Story by Bill Peoples on 02/21/2017NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Feb. 21, 2017) The American Bald Eagles being featured in their nest on the shoreline of Dale Hollow Lake are about to hatch, and the public is encouraged to watch it all unfold on Dale Hollow Eagle Cam.
According to Tom Allen, vice president and general manager of Sunset Marina and Resort, Inc., three eggs were laid on Jan. 17, 20 and 23, 2017.
"With a 35-day incubation period, the eggs should begin to crack and eaglets appear any day now," Allen said. "Once the eaglets hatch, the adult eagles will feed and care for them for approximately 70 days before they are large enough to fledge the nest."
Allen said there will be a lot of activity in the nest over the next several months while the eagles care and feed their young daily.
The online video feed allows anyone with Internet access or Twin Lakes TV to observe American Bald Eagles nesting, hatching and fledging on the shoreline of Dale Hollow Lake. The public is encouraged to bookmark and visit the site often at www.daleholloweaglecam.net.
The web cam is made possible through the cooperative efforts of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District, Friends of Dale Hollow Lake, Dale Hollow Lake Marina Association, Twin Lakes TV, and generous public donations.
The Corps of Engineers approved an easement last year to install the Eagle camera on Corps-managed public land and ensured the project followed U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service guidelines. Twin Lakes TV installed the high definition camera high above an eagle's nest during an inactive period this summer when the eagles were out teaching their young eagles to fly, catch fish, and survive in the wild, and is giving its subscribers access on Twin Lakes TV Channel 955. Friends of Dale Hollow Lake, a non-profit organization, is also promoting the project with local communities.
Dale Hollow Lake Marina Association contributed the first $5,000 toward the web camera project and has nearly met its goal of $20,000 for expenses, which includes paying for an easement across a private landowner's farm and installing utility poles and electric service to operate the cameras. Mickey Ledbetter, Willow Grove Marina general manager, and a team at Entertainment Direct, developed the Dale Hollow Eagle Camera web site.
In the 1980s into the 1990s, the Nashville District partnered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife, Tennessee Valley Authority, Tennessee Conservation League (now Tennessee Wildlife Federation), Tennessee Technological University, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service in Alaska, Boy Scouts of America, Wildlife Preservation Corps, and local volunteers to reintroduce the American Bald Eagle to the upper Cumberland region and Dale Hollow Lake.
A total of 44 eagles were transplanted back then from nests in Alaska, Minnesota and Wisconsin and then reared, tagged and released on the shoreline of Dale Hollow Lake near Irons Creek. The team utilized a technique called "Hacking" to care for and then release the birds of prey in hopes they would someday return to the vicinity of where they first took flight to nest and reproduce.
Stephen Beason, currently the natural resource manager at Dale Hollow Lake, attended Tennessee Technological University in the 1980s and his biology class participated in the Eagle Restoration Program funded by the Corps of Engineers. He said having a web camera is great because the public can see the eagles nesting at Dale Hollow Lake, which demonstrates the successful program that took place decades ago to restore the nation's symbol to the region.
"We are all excited to see the eaglets hatch here at Dale Hollow Lake," Beason said. "It brings back fond memories of when I helped take care of the eaglets in a hacking tower back in the 80s in an effort to get eagles to reproduce again in the region."
Eagles declined in Tennessee between the 1950s and 1970s because of the insecticide DDT, which caused infertility or thin egg shells that would break under the weight of adult birds. Due to the banning of DDT and restoration efforts, there are now more than 200 eagle nests across the state of Tennessee.
Dale Hollow Lake also conducts annual Eagle Watch programs the third and fourth Saturday of January. Eagle enthusiasts are transported by open barge in search of wintering bald eagles. The eagle watch tours are free, but advance reservations are required. For more information go to the Nashville District's website at http://www.lrn.usace.army.mil/Locations/Lakes/DaleHollowLake/SpecialEvents/eaglewatchreservationinfo.aspx.
(The public can obtain news, updates and information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District on the district's website at www.lrn.usace.army.mil, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nashvillecorps, and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nashvillecorps. The public can also follow Dale Hollow Lake on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/dalehollowlake and Dale Hollow Eagle Cam at http://www.daleholloweaglecam.com)