The incident was captured on the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' EagleCam, which monitored the eagles and their offspring.
Motherly instincts are innate behaviors that animals possess to care for their offspring. These instincts can be observed in a wide range of animals, including mammals, birds and reptiles, and this recent story highlights how eagles are no exception. On February 22, while braving a snowstorm, a bald eagle in Minnesota buried herself up to her neck in the snow while tending to her two eggs, per USA TODAY. Despite being buried in snow, the eagle managed to shake it off by morning and also rolled her eggs over to ensure they stayed warm, reported Lori Naumann, the spokesperson for the Nongame Wildlife Program in Minnesota's Department of Natural Resources.
A still image from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' EagleCam shows a bald eagle nearly buried by fresh snow early Thursday.— Sridhar M (@sridhar_m05) February 24, 2023
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources pic.twitter.com/GBRgDZQB4o
The incident was captured by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' EagleCam, which operates round the clock, allowing wildlife officials to monitor the eagle and her partner as they anticipate the arrival of their offspring in the Twin City metro area. According to Naumann, the area was hit by a snowstorm on February 22 going into the very next day. In the six-hour period between midnight and 6:00 a.m. on February 23, the area received 3.2 inches of snow. Melissa Dye, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Twin Cities, Minnesota, reported that just after midnight, the temperature reached 18 degrees in the area so for the Eagle mother her priority was to keep her eggs safe.
To keep the eggs warm, eagles bury them in a hole called a bole, surrounded by leaves, sticks, grasses and branches, Naumann explained. The eagles also sit on the nests and roll or rotate the eggs every half hour to ensure even heat distribution and to help the embryos inside develop evenly. Moisture is the biggest concern, as the eggs are more prone to freezing if the nest is too damp, she added. According to Naumann, the current bald eagle's incubation period has been captured by the cameras for the fourth consecutive year. She further explained that male and female bald eagles initiate courtship in autumn and begin constructing their nests. The laying of eggs usually commences in February, but this may vary depending on the location.
She said, "By January, they are already actively paired up and mating, or at least we hope they are." Bald eagles have the capacity to lay up to four eggs each year, typically spaced two to five days apart. The present eagle at the location has a tendency to lay two eggs each year, which were laid on February 15 and 18 this year, according to Naumann. The incubation period for the eggs is usually between 34 to 39 days, and the department predicts that the current eggs will hatch approximately on March 23 or 24.
Since 1782, the bald eagle has been recognized as the national symbol of the United States due to its powerful nature and was placed with outspread wings on the country's Great Seal as a representation of strength, per National Geographic. Interestingly, despite their name, bald eagles are not actually bald, and the name is derived from the old English word "Balde," which means white, referring to the snowy-white feathers that cover their heads and tails. Although the majority of these majestic creatures, with brown bodies, reside in Alaska and Canada, they can also be found in every U.S. state except Hawaii and Mexico.