Alex LaPierre, Campus Carrier Staff Reporter
The new eaglet, which hatched on campus on Feb. 22, has attracted national attention to Berry and its resident bald eagles.
By Wednesday morning, approximately 3.5 million viewers were recorded on Berry’s eagle nest cam, director of environmental compliance and sustainability Eddie Elsberry said.
Associate professor of biology Renee Carleton received a call from the National Public Radio Wednesday morning for an update on the eagles.
Several individuals on campus are working around the clock to monitor the recent hatchling and egg. While the first egg hatched on Feb. 22, Carleton said that, as of Wednesday afternoon, the second egg would likely not hatch. She said as the hatchling grows, it could pose a threat to the egg, but the parent eagles would continue to incubate or sit on the egg until it deteriorates.
Berry Eagles Facebook
Carleton and Elsberry both said it is not uncommon to have an egg that does not hatch. They noted that severe weather, cold temperatures and the possibility of downed trees could put the hatchling at risk.
“We hope that nothing will happen,” Carleton said.
Carleton said Berry cannot do anything to protect the hatchling because eagles are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.
Under those acts, Carleton said, it is unlawful for anyone to possess feathers or egg shells from the eagles.
Carleton said there is a plan for the hatchling should it fledge and not be able to fly.
She said the eaglet is expected to fledge, or fly from the nest, around late April or early May.
Last year, fledging occurred during the last week of April, Elsberry said.
Assistant vice president for public relations and marketing Jeanne Mathews said there has been a steep rise in eagle cam viewers from last month, when the eagle pair’s second set of eggs were laid.
Carleton said she knows of a viewer from as far away as Australia.
Fielding possible system crashes, Mathews said Berry has taken measures to ensure that the eagle camera will remain stable.
Freshman Sofie De Wandel said she is excited about the new hatchlings. She passes by the nest at least twice a day and watches the eagles often.
“It’s hard not to get distracted by the eagles as they fly overhead,” De Wandel said.
Campus police patrol officer Brian Chandler said there has not been an increase in visitors to campus in relation to the eaglet. Campus police do have a policy for visitors, he said.
“All we do is keep people behind the barriers,” Chandler said.
Chandler said those who cross the barriers are given one warning and that their names are recorded the first time. If they cross the lines again, they are asked to not return to campus.
Elsberry and Carleton said there is another eagle nest on campus, but the nest is not reachable by or visible to the public and is currently protected by the Department of Natural Resources.
The pair of grown eagles who are the parents of the eaglet were first spotted on campus in spring of 2012.