WASHINGTON, March 31, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Hundreds of thousands of people were glued to their computers and mobile devices this week watching two tiny Bald Eaglets hatch LIVE on the Internet via the DC Eagle Cam.
Bald Eagle parents Mr. President & The First Lady welcomed their first eaglet into the world on March 29 and their second eaglet just a day later. These 24/7, live-streaming cameras are operated by the non-profit American Eagle Foundation on dceaglecam.org.
Nest‑cam fans worldwide are enthralled with viewing this "First Family" of American eagles in the U.S. National Arboretum, but many of them are now probably wondering, "what comes next?"
Newborn eaglets have unsteady legs and wobbly heads. They won't be able to fully generate their own body heat for the first week or so, and will be extremely dependent on their parents for safety, food, and warmth. Viewers can expect to see a lot of adorable snuggling and sibling antics between the two youngsters as well!
This state of affairs will change fairly quickly though. Over the next 12 weeks, these tiny gray fuzzy eaglets will gradually grow into full‑size juvenile eagles with all‑brown plumage. They'll still be dependent on mom and dad, but will begin to develop their own eagle survival skills by feeding themselves (food provided by parents) and learning to use their wings through "wingersizing." They'll start to explore the edges of their nest and the surrounding branches, and between 11‑14 weeks of age will take their first flights and make their way into the world.
The public's response to this live‑streaming educational nest cam project has been phenomenal. Since the website originally launched on February 15, 2016, the live cameras have been viewed over 70 million times.
For now, these eaglets will be called DC4 & DC5, as these are the 4th and 5th eaglets raised in this nest. During the next few weeks, the general public will be given the opportunity to help come up with two suitable nick-names for these nestlings. Details still to come.
"We hope that something as inspiring and endearing as this special eagle family will help America to momentarily put their political differences and disagreements aside to share and enjoy together the importance, wonder, and meaning of their symbolic National Bird," says AEF Founder and President Al Cecere.
The D.C. Eagle Cam partners (AEF and USDA) are hopeful that two healthy Bald Eagles will eventually fledge the nest this summer, but it is important to reiterate to viewers that this is a wild nest and anything can happen.
For all of the DC Eagle Cam fans around the world who have fallen in love with watching this eagle pair, there is now a beautiful hardcover book documenting the pairs' first two nesting seasons in the National Arboretum. The book can be purchased on www.eagles.org or by visiting www.dceaglecam.org.
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.
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SOURCE American Eagle Foundation