Updated 3-20-2016 by Lulu Chang: The bald eagle family of two has just grown by 100 percent.
Stop what you’re doing and watch a bald eagle being hatched. Because even in times as politically divisive as these, nothing could possibly be more American than a live webcast of our national bird (and national animal, for that matter) being born. Thanks to a webcam complete with two distinct viewing angles trained on a pair bald eagles appropriately named “Mr. President” and “The First Lady,” we’ve been able to watch the magic of childbirth — virtually, of course.
The live stream (which is running 24 hours a day on dceaglecam.eagles.org), originally showed just one of the eagles perched atop a nest, with no signs of a baby eagle being brought into the world. The first chick was originally expected to make its appearance as early as Tuesday, so when we said that things could happen any minute, we really meant it.
That said, the nature of these “things” are still a bit nebulous. As the American Eagle Foundation notes on its website, “This is a wild eagle nest and anything can happen.” And although the hopes is for “”two healthy juvenile eagles [to] end up fledging from the nest this summer, things like sibling rivalry, predators, and natural disaster can affect this eagle family and may be difficult to watch.”
In the wee hours of Sunday morning, the second of two baby bald eagles hatched in the National Arboretum, joining its sibling, which made an appearance for the first time on Friday.
The addition to Mr. President and The First Lady’s family is certainly an exciting one, but happily, bald eagles are in nowhere near as much danger as they were a few decades ago. Thanks to extensive conservation efforts, the species is no longer considered endangered, and we can more regularly enjoy the beauty of our majestic national mascots.
Just a few truly dedicated fans managed to witness the momentous occasion first hand (or as close to first hand as you can get via the Internet), as the second eagle was hatched around 3 a.m. ET. Thanks to the infrared light used by the eagle cam, enthusiasts were able to watch baby number two join its family.
If you want to check out the action, the camera is still running, though much of the anticipation is now gone. But hey, now you can actually watch two national birds raise two more national birds. And if that doesn’t make for thrilling television, we don’t know what does.