Liberty and Justice are back together, but one of their eggs is gone after a raccoon invaded their nest, cracked open an egg and ate it.
One theory about what happened: The raccoon ate the egg after Liberty and Justice ate a raccoon.
At about 8:50 p.m. Tuesday, a raccoon climbed over 110 feet into Liberty and Justice's nest above the Metropolitan Police Academy in Southeast, said Tommy Lawrence, managing director of the Earth Conservation Corps, which livestreams the eagles' nest online.
A live video feed shows the raccoon digging an egg up from the materials in the nest, cracking it and devouring it. About 15 minutes later, the raccoon leaves.
Lawrence said there's a theory that the raccoon came to eat the egg as an act of revenge. The Eagle Cam livestream showed earlier that day that Justice and Liberty ate a raccoon.
"We think it's like revenge, where the raccoon's partner came up and found something, but there's no confirmation that the two raccoons are together," Lawrence said.
Believe it or not, it could be a good thing that the raccoon ate the eagles' egg, Lawrence said.
The raccoon eating the egg "cleans the nest" and could encourage the eagles to mate again, Lawrence said. Because of Justice and Liberty's previous separation last month, the eggs were no longer viable and will not hatch.
"This could lead to a good future for Liberty and Justice later this year," Lawrence said.
In Iowa last year, an eagle couple was able to produce a second clutch of eggs 46 days after having their nonviable eggs were eaten. Lawrence said this could be the case for Justice and Liberty too.
It's common for raccoons to scavenge in birds' nests, Lawrence said. However, if the raccoon moves into Justice and Liberty's nest, the animal could destroy the eagles' fragile home.
The ECC previously was in talks to put a raccoon barrier on Liberty and Justice's tree. Seeing the egg eaten could encourage the group to add it, Lawrence said.
Eagle cam watchers were upset to see the raccoon eat the egg, but chances are that the eagles themselves are OK, Lawrence said.
"We thought the eggs were at peace and at rest, and it's kind of like digging up a grave, so that's where I could understand people could be upset about it," he said.