WASHINGTON — One of D.C.’s three bald eagle couples is looking to expand its family.
Liberty and Justice — who have made their home in a tree near the D.C. police department‘s training academy in Southeast — now have an egg to watch over.
“It’s about time,” said Matt Rauch, biologist with the District Department of Energy and the Environment. “The eagles are ramping up. It is egg-laying season.”
Rauch said the first egg was laid on Sunday. He said there could be as many as two more in the next over the next couple of days.
The incubation period starts once the egg-laying ends. The eaglets are expected to hatch after 35 days.
Rauch said it has been great to watch the return of bald eagles to D.C. after a 50-year drought, ended in 2014.
“We have three thriving bald eagles nests, and we’re set up for hopefully even a fourth,” Rauch said.
He said several other eagles have been spotted checking out the existing nests in D.C., but unfortunately for them, Rauch said, the resident eagles are not big on having visitors.
Rauch recalled watching one of those exchanges on webcams set up at the nest at the U.S. National Arboretum.
“You could hear her coming and screaming for it to leave her territory, before she came through at 60 miles an hour and chased the other one off,” Rauch said.
Another good sign for the city’s resident eagles is that their nests are getting bigger.
Rauch said the department has been keeping out an eye for the couple’s prior five eaglets. Several young eagles have been spotted in the area, Rauch said. Sometimes eagles will revisit the nest they hatched in.
Rauch said you’ll be able to tell when they come home — the mother eagle probably won’t chase them away.
Rauch said he thinks laws protecting endangered species of animals and the banning of DDT has led to this resurgence of bald eagles in D.C.
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