WASHINGTON, March 17, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Since mid-February, hundreds of thousands of viewers have tuned into dceaglecam.eagles.org to watch two live-streaming, high definition cameras featuring the wild nest of Bald Eagles "Mr. President" & "The First Lady." These parents have been faithfully incubating two eggs at the top of a Tulip Poplar tree in the U.S. National Arboretum, right inside the Nation's Capitol.
Their devoted attention and dedicated efforts finally began to pay off last night, as the first eaglet began its "pipping" process! "Pipping" occurs when an eaglet uses the tip of its beak to break through the internal membrane and the outer shell of its egg.
American Eagle Foundation camera operators first witnessed a small crack on the egg around 7:30 p.m. last night, March 16th. As of this morning, this crack has grown, but it could take anywhere from 12-48 hours for an eaglet to fully emerge, or hatch, from its shell.
"This is a very special time in the nest," says American Eagle Foundation Founder & President Al Cecere. "To witness the up-close process of an eaglet breaking through its shell and being fed by its parents for the first time is wonderfully heartwarming."
The pair's second egg was laid on February 14th and DC Eagle Cam viewers are hopeful that it will hatch this weekend.
These will have been the second and third eaglets raised by these parents at this idyllic location – as they raised their first eaglet in 2015 after building this nest. In the AEF's educational chatroom (where viewers can create an account and talk to experienced moderators and other "chatters") this eaglet will be tentatively referred to as "DC2." If and when its sibling hatches, it will tentatively be called "DC3."
In several weeks, the general public will have the opportunity to help come up with official names for these eaglets.
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. The high-definition streaming of the cameras is being provided by the American Eagle Foundation on dceaglecam.eagles.org.
ABOUT AMERICAN EAGLE FOUNDATION (AEF):
The American Eagle Foundation (AEF) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to care for, restore, and protect the Bald Eagle and other birds of prey. For 31 years, the AEF has been carrying out its mission through Education, Repopulation, Conservation, & Rehabilitation. This public charity is headquartered at the Dollywood family theme park in Pigeon Forge, TN. Its famous Bald Eagle "Challenger" has performed free-flight demonstrations at more than 370 events across the U.S. over the past 20 years, all in an effort to educate and inspire the public. Learn more at www.eagles.org.
ABOUT U.S. NATIONAL ARBORETUM (USNA):
The U.S. National Arboretum is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service (ARS), their premier scientific research agency. The Arboretum, which encompasses more than 446 acres of land in northeast Washington, D.C. and also has worksites in Beltsville, MD, and McMinnville, TN, is one of the world's premier woody plant research facilities and public gardens. Established by Congress in 1927, the Arboretum serves the public's need for scientific research, environmental education, and gardens that conserve and showcase plants. Learn more at www.usna.usda.gov.
ABOUT DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT (DOEE):
The Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) is the leading local authority on all environmental and energy-related matters impacting the District of Columbia. DOEE improves the quality of life for the residents and natural inhabitants of the nation's capital by protecting and restoring the environment, conserving our natural resources, mitigating pollution, reducing energy consumption, increasing renewable energy generation and clean power usage, and educating the public on ways to secure a sustainable future. Learn more at doee.dc.gov.
SOURCE American Eagle Foundation