SAYBROOK TOWNSHIP — A pair of proud bald eagle parents welcomed their first chick Tuesday night, with the new addition hatching on Lakeside’s live webcam.

The eagles — Joy and her mate, Pride — are the stars of Lakeside’s live webcam Facebook page. The first of Joy’s two eggs hatched at 10:56 p.m. Tuesday, the group posted Wednesday on lakesideeaglecam.com.

The fuzzy white chick, named Raindrop, worked its way out of its egg early Tuesday, eventually gaining freedom Tuesday night.

Joy seemed restless during the hatching, continually checking on the chick’s progress. 

“I was very excited to see the eaglet hatch last night,” said Judy Mudd of Saybrook Township, a wildlife enthusiast. “It’s wonderful.”

Lakeside Eagle Cam’s mission is to provide a place where learners of all ages can visit to gather and share knowledge of bald eagles, according to the website.

AACS science teacher, Aaron Chamberlain, said lots of people are watching and enjoying the eagles. The second egg is due to hatch in the next day or so, he said.

“When the first eaglet was hatching Tuesday, we had 65 people watching,” he said. “There’s a core group of us who watch all the time, but hopefully, the students are watching from home.” 

The eagle cam project started four years ago when a group of Ashtabula Area City School District teachers noticed an increase in bald eagle sightings in the area. They saw an educational opportunity for their students, as well as anyone else interested in wildlife, Chamberlain said.

In fall of 2017, the Ashtabula Foundation awarded the district a $13,000 grant to build the eagle nest camera. The grant covered the camera, a battery and solar panels to keep the system running, as well as other components that would end the camera’s signal to the internet.

Teachers from Erie Intermediate School identified a well-known nest near LaBounty Road as the best site. The property owner and the U.S. Department of Fish Wildlife granted permission and the camera system was installed, but the eagles soon abandoned that nest.

The educators then found another site near Lake Road and the project started all over again. 

On Jan. 2, 2020, the website went live.

Within only a few hours, Joy and Pride swooped in and spent the night in the nest. In the following days, eagle cam watchers saw the pair adjusting the sticks in the nest in preparation for Joy to lay her eggs.

Since January, Ashtabula Area City school teachers have involved students with the eagle cam, having them chart daily eagle activity, editing video and maintaining the website. 

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