Once pushed to the brink of extinction, the American bald eagle has become a poster child for the value of endangered species laws, and now a pair of the iconic birds will be playing a part in the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) efforts to get more young people and families excited about the great outdoors.
Starting Feb. 5, live video from a nesting pair of bald eagles will be featured on the DNR’s website at www.eaglecam.dnr.state.mn.us. A video camera was installed above the nest late last year with help from an Xcel Energy crew with a boom truck, and Floyd Security. Located in the Twin Cities metro region, the eagle nest already contains three eggs that are expected to hatch sometime in early to mid-February. The DNR is not disclosing the exact location of the nest to prevent it from drawing crowds that might disrupt the eagles.
“Unlike a lot of major metropolitan areas, the Twin Cities still has some pretty spectacular natural areas where wildlife such as eagles can flourish,” said Keith Parker, the DNR’s Central Region director. “We’re hoping that people will get excited watching this eagle family and get out to one of our state, county or city parks to experience nature first-hand.”
The eagle camera was paid for by DNR’s Nongame Wildlife program, which is largely funded by donations, especially those made when Minnesotans file their state income and property taxes. Lines on the Minnesota income tax form and property tax form, marked with a drawing of a loon, give taxpayers the option to donate to the program, a feature often referred to as the “chickadee check-off.”
The Nongame Wildlife program works to protect and preserve more than 800 species of animals in the state that are not traditionally hunted or harvested. In addition to bald eagles, populations of species such as trumpeter swans, loons, and American white pelicans directly benefit by contributions to the check-off. Citizens can personally help Minnesota wildlife by donating on their tax forms, or directly online at www.mndnr.gov/nongame/checkoff.