WASHINGTON — Four days after the female bald eagle at the National Arboretum laid her first egg of 2017, she’s done it again.
A little before 4:30 p.m. Thursday, The First Lady laid her second egg of 2017, and the American Eagle Foundation’s Eagle Cam caught it all.
Julia Cecere, of the eagle foundation, said in a statement Thursday that the incubation countdown lasts about 35 days, so between the two eggs in the past week, they’re hoping for new eaglets by April Fools’ Day.
In 2016, the Arboretum eagles — The First Lady and Mr. President — gave birth to two eaglets, named Freedom and Liberty after a public poll chose their names. In 2015, they raised DC1.
Eagles generally lay one or two eggs in the course of a season, said Tommy Wells, director of D.C.’s Department of Energy and the Environment. Three is not impossible, though — Cecere notes in the statement that their nest is a bit bigger than last year.
“Watching three eaglets raised in one nest would be such a thrill for viewers everywhere,” Cecere said.
New eggs or not, the wait now begins. The eagles have to keep constant watch over their eggs, and while the weather is pretty nice as of Thursday, it won’t necessarily stay that way.
Mr. President and the First Lady aren’t the only expectant eagle parents in D.C., said Wells. There are four eagle nests in the District, and they’re actively monitoring three.
One nest by the MPD training center at the southern tip of the District has two eggs, laid Feb. 4 and Feb. 8, Wells said, adding that they’re hoping for “chicks as early as St. Patrick’s Day.”
Freedom and Liberty “are doing great,” Wells said.
The eagles are cool enough by themselves, he said, but they’re also a symbol of a reviving ecosystem.
The nest at the Arboretum, Wells said, “has successfully raised healthy eagles feeding almost entirely on the Anacostia River. We’re kind of bringing back a sustainable, healthy habitat again. We’ve got a ways to go, but the eagles are an indicator that we’re making great progress.”
You can follow the eagles’ and eggs’ progress on the D.C. Eagle Cam at the Arboretum, which Wells notes has sound for the first time this year.
WTOP’s Kristi King contributed to this report.