Nat Geo – You’re looking at a live webcam featuring a bald eagle nest in Washington, D.C. The nest is home to a bald eagle pair and their chicks, which hatched in March 2013. You’ll see the adults bringing fish from the Anacostia River to feed their young. The two chicks are covered with black juvenile feathers—they won’t sport their characteristic white heads until they are four or five years old.
About the Eagles
The nest featured here is about five feet wide and made mostly of sticks. It sits about 80 feet up in a tree on the grounds of the Metropolitan Police Academy. Installing the webcam, provided by National Geographic, was Chief of Police Cathy L. Lanier’s idea. She has long been interested in the eagle pair that chose the academy grounds for its home. “It is fitting and exciting that our national bird has made a home on the Metropolitan Police Department’s Academy grounds,” said Lanier. “We look forward to viewing the eagles in their habitat.”
The eagles are thought to be the same pair that has nested in the area for several years, says Craig Koppie, raptor biologist at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Chesapeake Bay field office in Annapolis, Maryland. Koppie is an advisor on the Earth Conservation Corps eagle restoration project, which also oversees a second bald eagle nest in Washington.
Bald eagle nests usually contain one to three dull-white eggs, and the parents take turns incubating them. Eggs hatch in about five weeks, and hatchlings are covered with soft, fluffy, light-gray feathers. “Generally the female stays on the nest while the father’s job is to bring in the food,” Koppie says. Food for this pair of eagles is generally fish—catfish, shad, or perch—plucked from the Anacostia.
When they’re not playing, polar bear cubs learn under the watchful eye of their mother.
The wolf is the largest member of the dog family. With thick, shaggy hair and a bushy tail, it looks a lot like a German shepherd dog. Wolves have long legs to run great distances and powerful jaws to grab prey and hold it. The gray wolf pictured here lives at the International Wolf Center in Ely, Minnesota.
Great Pyramid and Sphinx, Giza
Men on camelback ride past the Sphinx and Great Pyramid in Giza, Egypt.
Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C.
A man and woman look out at the Reflecting Pool and Washington Monument from the Lincoln Memorial.
National Geographic –
Sarah, an 11-year-old cheetah at the Cincinnati Zoo, set a new world speed record this summer during a shoot for National Geographic magazine. She first earned the title of world’s fastest land mammal in 2009 when she covered 100 meters in 6.13 seconds, breaking the previous mark of 6.19 seconds set by a male South African cheetah named Nyana in 2001. On June 20, 2012, Sarah shattered all 100-meter times when she posted 5.95 seconds. By comparison, Sarah’s 100-meter run was nearly four seconds faster than the world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt of Jamaica, whose fastest time for the same distance is 9.58 seconds. Sarah’s top speed was clocked at 61 mph.
Her run was photographed for a November 2012 National Geographic magazine article that will include never-before-seen high speed photographs and video of cheetah movement.
Cameras captured the record-breaking run on Sarah’s first attempt on a specially designed course certified by the Road Running Technical Council of USA Track & Field.
Sarah and the Cincinnati Zoo’s other four cheetahs in the Cat Ambassador Program regularly run at the Zoo’s Regional Cheetah Breeding Facility. The documentation of the run was supported in part by National Geographic’s Big Cats Initiative — http://www.causeanuproar.org — a long-term effort to halt the decline of big cats in the wild.
Cheetahs are endangered and their population worldwide has shrunk from about 100,000 in 1900 to an estimated 9,000 – 12,000 cheetahs today. The Cincinnati Zoo has been dubbed “The Cheetah Capital of the World” because of its conservation efforts through education, public interpretation, and the captive cheetah breeding program. The Zoo’s Regional Cheetah Breeding Center is one of only four similar facilities in the United States managed by the Species Survival Plan. In total, there have been 64 cheetah cubs born in Cincinnati.
Emperor penguins rocket toward an exit hole in the ice in the winning picture of the 2012 Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, announced last Wednesday.
To get the shot—taken in Antarctica’s Ross Sea for a new National Geographic article—photographer Paul Nicklen used polar survival skills he’d learned as a child among the Inuit on Canada’s Baffin Island. Nicklen began by lowering himself through a hole in the ice and breathed through a snorkel while waiting for the penguins to return from foraging.
“They soared underwater like fighter jets in a dogfight,” Nicklen told National Geographic’s Luna Shyr. “Then they’d fly out, land, push down with their bill, and stand up, going back to that slow, waddling bird. It was a privilege to see.” (Get more behind-the-scenes details.)
In a statement, competition judge David Doubilet said “Bubble-Jetting Penguins”—which also took top honors in the Underwater Worlds category—”draws us in for a glimpse of the emperor penguin’s private world at the end of the Earth. I love this image, because it shows perfectly organized, infinite chaos. My eyes linger over it trying to absorb everything that’s going on here.” (See more emperor penguin pictures by Paul Nicklen.)
Now in its 48th year, the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition is an “international showcase for the very best nature photography,” according to the website for the contest, run by London’s Natural History Museum and Wildlife magazine.
Each year an international jury of photographers judges tens of thousands of entries in 18 categories.
Eric Hosking Portfolio Award
Vladimir Medvedev was driving through Canada’s Jasper National Park when he spotted a red deer stag lying in the grass by the highway. The photographer pulled over and swiftly positioned his tripod and snapped this picture just as a truck thundered by.
After taking the picture, Medvedev left as quickly as possible to ensure the deer’s peace. “The stag may have been inconspicuous, but I wasn’t,” he said in a statement. “As long as I stayed there, he was no longer invisible. So I left straight away, so as not to betray his presence.”
The shot, titled “Life in the Border Zones,” won Medvedev the Eric Hosking Portfolio Award, intended for photographers aged 18 to 26 who submit portfolios of their best work.
Commended, World in Our Hands Award
“It was sobering to think how many sharks had been killed to produce this pile of fins for a soup that isn’t even healthy,” photographer Paul Hilton said in a statement about his picture, titled “The End of Sharks.” The image was a runner-up for the World in Our Hands Award, focused on the “relationship between people and the environment.”
An increasingly popular dish among the middle-class in China, shark-fin soup is responsible for the deaths of tens of millions of sharks annually, scientists say. Many sharks are taken solely for their fins and then thrown back in the ocean, where it takes several hours for the fish to die.
Volcano Lightning, Iceland
Photograph by Sigurdur H. Stefnisson, National Geographic
Lightning cracks during an eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano in 2010.
The eruption’s ash clouds delayed European air travel for nearly a week.
Storms over volcanoes contain the same ingredients as storms over your hometown—water droplets, ice, and occasionally hail. The interaction of all of these elements creates an electrical charge that sparks lightning. Active craters add ash to the mix.
For an in-depth exploration of extreme weather events around the world, read National Geographic magazine’s September feature “Weather Gone Wild.”