DECORAH, Iowa -- The hatching Wednesday morning of D18, the 18th bald eagle chick produced by the world-famous Decorah eagles, is "a miracle of nature," their godfather said.
"Given the extreme cold and heavy snow, we weren't sure any of the eggs would hatch," said Bob Anderson, director of the Raptor Resource Project, whose nest cam is viewed by millions.
After laying their first egg on Feb. 23, "the eagles persevered through 40-below wind chills, direct temperatures of 20 below, multiple snowfalls, one of which covered the nest with over 10 inches of snow, and drenching rain," Anderson said.
Anderson said the parents diligently cared for their eggs, taking brief breaks from incubation only when the weather allowed and working almost continuously to bring fresh material in for the nest cup.
"We are thrilled that their skill and perseverance paid off," he said.
Anderson said nest cam viewers exploded Wednesday morning from a few hundred to more than 16,000 as word of the successful hatch spread.
"We'll be watching to see if and when the other two eggs hatch," he said.
The eagle nest can be viewed at www.ustream.tv/decoraheagles