In March, I wrote a HuffPost blog about my family's ongoing obsession with a pair of bald eagles who have been taking turns sitting on their three eggs in a one-and-a-half-ton nest near Decorah, Iowa. Their activities are captured on a 24/7 video stream courtesy of the Raptor Resource Project (RRP).
We have waited not-so-patiently throughout the month of March and now it seems the eaglets are finally ready to greet their adoring public. Over the past few days, the nest has been made fluffier and the bowl is getting deeper. Prey has been brought in and both eagles have been very active.
My family is not the exception when it comes to getting ridiculously close to the computer screen looking for the first crack in an egg. In one month, the viewer count has risen from 6,000 computers to 140,000 computers. People in offices, nursing homes, courthouses, and schools are tuned in. Dinners are burning. Children are being ignored. Church is being skipped. All because viewers do not want to miss the moment when the eaglets make their first appearance.
I am usually a HuffPost legal commentator -- not an eagle commentator -- but here is some information and advice for readers who are watching the eagles for the first time.
Call the eagles "Mom" and "Dad." The moderators remind viewers that the eagles are not pets and should not be given names. The more you watch, the easier it will be for you to tell the difference between the two birds. Mom is a little larger than Dad and has a gray shadow under her eyes.
Be patient. To hatch, the eaglet uses the egg tooth on the tip of its beak to put a small hole in the shell. This is called a pip hole or pipping. After the first crack, it takes between 4 to 48 hours for the eaglets to completely hatch.
Try to join the chat that is located to the right of the video. It is moderated and answers questions from viewers.
Watch the fascinating PBS special to find out about this pair of eagles and how the Raptor Resource Project gained access to their incredible home.
Be prepared for an uncensored view of nature. Young children who are watching may be upset by dead rabbits or other animals being brought to the nest for lunch. There is also a chance that the eaglets could be stolen from the nest by raccoons or crows.
If you have never tuned into the Decorah eagles, you are probably wondering what all of the fuss is about. But once you do, you will see that it is nothing short of extraordinary. I would tell you more about it but I need to get back to Hatch Watch. Thanks again to the Raptor Resource Project for sharing this breathtaking family with the world.