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Video: Bald eagle sits through snowstorm to protect eggs as snow piles on top

Bald Eagle nest at Port Louisa National Wildlife Refuge in Iowa. (Jessica Bolser/US Fish and Wildlife Service)
February 28, 2023

A bald eagle was almost completely buried under a mound of snow that fell on its nest during an intense snowstorm last week, which it had ridden out overnight, perched high in a tree above two newly-laid eggs.

The eagle’s stand against the storm was captured on a 24/7 livestream run by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The moment the eagle stood up from the snow and shook itself off on Thursday can be seen in a YouTube clip uploaded by local news outlet KARE 11. 

The clip also shows the other parent eagle land on the nest and take up position over the eggs after the other eagle flies away.

The eagles knew the storm was coming, according to the Minnesota DNR, and built up the nest with additional material ahead of time. The organization added that the snow itself could actually benefit the eggs.

“The snow will provide insulation for the eggs as they incubate. The eggs are now nestled further down in the soft fur, feathers, leaves and grasses tucked in around them,” a post on Minnesota DNR’s site said.

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The female eagle laid its first egg of the season on Feb. 15 and laid a second egg three days later, according to Minnesota DNR. Chicks are expected to hatch from the eggs in around a month.

When the eggs hatch, the chicks will be viewable 24/7 on YouTube via Minnesota DNR’s Nongame Wildlife EagleCam.

About 12 to 20 inches of snow fell over southern and central Minnesota from Tuesday, Feb. 21 to Thursday, Feb. 23, according to Minnesota DNR. Many communities saw 10 inches or more of snow come down Wednesday night and into Thursday morning, when the eagle emerged from the snow mound.

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Minnesota DNR celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the EagleCam in January, according to a press release. Fifteen chicks have successfully left the nest over that time. Its current female occupant has been using the nest for three years, laying seven eggs and successfully raising five chicks.