The best-loved baby bird in the nation’s capital is about to have some competition.
As we’ve previously reported, “Mr. President” and “First Lady,” a mated pair of bald eagles in the National Arboretum in D.C., have been incubating two eggs before a rapt audience, thanks to a 24-hour web cam.
The first baby bald eagle emerged from its shell on Friday morning, to the delight of the eagle-cam audience. As Bill reported at the time:
“After days of anticipation, a fuzzy wing flopped out of the remains of an eggshell Friday morning … The bird then worked its way out of its shell over the next hour, emerging more fully around 8:20 a.m. ET.
“Throughout the process, its parent eagle alternated between peering attentively (to be honest, eagles don’t seem capable of anything but) and nestling over the fledgling and a second, as-yet-unhatched, egg.”
Well, that second egg has moved from unhatched to hatching: the “pip” has been detected. That’s the first hole the baby bird pecks through its eggshell, as it works its way out into the world.
The “pip in progress” was confirmed by the American Eagle Foundation around 10 a.m. EDT on Saturday. By early afternoon, there was a visible hole in the shell.
It could be a while yet before the second eaglet fully emerges; in the case of the first baby bird, more than 24 hours passed between pip and final appearance.
The newly hatched bird will be joining an older sibling who has already mastered sitting up, looking around and eating, so there will be some catching up to do.
If you want to keep tabs on either bird you can watch the webcam — which has been dubbed “the most patriotic nest cam in the United States” by the American Eagle Foundation.
If you tune in from 2-4 p.m. EDT on Saturday, you can also join in a livechat with other webcam-watchers and experts.
We’ll reiterate the warning from the foundation that “this is a wild eagle nest and anything can happen.”
So yes, there’s a non-zero chance you might witness something unpleasant happening to a tiny, adorable ball of feathers. And if you watch long enough, there is a 100 percent chance that you will see violence done to a fish.