Posted Online: Feb. 08, 2013, 9:03 pm

Eaglecam stars, Liberty and Justice, expecting eaglets

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By Sarah Hayden shayden@qconline.com

Liberty and Justice, stars of the Alcoa EagleCam, are about to be parents again.

Liberty laid her first egg of the year at 2:30 p.m. Thursday.This egg, and any others she may lay, should hatch in late March.

People can watch a live stream of the eagles and their 6- to 7-feet-wide nest at
alcoa.com/locations/usa_davenport/en/info_page/eaglecam.asp.

The pair built the nest in 2009, and fledged their first pair of eaglets in the spring of 2010. Two eggs were laid in February, 2011, but only one of the eaglets survived.

In 2012, Liberty and Justice had three eggs and all three eaglets survived. After an online vote by webcam viewers, they were named Faith, Hope and Spirit.

The EagleCam went live in early 2011 and has been named one of the top 25 most interesting webcams in the country, according to earthcam.com. It registered more than 12 million hits in 2012, and was viewed in more than 80 countries.

The Weather Channel helps drives traffic to the EagleCam by posting a link on its website, said John Riches,public affairs manager for Alcoa Davenport Works. He said that at 2 p.m. Friday, more than 290 were connected to the webcam.

Mr. Riches said the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service advised them on the right time to install the camera and when to do maintenance on it, because if the camera malfunctions, nothing can be done until the eaglets have fledged the nest.

He said a lightning storm knocked out the camera last June, and they couldn't make repairs until August.

He said eagles mate for life and usually use the same nest each year unless the eggs don't hatch or the nest becomes so heavy it breaks the branches holding it in place.

Mr. Riches said Liberty and Justice, who live in the Quad-Cities year round, started fixing up the nest for the new eaglets in late October.

"Sometimes they'll spend an hour or two getting a stick exactly where they want it to be," he said.

Once eggs are laid, the eagles take turns sitting on them. Mr. Riches said Liberty is fairly easy to identify by a dark spot on her tail feathers.