ALEX CHADWICK, host:
From NPR News, it's DAY TO DAY. Back with our occasional feature, Web Browser, about sites we like online. And you can go to our site right now, npr.org, and find a link to today's site and follow along with this.
(Soundbite of eagles screeching)
CHADWICK: Those are eagles and audio streaming from the eagle cam. The site also streams live video of a bald eagle nest in British Columbia and in the nest you'll find two baby eaglets, and, boy, are they cute. I spoke earlier to eagle biologist David Hancock.
Mr. DAVID HANCOCK (Author; Biologist): The two eaglets now are maybe eight-and a-half to nine weeks old by the plumage that's coming in.
CHADWICK: How many hits have you been getting on this website?
Mr. HANCOCK: Oh, it's been somewhat overwhelming. We had, one day, 17 million hits in one day. So the numbers of people have been quite phenomenal.
CHADWICK: What is so fascinating about that, do you think?
Mr. HANCOCK: When we started this cam, we wondered, will people identify with this? I mean, I as an eagle biologist for forty-something years was just enthralled at being able to watch them so intimately, but would anybody else give a darn? Well, they were giving a darn. They were watching this thing by the millions.
And I think it has to be that there's this very symbol of wilderness. And to have it on your desk when you're - you know, you've just come in from fighting traffic and you've got 17 jobs running simultaneously and you can go off to the side and look at this little bit of wilderness on your desk side; it just captures people's imagination.
CHADWICK: This can't actually go on for too much longer, can it? How old are eagles when they begin to fly?
Mr. HANCOCK: Well, they're marching onward. On Wednesday, we're actually changing the angle of the camera and the width. We're going to pull the zoom back a bit and that will give us a little wider look, because, pretty soon, they'll be out of this tight close look that we presently have.
I mean, right now the adult is dead center of the nest, because she's digging bits of stuff out of the bottom of the nest and turning it upside down. It's like she was cultivating a field.
CHADWICK: Well, maybe she's cleaning it.
Mr. HANCOCK: Well, I think that's exactly what it is. She's aerating it.
CHADWICK: Well, so, another month you think, they'll be all feathered out and then they're going to start learning to fly.
Mr. HANCOCK: They're going to stand on the edge of this nest and pumping their wings up and down, and then the sequence is that the adults will actually abandon the chicks. And after two or three days of sitting around screaming and hollering for where is there next dinner but nobody's bringing it, the two eaglets will take off and fly north also. And then they have a really, really big challenge ahead of them because...
CHADWICK: They have to learn to hunt.
Mr. HANCOCK: They have to learn to hunt, but they're not going to learn to hunt effectively for six, eight, and nine months. So they're fledgling has just been timed that when they come off the nest the salmon are spawning in the rivers. And that, of course, means thousands of pounds of dead salmon lying along the shoreline. So if they can make it that first seven to eight hundred miles, they will get their first free meals.
CHADWICK: Eagle biologist David Hancock. There is a link to the eagle cam website at our site, which is npr.org. And you can see the eaglets there. David Hancock, thank you so much.
Mr. HANCOCK: Thank you very kindly.
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