken from live footage from the nest of our
Bald Eagles, "Independence" and "Franklin"


As of June 15, 2011, all three babies have "graduated" to the Hack Tower on Douglas Lake.
Our chat room is still open, and we invite you to stop by for a visit.

E-2 and E-3 Join E-1 at Hack Tower


Watch Video of E-1 at the Hack Tower on Douglas Lake in East Tennessee.


WBIR, Channel 10, did a video story about our Eagle Nest Cam. We invite you to watch it here.


This is the nest of Independence and Franklin, non-releasable Bald Eagles cared for by the American Eagle Foundation at Eagle Mountain Sanctuary in Pigeon Forge, TN. 3 eggs were laid. E-1 hatched April 29. One week and one day later, on May 5, E-2 hatched. The next day, E-3 hatched. This edited video begins with the hatching of E-2, and documents the eaglets' development over the next several days.


July 14 2011 E-1 E-2 and E-3
E-1, E-2, E-3. Photo taken July 14, 2011 at hack tower

Three Amigos
E-1 at 10 days; E-2 at 4 days; E-3 at 3 days

Eaglets at 5 and 6 weeks of age
Eaglets at 5 - 6 weeks of age

E-1 in hack tower
E-1 settles in at the Hack Tower

Room with a view
A room with a view!

Careful food prep - in sizes E-1 can handle
Careful food prep—in sizes E-1 can handle!

No human contact from now on.....
E-1 (and the other eaglets) are fed through a drawer into which the tray of food is placed.
The eaglet sees the food and does not know humans were involved.

About our bald eagles, nest cam & cause.
The "live" video feed is streamed on-line 24/7. At night an infrared light provides night vision to viewers via the cam. Infrared light is not visible to the eagles, so they do not see it or know it is there.

This year's bald eagle nesting pair are "Independence" and "Franklin" (female has a black feather spot on the back of her head).

The "non-releasable" birds are cared for by the AEF at its United States Eagle Center in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains (Pigeon Forge, Tennessee).

At its raptor center, the AEF cares for about 80 birds of prey daily, including the world's largest collection of "non-releasable" bald eagles. Most all these birds are used for educational purposes, and, in some cases, for propagation purposes to release captive-hatched young into the wild for repopulation purposes in specific territories.

Also, the AEF cares for and rehabilitates injured and orphaned eagles and other birds for possible return to the wild.

The Independence and Franklin nest is located inside the "Eagle Mountain Sanctuary" aviary exhibit on the Dollywood family adventure park.

The 3 eggs in the nest were laid March 23, March 26, and March 29, 2011.

The incubation period for each egg is about 35 days. The first eggs hatched on April 29, 2011 (the day of the Royal Wedding of William & Kate).

This disabled bald eagle pair (Franklin & Independence) has produced numerous young during previous breeding seasons, which have all been successfully released into the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains - on Douglas Lake in Dandridge, Tennessee.

The young will remain in their parent's nest for about 6 weeks (after hatching), and then will be placed in an artificial nesting/release tower (hacking tower) overlooking the lake mentioned above.

The youngsters will be released into the wild when they are full-sized at about 12 or 13 weeks of age (the approximate fledge age in the wild)

What is the American Eagle Foundation (AEF)?
Established in 1985, the non-profit AEF is dedicated to protect the majestic Bald Eagle, the USA's National Symbol, and its habitat by supporting and conducting eagle and environmental recovery and education programs.

In 2010, the organization celebrated its 25th Anniversary.

In addition to its WWW.EAGLES.ORG website, the AEF also has a Facebook page, MySpace page, Eagle Blog, free e-Newsletter, and YouTube "Bald Eagle Info" Channel. All these features can be accessed from its website homepage.

How often are the eaglets fed?
The eaglets get fed by their parents numerous times per day (and sometimes during night). The parents usually feed the babies beginning at around 6:30 a.m. or 7 a.m. (EST). As the babies grow bigger, they will require more food, but right now their capacity for food is much less. The food is placed inside the aviary at the bottom of the hill from the nest twice a day (morning and evening) by AEF staff. The amount of food provided daily is more than enough for the babies to be fed numerous times. In fact, there are usually leftovers at the end of the day. The food in the nest is sometimes lying off-camera or blends in with the straw. The birds are cared for by professional AEF caregivers and by experienced eagle parents. In past years, the parent birds have successfully raised two sets of triplets.

Make a charitable donation to help our conservation work.
The American Eagle Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit public charity, so donations are fully "tax-deductible".

The programs of the AEF are sustained by donations from individuals and corporations. The AEF receives no governmental funding. There is a DONATION BUTTON on the home page of the AEF's website.

Donors can support the AEF in a variety of ways, including by Adopting Eagles and purchasing beautiful Eagle-Themed Gifts.

Weather at Eagle Mountain Sanctuary.


Aviary Habitat

This is the largest aviary presentation of non-releasable Bald Eagles in the world.

Nest of Independence and Franklin

The nest of "Independence" and "Franklin" can be found about 35 feet up a steep hillside inside the Eagle Mountain Sanctuary aviary at Dollywood. The nest is a human-made structure, but the parents add sticks and other materials before and after laying and hatching their eggs.

A vast habitat for all our Bald Eagles

A vast habitat offers a natural setting for these non-releasable eagles. Many have limited flight and enjoy flying up in the trees.

Release Tower on Douglas Lake

An artificial nesting/release tower overlooking a private area on Douglas Lake (East Tennessee) is home for the eaglets after they are removed from their parents' nest at 5 to 6 weeks of age. While there, they do not come into direct contact with people, but are closely monitored and cared for daily by AEF staff members until they have grown to full-size at 13 or 14 weeks of age and are released into the wild. While living in the nesting tower, the eaglets are viewed through one-way mirrored glass windows and fed/watered via sliding drawers, so they do not become "human-imprinted." Prior to their release, the eaglets are fitted with a radio tracking transmitter on their middle tail feather, a colored/numbered marker on their left wing, and a U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service metal band on their right leg/ankle.



2010 Nesting Season Archive

2009 Nesting Season Archive

2008 Nesting Season Archive



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