2013 Dollywood Nesting Season
Featuring Independence & Franklin
They grow so fast. It seems impossible that tiny bobbleheads, unsteady and tottering, can be ready to embark on their own journeys in just 13 short weeks. We Kindred Spirits of this ever-so-special nest, have gathered once again to document the birth and development of 2 little twin eaglets, both hatched out on May 2, 2013 to non-releasable Bald Eagles Independence and Franklin.
In an effort to make the viewing experience even better than last year, 2 new tilt-pan-zoom cameras were purchased and installed, providing clearer viewing than we’ve ever had before. We added a second provider to stream Cam 2 – with colors and resolution that made us gasp with disbelief. We could zoom in as if we were only inches away, able to see the tiniest of tiny things – and then zoom out for a larger view.
These Alaskan Bald Eagle parents gifted the world with 2 eggs laid 3 days apart; March 23 at 7:55 p.m. EST, and March 26, 2013 at 8:46 p.m. EST. Indy, predictably, began to incubate in earnest only after the second egg was laid.
On May 2, 2013, 37 days after the 2nd egg was laid, both eggs hatched. E1 entered the world at 3:51 p.m.; E2 at 10:48 p.m.
We were in love all over again.
A scrapbook of memories… with special thanks to AEF Eagle Nest Cam Chatters
who contributed such incredibly beautiful photos.
A special Thank You to Chatter Barb Wilber for creating this video.
Eggs | Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week Six | Hack Tower | Videos
And then, after waiting through the end of March, all of April, and into May, we were finally on Pip Watch!
Week Three – Getting bigger, weathering a rainstorm.
Why send the eaglets to the hack tower?
We must transfer the eaglets from the Dollywood Park environment to imprint them to much more typical bald eagle habitat that they can view from AEF’s Douglas Lake hack site.
This usually needs to be done between 5.5 and 6.5 weeks age, or whenever they can see over the top of their nest.
AEF constructs their nest with steep and somewhat high edges so that the eaglets can remain with their parents, and on camera, longer than otherwise. If the eagles are allowed to remain in the nest too long, they begin to climb atop the nest, as one already has a few times.
The transfer to the hack tower needs to be made just before the eaglet(s) begins to peer downward to the ground and Park at about a 45 degree angle. They could then possibly see AEF staff placing food on the ground inside the aviary, so that the eagle parents can deliver it to the eaglets in the nest. This could easily result in the eaglet’s permanently associating humans as their food source, and thus not learning to fish for themselves, and therefore risk starving to death.
Likewise, if the eaglets get too familiar with the Dollywood Park patrons by viewing them from 80 feet away for a few weeks, they would tend to lose their wildness to the degree that their well-being would be significantly diminished. One or both eaglets could therefore be transferred at any time to their survival in the wild.
Even under the best of conditions, only about 50% of eagles survive their first year in the wild (90 % each year thereafter), due primarily to their inexperience in the wild and lack of knowledge about threats to their survival.
In summary, we want to imprint our released eagles on typical bald eagle habitat where they can learn how to survive in the wild.
Contributed by Bob Hatcher: Eagle Consultant and Correspondent at American Eagle Foundation (AEF). Past: TN Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA)
Videos to Enjoy
These, like many of the photos above, were captured by the Chatters who watched our nest during the season. It really “takes a village” to document a nesting season, and we are eternally grateful to all of them.
Egg Cracks, Baby is Pipping!
May 2, 2013, 11:55 a.m. EST
2:38 minute clip / Spectacular video / From Pris (Eaglewhisperer18).
Huge crack in egg on right; more pips on egg on left
Tight, tight zoom at 18 seconds in.
At about 42 seconds, feathers actually appear outside of shell.
Adult eagle fluffs nesting material by eggs – being so careful!
First Baby Hatches
Video clip 1:09 minutes
May 2, 2013 – approx. 3:50 p.m. EST
Baby fully out of egg. Great zooming.
Evening Feeding - Tiny Babies
Feeding – evening, May 3, 2013
With music – Clip is 1:46 minutes.
By naimoj – Wonderful. Sharp, well done!
Close-up of Babies - Not Feeding
By Calle 391 – May 4, 2013
Clip is 2:15 minute
View of Feeding from Cam 2 (overhead)
This is a view of feeding from Cam 2 (high def cam, overhead view)
May 4, 2013 – By Yamibike
Clip is 5:15 minutes. Very clear, excellent.
Intense Thunderstorm - Mom Shields Babies
Independence holds firm protecting Eaglets from intense thunderstorm. Mumbrella
By Yamibike Mike – 6:25 minutes.
Infrared cam (night viewing)
Indy Feeds "Rail Baby"
American Eagle Foundation’s Indy feeds rail baby on the rails. Too cute!! Rail Baby’s continued adventurous activity will trigger the removal of the eaglets from the nest to a safer larger enclosure at the hack tower on June 15.
By Oulaigledare (Suzie Cooper)
We’re Gonna Miss You Guys!
June 13, 2013 – 5:29 minutes
With music, edited by Naimoj
Our eaglets are 6 weeks, 2 days old in this video. Stretching their already-massive wings, practicing for flights to come later. They have had a great beginning. Secure and healthy, they will finish their growth in the ample enclosures in the hack tower, overlooking lake and trees, waiting their turn to join the dance of life.
Baby Pick-up. Graduation to Hack Tower.
Eaglets are removed from the nest
June 15, 2013 – 21:41 minutes
UStream Recording – Advertisement plays first, but wait for real video!
Eaglets Taken to Hack Tower June 16, 2013
Excellent video with commentary.