The Iowa-based Raptor Resource Project works to foster population growth among threatened bird populations throughout the midwest. They manage 23 nests, educate others in nest-site management, and — best of all for those living far from the wilderness — maintain several webcams at their sites. You can follow several families online, including falcons, owls and osprey.
But the most popular live stream keeps track of these bald eagles in Decorah, Iowa. While we were typing up this post, we had the stream up in another window: Along with about 90,000 other viewers, we watched one of the eagles sheltering three eaglets from a strong wind, 80 feet high in the snow-covered nest. The other was presumably out hunting. (The RRP’s blog has a nice explanation of how the parents protect their young from cold and snow, both in the moment and through smart nest design.) The video above shows the 24-hour hatching of their first egg, on April 1st and April 2nd, edited down to just 10 minutes.
Sheerly Avni is a San Francisco-based arts and culture writer. Her work has appeared in Salon, LA Weekly, Mother Jones, and many other publications. You can follow her on twitter at @sheerly.