DNR officials respond to EagleCam nest collapse, chick found dead
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS has learned that the EagleCam eagle nest fell after the branch holding the nest collapsed under excessive weight Sunday morning, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
Lori Naumann with the DNR spoke to reporters Sunday afternoon about the situation.
When DNR officials responded to the area Sunday, Naumann said the nest was flipped over.
The remains of the bald eagle chick were found nearby. The nest was more than 100 feet in the air, and the chick reportedly had no chance for survival.
Naumann said the nest was originally built in 2003, and DNR officials have been questioning the strength of the branch for years.
It had grown to about the size of a bass drum and was estimated to weigh 2,000 pounds after years of nesting material buildup along with snow and ice from the recent storm.
“This is what happens in nature and we have no control over it,” Naumann said. “We knew it was a risk to have a camera there.”
Naumann said that the livestream camera will remain in place for the time being.
The adult eagles are still active in the area, and it is possible they will start building another nest in the same tree, Naumann said.
They will not be able to lay eggs and start another brood this year due to the shortened nesting season in the region.
“It’s a hard time, and we appreciate so much the outpouring of condolences and support that we’ve gotten,” Naumann said.
DNR staff will begin a search for another EagleCam location, but Naumann said that several factors have to be considered, including accessibility, electricity, terrain and if the new eagle nest would be disturbed by the DNR activity.
“We can’t disturb bald eagle nests anymore this year because they’re active,” Naumann said, “That would be not only illegal but it would bother them, and they might abandon [the nest].”
Nauman said November would be the earliest time that bald eagles would be inactive.
Anyone who knows the location of the EagleCam nest is being asked to stay away from the federally protected area.
The bald eagle nest shown on the DNR EagleCam livestream fell from the tree it was on just before 8 o’clock Sunday morning.
The Minnesota DNR said on social media that the eagle chick inside the nest did not survive the fall.
Footage from the livestream shows the nest collapsing at 7:54 a.m. It appears the branch holding the nest snapped, likely because of the recent winter storm that left about nine inches of snow across the region.
The DNR EagleCam, which is part of the Minnesota DNR Nongame Wildlife Program, was recently recognized for its tenth anniversary. The entire program is largely funded by donations.
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS reached out to the DNR for more details and will update this story as information becomes available.