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Mom or Dad? How to Tell Web Celeb Eagle Parents Apart

The Web celebrity Decorah eagle parents, nearly identical to the untrained eye, are a great team.

Together, they've hatched three new eaglets since late February. They have fed newborns, fended off owls and protected the chicks from the severe spring weather -- whipping wind, driving rain and a spring snow. Millions have watched the action live on a webcam. But which eagle is the mom and which is the dad?

One way to tell who is who is to look at the eagles' heads. The adult female has grayish feathers in front of and behind her eyes. The male has a stark white head, said Bob Anderson, director of the Raptor Resource Project, the organization that is running the webcam.

The other way to tell them apart is to size them up. The female is about 20 percent larger then the male. She also has a head with a longer shape, Anderson told OurAmazingPlanet.

This eagle couple has been together since the winter of 2007-2008. They successfully hatched and fledged two eaglets in 2008, three in 2009 and three more in 2010.

The new eaglets are growing up fast. Follow all the action on the nest's live webcam or watch their hatching videos.

Reach OurAmazingPlanet staff writer Brett Israel at bisrael@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @btisrael.

Brett Israel was a staff writer for Live Science with a focus on environmental issues. He holds a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and molecular biology from The University of Georgia, a master’s degree in journalism from New York University, and has studied doctorate-level biochemistry at Emory University.