WESTMINSTER, Colo. (KDVR) — In a scene straight out of a nature film, a popular Colorado “bird cam” captured an unexpected sight Monday night: a fight between two eagles.
Hundreds of people tune in weekly to watch the Standley Lake Eagle Cam, which has been airing 24/7 on the city of Westminster website for the past few years.
“A lot of people have been watching ever since, very concerned,” said Park Naturalist Lexie Martinez. “We haven’t seen the mom since that fight.”
Martinez says the video normally shows a pair of bald eagles going about their daily lives, and raising their eaglets. The pair has been together for about 5 years.
“Usually, this week is the week that the eggs are hatching,” she said.
Martinez says the imposter, who she’s calling a “floater,” has taken over the role of female in the nest.
She says the male has been visibly upset with the new arrangement.
“It’s hard,” Martinez said. “On our eagle cam, we say you might see nature at its best, and nature at its worst.”
It’s unclear if the three eggs were damaged. Martinez said it’s possible they could still hatch and be raised by the new female.
“We have to remember not to demonize the ‘floater’ eagle because she may have been through some circumstance that led her to risk her life by taking over another nest,” Martinez said.
Martinez says it’s not uncommon for injured eagles to hide, fish and rest until they are strong again. She’s hoping the original mom is doing just that.
“Dad’s instinct is to incubate these eggs until they hatch, and he’s been doing a really good job,” she said. “We’re not sure if he would resume those duties if they weren’t viable.”
The eagle nests are a popular place for people to view wildlife.
There’s a blind located at the nature center, but people regularly park cars on the side of West 100th Avenue to get a good look.
“It’s really great that you can come out here and park this close, and watch their lives,” said Bonnie Brown.
Brown has been out at the park every day since the attack.
“I’ve watched a lot of eagles over the years, and I had never witnessed that,” she said. “It was quite shocking.”