Minnesota DNR says EagleCam will return after nest falls from tree

DNR theory that snow caused nest to fall, eagles are likely to rebuild nearby

Updated: April 3, 8:24 a.m. | Posted: April 2, 10:12 a.m.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced Sunday morning that the famous Eaglecam nest fell from its perch at around 7:54 a.m.

On the Minnesota Nongame Wildlife Program EagleCam Facebook page, the DNR shared “We wish we weren't writing this post, but the EagleCam nest fell out of the tree early this morning. Staff are onsite assessing the situation.”

A view of the eagle nest as it falls.
A screen grab of the live view as the eagle nest falls from view. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced Sunday morning that the famous Eaglecam nest fell from its perch at around 7:54 a.m.
Screengrab from Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

By 10 a.m., staff noted in an update to the post that the chick in the nest did not survive the fall. DNR staff took the deceased chick into possession.

The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport reported southeast winds gusting in excess of 30 mph around the time the nest fell this morning.

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In an update later on Sunday, the DNR said that it’s unknown why the nest fell, but a likely theory is the weight of snow from the April 1 blizzard “likely became too much weight for the branch to support.”

“The branch was dead and the nest was over 20 years old and weighed over 2,000 pounds,” DNR officials said in the report. “In the area and neighborhood near the nest were many fallen trees and branches from the heavy, wet snow.”

Staff reported the adult eagles were seen flying in the area. It’s not yet known if the pair will rebuild a nest in the same area, but it is likely, according to the EagleCam website.

The DNR said the nesting season is too short for the female eagle to lay another egg, even if the pair found an alternate nest.

“For this year, sadly, the chick season has sadly ended.”

The chick hatched on March 27, and was also caught on the live stream. The live stream also showed the parent eagle covered in snow on Feb. 23, when the nest was holding two eggs. On March 1, the DNR EagleCam recorded that one of the two eggs had broken.

The DNR asks that anyone who is familiar with the location of the nest refrain from visiting the site.

“This was already a major disturbance for the eagles and many visitors will only cause more stress. The nest is on state land and is both State and Federally protected. Trespassing is not allowed in the area,” DNR staff wrote on the EagleCam website.

While the camera remains on, the EagleCam website notes it will alert followers when they plan to turn the camera off for the season, and staff will monitor the area and provide updates about the adult eagles as available.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Minnesota DNR’s EagleCam livestream. It’s attracted viewers from around the nation and 150 other countries.

And even though this year ended in sadness, DNR staff note that the EagleCam will return, “either with a new nest in a new location or the same area.”