Straw, lots of straw, cold temps, and a ton of Eagle Watchers

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After all the excitement of the first egg being laid it is sometimes tough to keep the excitement going. I know we are now in a waiting game to see if another egg will emerge. While we wait many things have developed in the journey of Liberty and Justice.

First, for those that don’t follow all the eagle nests around the world, there were many nests that laid eggs on the same day including the eagles in Decorah, Iowa. It was a busy day to say the least!

As students will notice along with many who are new to the camera Liberty and Justice are amazing parents. They know what they are doing. I know at times our human brain and emotions kick in and we feel bad for the egg or the eagles, but trust me or even more importantly trust Liberty and Justice that they know what to do.

Things that you will start to see if that they will take turns keeping the egg warm. They will rotate the egg every hour or so. There is a reason for this, but I don’t want to ruin all the research and team explorations of the students who begin their online team collaboration later this week. When we raised quail last year we learned the importance of egg rotation

Students and others have expressed concern with the fact that Liberty and Justice leave the egg exposed to the cold or possibly predators. Liberty and Justice are always near the nest. We may not see them, but trust that they are around. There is also a reason for this to happen. They are attempting to cool the egg in hopes that it will slow the egg development. By doing this the eggs will hatch closer to the same date. If the eaglets hatch too many days apart the younger ones have a real hard time staying alive. They grow and develop so fast and it is survival of the fittest. Don’t panic, they are just trying to make sure all their eaglets have a chance to reach adulthood.

I will be recording a podcast this week about the egg process. I hope to share some insight into the egg development. If you have questions let me know and I will be sure to answer them on the podcast.

Many still want to know how to decipher Liberty from Justice. I posted earlier on this blog on this topic, but the easiest way to determine who is who is that Liberty has a black spot on her white feathers. Justice has a smaller head but it is hard to see that at times. The females eagles are bigger than males so when together you can determine them much easier.

Some of you may have noticed a massive amount of straw in the nest. After the nest looking so bare A bale of straw is being delivered to Alcoa. Some straw was left by the nest and L and J discovered it and now so many people are quite happy. It has been a very cold and difficult winter. Today we are back in below zero temps once again so the straw is quite helpful for the egg. You can check out project page to see the nest prior to the 25th to see the difference in the straw. We have another snow storm moving in this weekend where we could get up to six inches of snow. We are so over this snow and cold!

In regards to our global education project I posted to many forums for eagle watchers to mark the location. You are all amazing and I thank you for taking time to stamp the map. Our students are now able to see their audience for their work as well as how amazing the camera has impacted people from all over. THANK YOU to all who took time. Your support of the students and the project is not going unnoticed and only makes the whole community stronger.

I have added a new map to our education project. I think it would be awesome to have showing where all eagle watchers are located. If you can please add your location so students can see how far reaching this camera has become.

Students will begin their research next week so we will start to slowly share out some work. Teachers are getting some cool things accomplished in their classrooms and we hope to share those out soon on the wiki as well.

Lastly, if anyone ever wants to guest post on this blog just get a hold of me. I would love to have other voices on this blog as things progress.

Alright, back to eagle watching and staying warm.


Liberty lays first egg on 2.23.14

Finally, after waiting and waiting we have our first egg!

I am so excited. I know there was some nervous people worried about Liberty and Justice possibly nesting elsewhere and so many intruders in the nest as of late that we just were not sure what we were going to get.

Then last night Liberty settled in and laid the first egg of the season

Even better Eaglewhisperer18 actually captured it on video. It happened around 6:20-6:25 PM CST


I missed the event by about 20 minutes. I was wrapping up homework with my son and when we checked we saw all the excitement.

Last night everyone shared the first glimpse


This morning an awesome eagle watcher, Mavis, shared this image of the egg when Liberty and Justice swapped egg warming duties.





It is official!

Now we wait to see if another egg will show up over the next few days. For those that are new there will always be Liberty or Justice in the nest. I will post about the brood patch as well as try to answer or find answers to any questions that you have.

