HAYS (KDKA) – They're adorable and they've captured the hearts of tens of thousands of people around the world.
The three baby eaglets in Hays are growing up quickly, but can all three survive the first year of life?
Experts say the odds are against them, but so far the eaglets are beating the odds.
The eagle webcam has given us all a nest-side seat, with all three eaglets hatching before our very eyes. In just a few short weeks, they've more than quadrupled in size, gaining as much as 4 and 5 ounces a day.
"They grow very quickly," said Jim Bonner with the Audubon Society. "They are biological wonders."
Birds – eagles included – have only a 50-50 chance of surviving the first year. So the odds are against all three making it. Still, so far, so good. Early on, the last born eaglet could have been eaten by others for food.
"Now, they're past the threat -- being a threat to each other, it's just getting enough food," said Bonner. "And thus far the parents have been doing a great job, but they're going to need to be basically catching enough food for full five grown adults."
But then there are other predators that look on the eaglets themselves as food, as we saw in a night vision video.
"There could be a situation where the raccoon will get one of the nestlings," said Gary Fujak with the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
Today, the father eagle was seen circling overhead. But come the beginning of July, the eaglets will fledge and he'll begin teaching the eaglets to fly. But that too can be perilous. The young can be prone to a fall and broken wing.
"As long as we get all three out of the nest, that's a good thing," said Fujak. "Then they can try to survive their first winter."
"I'm obsessed with them," said Annette Divinney. "I just want to see them grow up on their own and like I said, make baby eagles."
Eagle watchers like Devinney track the progress of the eaglets every day and have begun viewing them as kids of their own.
"Better I don't have to put them through college," said Devinney. "And they're not going to bang up my car for the first time out."
But for now, the young eaglets are defying the odds. And if all goes well, they should survive the rest of the year – and there are tens of thousands of observers hoping they do.
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