Alex Gumm | June 23, 2018
Bald eagles at Notre Dame research facility prepare to leave the nest.
In February 2018, a pair of bald eagle eggs were laid at a nest at Notre Dame's Linked Experimental Ecosystem Facility (ND-LEEF). The live cam capturing their hatching and development has attracted viewers around the world.
The in-nest eagle camera provides a rare perspective into the day-to-day life of the bald eagles. Of particular interest is their diet. Eagles consume mainly fish and other vertebrates associated with aquatic ecosystems. Although eagles are no longer endangered, it is still important to understand their food and habitat needs in a variety of areas so wildlife managers can ensure their continued resurgence across the United States.
The location of the nest at ND-LEEF is unusual in that there is only one nearby body of water, the St. Joseph River. As such, the river is likely the pair’s prime hunting location. By analyzing both the species and sizes of the eagles’ prey, researchers will have a better idea of the diversity and availability of food to eagles. Fisheries managers survey the St. Joseph River every year to characterize the fish community. However, because eagles are constantly hunting the river for fish, they can provide a more complete picture of the fish community than traditional fisheries surveys, which use electrofishing and nets.
Read more here.