2011 Dollywood Nesting Season
Featuring Independence & Franklin
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).
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,
President and Founder
American Eagle Foundation
Update on Fledglings ~
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.
Videos from the 2011 Nesting Season
Tiny Babies - From Nest of Indy & Frank 2011
Before HD cams were positioned on the nest of Indy and Frank, but still good documentation of their careful parenting of their babies: 30:14 minutes.
Babies Graduate to Hack Tower
Adds play first on this video, documenting the pick-up of the babies. 21:41 minutes.
E2 and E3 Graduate to Hack Tower
Eaglets born to Independence and Franklin on May 5 & May 6 were moved to the Hack Tower overlooking Douglas Lake in East Tennessee. They joined the first-hatched of the clutch, E-1, in the same compartment and are doing well.
E1 to Hack Tower June 7, 2011
Eaglet “E-1” , offspring of “Independence” and “Franklin”, and watched by tens of thousands of viewers on our Eagle Nest Cam, was taken to the AEF Hack (release) Tower on Douglas Lake in East Tennessee on June 7, 2011. Two other eaglets also hatched at the American Eagle Foundation were also taken to the Hack Tower at the same time. At about 13-14 weeks, the eaglet swill be released into the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains.