Wildlife experts band eagle chicks on tax day

The three eaglets featured on the DNR’s popular EagleCam had metal bands placed on their legs today as part on an ongoing research project. Today was chosen to band the eaglets because they are about six weeks old, which is the perfect age for banding.

In addition, today is tax day. Why is this significant for banding eagle chicks? Because the generous donations to the Nongame Wildlife Program on state income tax forms provided the funding for EagleCam. The live video feed will be available during the entire nesting season.

The chicks were measured and weighed and were fitted with light-weight silver U.S. Wildlife Service bands that will help identify them throughout their lives.

The sex of the chicks was determined to be one male and two females.

Chicks are banded at about six weeks because they are old enough for the band to fit their growing legs, but are too young to jump out of the nest when approached.

The chicks were not harmed and the parents will not abandon them; they have invested too much time at this stage to leave their chicks and are not bothered by human scent.

The adult female eagle has been wearing a band since 2010.

A private bander, Mark Martell, and staff from DNR Nongame Wildlife Program did the banding.
The chicks will leave the nest or “fledge” sometime in mid-to-late June.

Xcel Energy provided the bucket truck and crew to retrieve the chicks. Xcel provides this service to the DNR each year without a fee. The DNR and the Nongame Program extends sincere appreciation to Xcel Energy for providing their excellent staff and resources.

This research is paid for by donations to the Nongame Wildlife Program: www.dnr.state.mn.us/nongame/donate/index.html.

Photos, stories and updates are available on Nongame’s Facebook page. www.facebook.com/MinnesotaNongameWildlifeProgram