First Eaglet Egg Starting to Hatch at National Arboretum

One of the eaglet eggs in the nest at the U.S. National Arboretum is beginning to hatch!

The first hole made in a shell, known as "pip," was spotted about 10:15 a.m. Tuesday. "A pip has been identified on DC4's egg!" the American Eagle Foundation (AEF) announced on Facebook.

Two eggs, known as DC4 and DC5, were laid Feb. 19 and Feb. 23 in a nest at the top of a tulip poplar tree at the arboretum. Since then, their parents have taken turns incubating the eggs, even during a frosty late-season snowstorm earlier this month.

"As of now this crack appears to be about the size of a dime, but it could take anywhere from 12‑48 hours for an eaglet to fully emerge, or hatch, from its shell," the foundation wrote on its website Tuesday morning.

"This is a very special time in the nest," said AEF Founder and President Al Cecere on the site. "To witness the up‑close process of an eaglet breaking through its shell is wonderfully heartwarming. We hope both eaglets hatch this week and show signs of good health." 

The eaglets will be the fourth and fifth offspring of their parents, called Mr. President and The First Lady -- the first bald eagle pair to nest at the Arboretum since 1947. They first nested at the site in 2015, raising one eaglet. Last season, they raised two, initially called DC2 and DC3 before they received their official names of Freedom and Liberty. The D.C. area was captivated by the tiny eaglets as they grew -- and it seemed to happen all too quickly. The eaglets took their first flights at 11 weeks old.

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