The Decorah Eagles: Recap of 2011 - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

The Decorah Eagles: Recap of 2011

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Eggs beginning to hatch at the beginning of April Eggs beginning to hatch at the beginning of April
Growing bigger every day in April Growing bigger every day in April
Close-up in May Close-up in May
Starting to hop and fly in June Starting to hop and fly in June

It's certainly had people, including us, glued to our computers for the past few months.  The Decorah Eagle Camera will be shutting down soon.  It's part of the Raptor Resource Project, an organization working toward the preservation of birds like eagles, falcons, and hawks.

"She's getting up! She's getting up! Turn, turn turn!" said Bob Anderson at the end of April.

Bob Anderson was manning the Eagle Cam back at the end of April.  The first egg was laid February 23rd, and anticipation was building through the months of March and April to see the first one hatch.  The nest is located in the backyard of Willard and Mary Ellen Holthaus.

Bob Anderson, with the Raptor Resource Project, chose it because it's next to a busy road and he figured if the eagles didn't mind cars driving by, they would tolerate him and his camera.

"We could light of firecrackers, cherry bombs around and the female would not get off her eggs. They're just extremely tolerant of mankind," Anderson said.

Unlike cameras in the past, the camera in 2011 has tilt and zoom controls, making for incredible images of the first egg that hatched April second.  The second would hatch a day later.  Both early birds were ready to start eating right away, and they grew very quickly.  The third eaglet would slowly crack from its shell on the sixth of April.

As we adored the little eaglets, many feared what would become of them, with an owl attack just a week later.  But the eagle parents were able to defend the nest on all occasions.

A month later, the UStream webcam would become the most-watched live webcam of all time,  passing 100 million views.

In mid-May we watched as the eaglets down coat was replaced by black feathers, all the while their muscles gaining strength with every meal they consumed for the eventual first flight.

The eaglets personalities started to show through at the beginning of June, close up images made us wonder if they could tell that they're being watched.

By the middle of June, the eaglets were hopping and starting to branch out, all to eventually fledge the nest, learning to hunt as their parents continue feeding them for the next month or so.

As of June 23rd, the camera had more than 159 million views.  The Raptor Resource Project has been observing the parent bald eagles since 2007.  2009 was the first time they went online with a camera.  They fledged 2 eaglets in 2008, 3 in 2009, 3 in 2010 and another three this year.

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