WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The millions of viewers who have become addicted to watching bald eagles “Mr. President” and “The First Lady” on the DC Eagle Cam (http://dceaglecam.org) may want to keep their eyes glued to their computer screens beginning this weekend to hopefully see two fuzzy eaglets emerge from their eggs.
The first egg was laid on February 19 and the second was laid on February 23. Because the average incubation period for an eagle egg is 35 days, the American Eagle Foundation expects the first eaglet to begin hatching around Sunday, March 26 with the second beginning to hatch around March 30. This is just an estimate, however, and may vary by a day or two.
Each eaglet has an "egg-tooth" on the tip of its upper beak, which is used to crack holes in its eggshell from the inside. The first hole made in the shell is called a "pip.” It sometimes takes up to 24-48 hours for an eaglet to fully emerge from its shell after the first pip.
"The amazement of watching a tiny eaglet emerge from its fragile egg shell is a miraculous wonder of nature,” says American Eagle Foundation President Al Cecere. "Watching the eagle parents delicately feeding and brooding their young is a very special and unforgettable experience not to be missed."
Once hatched, these two eaglets will (for now) be called DC4 and DC5, as these will be the fourth and fifth eaglets raised in this nest located at the top of a Tulip Poplar Tree in the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, DC.
Last year, the cams were viewed more than 10 million times during the several-day hatch period of eaglets, DC2 & DC3.
Viewers who think they can guess the exact day and time that the eggs will hatch should hashtag #dceaglecam on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram with their prediction (Eastern Standard Time).
ABOUT THE D.C. EAGLE CAM PROJECT
In 2015, the American Eagle Foundation (AEF) staff traveled to D.C. to install state-of-the-art cameras, infrared lighting, and other related equipment in-and-around the nest tree with the help of volunteers and experienced tree arborists and climbers. This past year, the AEF added microphones near the nest to further enhance the viewing experience, and a team of arborists and eagle experts affixed natural tree limbs beneath the nest to provide added support. The USDA’s U.S. National Arboretum ran a half-mile of fiber optic cable to the cameras’ ground control station, which connects the cameras and microphones to the Internet. The entire system is powered by a large mobile solar array (containing several deep cycle batteries) that was designed and built by students and staff from Alfred State College, SUNY College of Technology and was partially funded by the Department of Energy and Environment. USNA has implemented a backup generator that will kick-on if prolonged inclement weather causes the solar array to provide insufficient power to the system. In 2016, APEX Electric Inc. (Kenmore, Washington) traveled to D.C. to assist the AEF in successfully installing audio equipment in and around the tree. The AEF uses Piksel to stream the video images to viewers around the world, and AEF volunteers are trained and coordinated to pan, tilt and zoom the cams, as well as educate the public via LIVE chats while viewers watch the eagles via the cams on the Internet.