WASHINGTON, June 6, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Sunday afternoon (June 5) at around 2:30pm EST, "Freedom," one of the two young eagles residing in the nest of "Mr. President" and "The First Lady" at the U.S. National Arboretum, fledged the nest!
A DC Eagle Cam viewer captured a video of Freedom's first flight from the American Eagle Foundation's Internet video feed. You can watch the video of Freedom's fledge on Facebook here.
"At first glance, the fledge did not look too graceful," said American Eagle Foundation President Al Cecere. "But as the video is viewed more closely at the bottom left-hand corner of the screen, Freedom can be seen flapping her wings and flying upward onto a branch of a nearby tree."
D.C. Biologist Dan Rauch confirmed on Sunday (June 5) that Freedom was at first perched in a tree about 50 meters from the nest tree (up about 75-80 feet from the ground), and that the eagle later moved higher to the top of the same tree. As of the early afternoon today (Monday) the eaglet flew up to a roost tree frequented by its parents, located on a hill behind the nest tree.
"After years of operating Eagle Nest Cams and watching hundreds of eaglets take their first flights, it's still always bittersweet to see them graduate into the wild," said Cecere. "We've loved viewing them day by day, but there comes a time when we have to say goodbye and hope that they grow strong and are successful living in the wild"
In coming days and weeks, Freedom could possibly return to the nest for food. Today (June 6), Liberty began "branching" and "wingercising" higher up on a tree limb above the nest, and is expected to soon follow suit with his own first flight.
"The male eagle Liberty now appears to be stepping up his 'branching' activity high above the nest to hopefully catch up with his big sister," said Cecere.
ABOUT THE DC EAGLE CAM PROJECT
After the eagle pair left their nest site in August 2015 for their annual migration, American Eagle Foundation 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 in if prolonged inclement weather causes the solar array to provide insufficient power to the system.
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SOURCE American Eagle Foundation