WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The moment has finally arrived for the world’s favorite pair of Bald Eagles, Mr. President and The First Lady, to welcome eggs into their nest once again. These eagle parents live at the top of a Tulip Poplar tree on the grounds of the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, D.C., and their lives are streamed 24/7 via two high-definition video cameras on dceaglecam.org.
In 2016, the D.C. Eagle Cam took the world by storm, generating over 63 million views from over 100 countries during a five-month period. Nature and animal enthusiasts intently watched this patriotic eagle pair as they raised their second and third eaglets. (They previously raised one eaglet in 2015, before the cameras were installed over the nest.)
Before the D.C. Eagle Cam project went live for the very first time on February 15th, 2016 -- which was during the pair’s second nesting season --- the First Lady had already laid two eggs. This means that the general public didn’t get to watch nest-building, mating, and egg-laying activities.
For the pair’s third nesting season, however, the AEF and USDA (the primary organizers of the D.C. Eagle Cam Project) decided to turn the cameras on much earlier. Since New Year’s Eve, anxious viewers have been watching these parent eagles prepare to raise a new family by making their nest bigger and stronger. The installation of microphones last summer after the eagle pair left the area has also added another dimension to the intimate and dynamic viewing experience.
Now, the moment has finally arrived for this world-famous eagle pair to welcome a new clutch of eggs into their nest for another exciting season, and eagle fans around the globe will be able to watch the entire egg-laying, incubation, and hatching process.
The first egg is ‘eggspected’ to arrive any day now, and the non-profit American Eagle Foundation (AEF) invites viewers to guess the days and times the eggs will arrive by using the hashtag #dceaglecam on social media.
"We don’t know the exact date in February that The First Lady will lay eggs," says Julia Cecere, an American Eagle Foundation representative, "but because she laid eggs last year on February 10th and February 14th, we can speculate that she may lay eggs around that same. We also don’t know how many eggs she will lay, but I’m rooting for three!”
Eagle pairs tend to have a relatively similar nesting and breeding schedule from year to year. They also typically produce 1-3 eggs annually (usually laid and hatched a few days apart), but because this pair raised one eaglet during their first nesting season, and two eaglets their second season, there’s no telling what to expect this time around, especially since the nest has gotten larger.
There are a couple of key behaviors that The First Lady and Mr. President will exhibit before the eggs are laid. The female will start lying down on the nest more often and for longer periods of time, both birds will keep building up the nest-rails (the stick-railing around the circumference of the nest to prevent eaglets from falling out prematurely), and they will also work on perfecting the ‘egg-cup’, which is a cozy bowl-like indentation in the center of the nest formed of grass, pine needles, leaves, and other soft materials created for eggs and newborn eaglets.
"Eagles have been the proud and majestic freedom symbol of the USA for 235 years," said American Eagle Foundation Founder and President Al Cecere. "During our second season online, we hope this American Eagle family reality show will again affectionately captivate, inspire, and educate many millions of animal and nature lovers, as well as die-hard patriots and Bald Eagle fans. This is certainly a wonderful experience that all Americans can rally around, embrace and feel united about."
ABOUT THE D.C. EAGLE CAM PROJECT
In 2015, 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 climbers. 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 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.