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Monday, April 4, 2011

Bald eagles have landed 10 million fans online as spy cameras stream live video of their chicks being hatched and fed


Loving attention: The proud parents of the two baby bald eagles guard their newborns in the nest 80ft up a tree overlooking a trout stream in Decorah, Iowa. One more egg will be hatched this week

Here's a bird's eye view of two bald eagle chicks hatching that has caused an internet sensation.

The live feed from two spy cameras has attracted 10 million views - so many the site crashed after the first eaglet emerged in Decorah, Iowa on Friday.

Three eggs were laid in the nest 80 feet up in a cottonwood tree overlooking a trout stream, in late February.

Hatched: A secret camera streams live video of the bald eagles keeping watch over the newly-hatched babies

The first baby started to emerge from its shell last Friday. The second hatched at 5.30am today and the third is expected later this week.

Every move the chicks are making, from feeding and being kept warm by their parents, is being filmed minute by minute by the cameras hidden under leaves.

The Raptor Resource Project is streaming live video to the web, where people from all over the world can log on and peek at the eagles.

The surge in traffic meant access to the stream was sketchy while Raptor staff fixed the technical glitch.

Resting: The eaglets have been fed and now the parents take turns to sit on the nest and keep the babies warm

Project director Bob Anderson, who controls the camera angles with a joystick from a nearby shed, said: 'It's so big everybody's having problems.

'It's huge, the world loves it. I have had bird cams for 20 years ... I'm in shock, I'm in awe.'

Anderson recently took on two volunteers to help man the cameras so he could get some sleep and respond to hundreds of e-mails from eagle fans around the world.

The video feed reports more than 100,000 people are watching at any given time. One of the cameras - the size of a grapefruit - is equipped with infrared light for night-time viewing.

Since they first built the nest four years ago, the pair of eagles have raised eight chicks.

During last year's nesting season, the site recorded 10 million hits and about 78,000 unique visitors who watched three eaglets hatch then.

Briton Sue Thomas, 66, has been watching the nest from her home in Norfolk.

She said: 'We have it on all the time. It's just lovely to see what the little baby eagles are doing. It's amazing to see creation going on in such a happy way.'

The eagles, like most native to Iowa, do not migrate and live in the nest year-round. The chicks should be with them until July.

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source: dailymail


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