Feb 2 was a very busy day for the adult eagles at Norfolk Botanical Garden. It was bring pine straw, bring pine straw, and bring more pine straw. So much pine straw that their egg was completely covered (photo 3). In photo 1 the female is uncovering her egg. Why did she not just leave the pine straw on the egg?. It is important that she (and he) be able to place her (and his) brood patch directly on the egg so that her (and his) body heat can keep the egg warm. What is a brood patch? It is a bare patch of skin that develops on the chest during breeding season through hormonal changes in the eagles. This patch fills with blood thus providing the heat to keep the egg warm.
Compare photo 2 with photos from Jan 31 and Feb 1 and you can see how much snow has melted in the nest since the egg was layed, and how much pine straw the adults have brought to the nest. Let’s hope it works.