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Florida bald eagle hatchlings nearly here: Magical moments await bird lovers

  • January 19, 2022


Bald eagle steals Florida man’s shark

A bald eagle swoops in as a man fishes in Dunedin, Florida.
Courtesy: Amanda Rissman

Will you be watching a magical sight unfold in the natural world this week, thanks to an amazing selection of live webcams?

A pair of brand-new bald eagle chicks in Northeast Florida will soon make their debut — and bird lovers and many others can observe the blessed event in real time via livestreams provided by the American Eagle Foundation (AEF). 

“Hatch watch begins Friday [Jan. 21, 2022], but our volunteers will be watching closely these next few days just in case anything happens sooner,” the foundation’s community coordinator, Crystal Slusher, told Fox News Digital this week.

“This is always a special time of the nesting season for us and our viewing community,” she added.

One of the adult eagles tends the nest, as seen in this live-cam shot from the American Eagle Foundation taken on Dec. 20, 2021. 
(American Eagle Foundation)

In the past 30 days, the Northeast Florida Bald Eagle Nest Cam has had more than 2 million views of its birds. 

As hatch watch gets fully underway, daily viewership is likely to soar.

The nest, affectionately called “The Hamlet,” is anchored high in the branches of a slash pine at an undisclosed location in Northeast Florida. 

Thanks to high-definition cameras mounted on the tree, viewers can enjoy the hatching process from multiple angles 24/7.

An eagle cam has allowed devoted bird watchers to get this up-close glimpse (and many, many more) of one of the stunning eagle parents on and around the pair’s nest in Northeast Florida.
(American Eagle Foundation)

Samson, the male eagle and dad, was himself hatched in this very same nest in 2013. He and Gabrielle, the female, became a bonded pair in 2019, according to AEF’s website. 

This is the couple’s third nesting season; they’ve had three successful hatches in the past.

Gabrielle laid her two-egg clutch on two separate days, on December 17 and December 20, 2021. For now, the unhatched eaglets are called NE26 and NE27. 

The numbers 26 and 27 represent the total number of eggs laid in this nest. 

Samson and Gabrielle have been tending their third nest together since before Christmas. Viewers of the American Eagle Foundation’s live webcams have been watching the nest with — yes — eagle eyes! 
(American Eagle Foundation)

And yes — NE26 and NE27 will receive new names after they hatch. 

“[Samson] chose a great mate in Gabrielle. Over the three years they’ve resided at [this] nest, their bond has strengthened considerably,” Gretchen Butler, who visits the nest almost daily at dusk, told Fox News Digital. 

Butler has monitored the Northeast Florida eagles’ nest for 15 years for Audubon’s EagleWatch Program and partnered with AEF in 2013 on the installation of the cameras viewers now enjoy. 

(You can watch the live bald eagle cam right here, below.)

“I love these eagles like family,” Butler also told Fox News Digital. “Many do.”

Since eggs take about 35 days to hatch, the first “pip” — a small hole in the egg that the eaglet creates from inside — should occur Friday. It can take 24-48 hours, sometimes longer, however, for an eaglet to fully emerge from its shell after the first pip.

The American Eagle Foundation established a corporate partnership with singer-songwriter star Dolly Parton’s Dollywood Company in 1990. 

Together, they developed the United States Eagle Center in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. 

Parton, a benefactor to this day, turns 76 on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022.

Slasher, with the American Eagle Foundation, emphasized that assisting colleagues in furthering an inspiring mission is both a joy and a passion. 

“Working for AEF is like a dream come true,” she said.

Another view of one of the magnificent eagle parents sitting on the nest in Northeast Florida. This image was snapped on Jan. 17, 2022, via the webcam. Bird lovers are eagerly awaiting the appearance of the hatchlings — the first “pip” is expected Friday.
(American Eagle Foundation )

The American Eagle Foundation runs a chat feature alongside its live webcams, and on Tuesday night, Jan. 18, 2022, one of the administrators wrote, “Thank you all for being here tonight. The excitement builds … Keep your eyes on the nest, and keep yourselves healthy and safe. Thank you so much to all our team members tonight.”


Wisely, the organization also cautions on its website that “anything can happen” in a wild eagle nest. 

“While we hope that all eaglets hatched in this nest will grow up healthy and successfully fledge each season, things like sibling rivalry, predators, natural disaster as well as territorial disputes can affect this eagle family and may be difficult to watch.”


You can join others on the hatch watch via the YouTube live link up above in this article. 

The bald eagle has been the national bird of the United States since 1782.

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