As always, we are keeping a running log on our project page so if you get any good shots let me know or add them yourself –

As always I give much thanks to all the eagle watchers and groups that help me stay current with the events of the nest. There is a wonderful community that really reaches out helps me quite a bit.

Update Knowledge on Eagle with Bad Beak

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I reached out to Peter Sharpe, Ph.D. of the Institute for Wildlife Studies in California about the eagle we captured in photo when visiting Lock and Dam 14.

He responded with the following information which I found interesting.

I can’t tell if that is a deformity or an injury. It almost looks like the middle section was broken off. If that it the case, then it may grow back slowly. I think it can still eat because it has the tearing parts of the beak still.

This is not a specific answer, but what I found interesting is the chance that the beak might actually grow back. I will have to do more research on this topic because I never thought that the beak was something that would regrow. 

You can learn more about Peter Sharpe at

I am hoping that we can find time to do an interview and podcast, but he did state that he is ready to be out on a project surveying and banding birds. I will keep you posted if we can arrange anything.

If you know anymore about the beak leave a comment. A very interesting topic for students and eagle fans to explore.

Something for you to chew on and sling your opinion


Here is the story shared here on our local news WQAD

Watch the story here and then come back to this blog and let me know what your thoughts are on this idea.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic

Eagle photographers launch fish for the perfect picture via @wqad

Snow Melting In The Nest

Today the weather has turned up a bit and brought a heat wave!


After receiving six inches of snow yesterday and having some unusual Thundersnow storms come through the heat is melting the snow out of the nest.

This is good to see snow no longer in the nest, but it leaves another mess – PUDDLES

I capture the video just to give you a sense of the water in the nest. We will have to watch to see how they handle this situation.

Over on Edmodo, students are voting about when they think the first egg will be laid and how many. We still have a lot of students yet to vote, but here are the current results as well as how many eggs will be laid.

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Last, I have reached out to some experts for upcoming podcast episodes.

And I working to backfill our calendar of nest images and details. If you have a good image or good information to share for any of these days please feel free to join the wiki and help out. I will be going back to the forums and online communication channels to fill in the spots.

Until next time…..

A visit to Lock and Dam #14, Project Upate, Wiki Request, and more!

This past weekend my parents were in town. After seeing so many pictures online of eagles that are just breathtaking I knew I had to get down to Lock and Dam #14. Keep in mind I only have an iPad so many of the pictures are not considered breathtaking by any means. My dad does have a nice camera so he tested out his lens and was able to capture some great shots. It was cold as it was only 9 degrees. I have some video to share and will work on a new video this week as well.

I hope these images provide some new images for you and maybe develops new questions and things to think about.Let me know if you have anything you want to know more about. We are currently drafting our next podcast episode to be released later this week and we will include your questions in the podcast.

Looking ahead towards our global education project……..

As we move forward in our global project students will begin to form teams on various topics based on bald eagles.

Here are the current topics for teams

Team 1A: Birds of Prey Team 1B: Habitat Team Team 1C: Symbolism and cultural influence of the bald eagle Team 1D: Protection and laws for bald eagle Team 1E: Lifespan of a bald eagle Team 1F: Anatomy of a bald eagle

As we move forward if you have a topic that you think might be better for students to investigate or explore please let me know. These are the topics we covered last year, but always looking to make things better.

Now, to go back to our visit to Lock and Dam we viewed easily over 50 eagles. One eagle in particular really struck us. Check out the images below. The beak of this eagle is not right. We were trying to figure out if the eagle was born that way or the beak was lost in battle or problem with survival. Has anyone ever seen anything like this? Do you happen to know any more?

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Last, we wanted to show the talons of the eagles. They are nothing to mess around with. Seeing them in person makes you realize how lethal eagles are to their prey. I know it is not easy to see from the nest camera so we wanted to show an image for the students. So cool!

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As we wrap up, we are still waiting for an egg in the nest. We are expected to have another 4-6 inches of snow today with freezing rain mixed in. We must stay patient.

I added one more page to the wiki

To all of you who take high quality images of eagles I would love to have you share your work with the students from around the world.