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The Eaglet Is Landing: The 'Pip Out' Continues On D.C. Webcam

The two bald eagles have been taking turns incubating their eggs at the National Arboretum, a greenspace about 2 miles from the Capitol building.
American Eagle Foundation
The two bald eagles have been taking turns incubating their eggs at the National Arboretum, a greenspace about 2 miles from the Capitol building.

One of two eggs laid by a mated pair of bald eagles in Washington, D.C., is hatching, according to officials watching the nest at the U.S. National Arboretum.

"We have a pip in process!!" said an update sent by the American Eagle Foundation on Thursday morning, which clarifies, "It's not technically a full pip until there is a full hole."

The hole in the shell appears to have grown larger as of mid-afternoon Thursday, but the eaglet has yet to emerge. The group says it could take between 12 and 48 hours for the eaglet to fully emerge from the shell.

A "pip," we'll remind you, occurs when a baby bird breaks through its shell using its beak. You can watch the eagle webcam online to see the young bird hatch — but be warned, the American Eagle Foundation says: "This is a wild eagle nest and anything can happen."

People watching the nest online have been debating the hatch date and discussing the birds using the hashtag #dceaglecam.

The two eggs were laid on Feb. 10 and Feb. 14. The second egg is expected to hatch in the coming days.

As we reported Tuesday, the foundation says, "This is the first Bald Eagle pair to nest in this location since 1947," adding that the two eagles have been dubbed Mr. President and The First Lady. The Two-Way also wrote:

"If both eaglets emerge and remain healthy, they would continue a streak of success for their parents, who raised one eaglet last year at the National Arboretum, a 446-acre green space and research facility that's about two miles northeast of the Capitol building."

While we wait for that second egg to hatch, here are some bald eagle fun facts from the National Eagle Center:

  • Eagles generally mate for life. They "engage in significant courtship and pair bonding behavior" and once a pair has formed they will remain together for many years. However, if a mate dies, the surviving eagle will usually find a new mate quickly.
  • Eagles lay clutches of one to three eggs. Four-egg clutches have been reported, but this is rare. The eggs are laid one at a time with a separation of a day or two between each egg, and they hatch in the order they are laid. The incubation period for the eggs is about 35 days.
  • The male and female eagles share incubation responsibilities, but the female typically spends more time on the nest than the male. Sometimes the female will leave the nest to hunt, at which times the male will be called upon to remain at the nest. (How very "eagle-itarian").
  • Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

    Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.
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