With the eagle nesting season approaching, staff at the Carolina Raptor Center in Huntersville wanted to have everything ready for the future babies by the first of the year.
Sticks and mulch were laid to provide extra bedding in the nest. A tarp was added to let some sun shine through but not let the future eaglets get too warm.
The hope, says bird curator Amber Rosintoski, was to finish the nest early enough so mating eagles Savannah and Derek could get used to their new surroundings for a bit. In years past, Savannah has typically laid her eggs in late January.
But the new year brought a bit of a surprise.
Early in the morning last Wednesday, an egg was spotted by someone watching the Eagle Cam over the nest. The camera is hosted by WCNC-TV at www.wcnc.com/news/local/eagle-cam.
Two days later, a second egg appeared.
Rosintoski says it’s possible a third egg could come. If it does, it likely would appear in the nest by Monday.
In the meantime, she says Savannah and Derek are starting to spend more time at the nest. That’s a sign the eagles are beginning to bond with the eggs.
The typical gestation period for eagles is 35 days, so the eggs could begin to hatch around Feb. 8, Rosintoski said.
The babies will spend about six weeks with their parents before they’re moved to an artificial nest inside of a Hack Tower. A few weeks later, the birds will be prepped for release.
The center closed the main portion of its eagle aviary on Jan. 1 for nesting season. But people can still catch a glimpse of the eagles at a $25 guided Eagle Research Conservatory tour held on Saturdays.
The future weeks also could bring discussion about what to name the new eaglets.
Last year’s eaglet was named Carolina in a nod to the Democratic National Convention held this past September.
But the name is not the top priority at the moment.
“Right now,” Rosintoski says, “we’re just hoping for healthy babies.”