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Webcams Catch Eagle Hatchlings

At Blackwater and Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuges and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's National Conservation Training Center, there's an excited buzz: The eagles have hatched – or are about to do so. And now, thanks to the wonders of live webcams, you can get so close you feel you are practically in the nest.

At Blackwater, a 27,000-acre refuge on Maryland's Eastern Shore and a major stop on the Atlantic Flyway, two eagles hatched March 2 and March 3 – just as a winter snowstorm hit the area. See the chicks here: http://www.friendsofblackwater.org/camhtm2.html. The nonprofit Friends of Blackwater have been posting thrilled updates at their blog: http://friendsofblackwater.org/wordpress/eagle09.

"Well, we're off to an exciting start to our 2009 Eagle Cam season!" read a March 3 post. "We've never had chicks hatch into bad weather before, and to be honest, we were more than a little worried about them since we know eaglets have perished at other cam nests when hatching into storms. But we caught a break with the weather in that the storm moved through rather quickly (although it left a lot of snow) and our parents have been doing an amazing job – as a team – to keep the eaglets safe and fed."

At Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center in Virginia, a webcam caught the hatching of two eaglets, born six days apart, in late February. "They are drawing attention. They seem to be well taken care of," said volunteer Jack Keene.

At the Service's National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, W.V., an eagle cam, accessible at http://www.fws.gov/nctc/cam/eaglecam.htm, is focused on a nest that may include hatchlings in mid-March. Eagle eggs normally hatch after a 35- to 45-day incubation period. The NCTC eagle cam has had more than 32,000 hits since it went live.

Last Update: November 23, 2009

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