Eagle nest ready for its close up

The eagle is landing. With signs of the majestic birds in and around the Millennium Trail nest, Yukon Electrical staff activated the company's popular Eagle Cam last week.

The eagle is landing.

With signs of the majestic birds in and around the Millennium Trail nest, Yukon Electrical staff activated the company’s popular Eagle Cam last week.

“One eagle has been spotted in the area of the nest since about the 15th of January,” said Yukon Electrical’s Laura Carlson.

Carlson said a local eagle watcher has a photo of a bird – likely the male – sitting in the nest earlier this month. New twigs and talon marks are also visible.

Depending on food supplies, the eagle pair that call that nest home may never have left for the winter, Carlson said. “As long as they can find food they may have only gone a little ways away or may have stayed in the Whitehorse area. It’s not completely unexpected.”

Though they spend winters apart, eagles usually mate for life and will return to the same place every year to raise their young.

“The biologist has indicated that one of the reasons we may be seeing the male … is that he’s already defending the territory. So that’s a good sign for them to come back to the nest,” she said.

The family of two adult eagles and their three offspring became worldwide celebrities online when the camera on their nest went live for the first time last year. Between May and September the site received more than a million hits from around the world.

“It was straight across all of Canada and most of the U.S. But we got inquiries from Mexico, Singapore, all over Europe – Germany, Czech, England,” Carlson said.

“We had a number of people following us out of Australia. It’s quite widespread all across the world.”

Fans were able to watch the chicks hatch and grow before eventually fledging and flying away.

This year Yukon Electrical is hoping to partner with groups like Tourism Yukon to capitalize on the popularity.

“Once the weather gets a little bit better we will be hosting more on-site activities – nest-side viewing and bringing in experts so people can come down and ask questions.”

Last year’s chicks quickly endeared themselves to fans.

“You saw the three chicks really acting like siblings. I can think of one instance where we, for 10 minutes, watched the three of them basically argue over the placement of a stick,” Carlson recalled.

At one point all three young birds had the single stick in their beak.

“I’m thinking, this is just like my kids in the back seat of the car. Fighting over whatever,” she said.

Like any celebrities, Whitehorse’s on-camera eagles were the subject of rumours, the most persistent of which was that a chihuahua was brought up to the nest and killed.

That is untrue, Carlson said.

“They do eat a lot of ground squirrels and I think that maybe sometimes those things … there were some pretty fat ones that came into the nest, but no dogs.”

The project is designed to offer “a little education about the North and certainly a view into a great family story,” said Carlson.

Contact Ashley Joannou at

ashleyj@yukon-news.com

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