Before the season starts I’d like to review the history of the MNB/BBC cam and how it came to be where it is. Some of this will be speculation as we can’t be sure of all the details.
In 2010 Broadband Corp placed a cam in a tree with an eagles nest that was several miles away from the present nest. That nest was taken over by a Great Horned Owl for its egg laying season and the eagles did not use it that year. Great Horned Owls do not build nests and resort to squatting on nests built by other large raptors. We saw that happen at the Fox River nest last year (or was it the year before?).
The next year, 2011, the cam was moved to the present location in the mighty cottonwood tree. It was placed on the branch below what is now the cam mount and didn’t have a very good view of the nest. Very few people watched the cam that year but it is known that 2 eaglets hatched and fledged from the nest that year.
In 2012 (Harmon’s year) the cam was moved to the trunk of the tree directly above the nest. It was a fixed cam that only had a digital zoom and pan capability however it gave us a much better view of the nest. That was a really good thing as it allowed us to see all of the drama that happened to Kirby and Harmon. The year started with very few viewers but as we all know that changed when Kirby had his unfortunate mishap and Harmon got stuck in the nest. Viewership went through the roof and the nest became very popular. Harmon was rescued, spent a weekend at the spa, and was placed back in the nest to await Mom and Dad’s return. They did return and Harmon entertained us with his antics until he fledged.
In 2013 BBC outdid themselves with an all new mount that moved the cam to a much better position off the trunk and they mounted a remote controllable Pan, Tilt, and Zoom High Definition cam that gave us spectacular views of the nest and surrounding areas. Great close-ups and wonderful videos resulted during the 2013 season. We had our best views ever of laying, pipping, hatching and the eaglets as they grew to fledge.
Towards the end of the season the cam was damaged by, we think, one of the eaglets landing on it and that limited the PTZ capabilities. We limped through the end of the season and saw Peace and Harmony fledge and start their journey to becoming the apex predators they were hatched to be.
For 2014 the cam which was damaged in 2013 has been replaced with a new version of the cam we had last year. The mount has been modified to better mount the cam and to keep it safer for and from the eaglets. The infrared light which blew out last year has been replaced so we will be able to view at night this year. The power system has had some problems also and those are in the process of being fixed. Hopefully all will be in order by the weekend so we can be live but it is weather dependent now as it has been too cold to work on the installation. I will be happy if we get the cam up just in time to see Mom lay the first egg of the season.
Speaking of Mom and Dad (was I?) one of the most popular questions we get is “how old are they?”. We will never know for sure but some pictures were found of the 2011 season last year. It was determined from those that this pair has been on the nest all of the years that a cam has been in this tree.
There was speculation in 2012 that became “common knowledge” that Dad was new at the start of the 2012 season. Sorry to say that is not true. The pictures show that it was the same male in 2011 as in 2012.
So how old ARE they?? Local knowledge says the nest had been there for ~7 years prior to the cam being placed in the tree in 2011. Is this the same pair that originally built the nest?? We will never know. We have been guessing their ages to be 8 & 9 years old(about the minimum they could be) but given that we do not know when they matured or if they built this nest they could be as much as 15-16 years old. It really doesn’t matter how old they are as they are mature eagles in the prime of life that are healthy and producing new eaglets every year for us to watch and cheer on to fledging.
Update March 2nd: It was confirmed with BBC today that the original nest(the owl takeover nest) was at least 6 miles as the eagle soars away from the present nest. Given the territoriality of eagles and the fact that the present nest has been here for ~ 10 years now it is unlikely that the pair of eagles we have been watching for the last 2+ years are the same ones that had their nest stolen by the owl.
Thats as much as I know of the history of the MN Bound Eagle Nest. If anyone has verifiable information I can add to this or that corrects any of this info I would be glad to hear it. Please leave it in the comments section and I will get back to you about it as soon as I can. Thanks!
Well, time to wrap this up and I will see you on the nest!
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to post them below. Also, we'll be updating our official MN Bound LIVE Eagles Facebook Page regularly so you can follow along, like, or share with your friends. We have several site moderators this year to help give optimal information to all that want to learn more about these magnificent birds.