One of two baby eagles at the National Arboretum has begun to slowly emerge from its egg. Once fully hatched, it will be the first eaglet born at the Arboretum since 2018. The eaglet, temporarily labeled “DC8,” is the offspring of Mr. President and LOTUS, a celebrity pair of bald eagles whose unfolding, perhaps scandalous, love story captured Washington’s attention in early 2021.
The American Eagle Foundation, which runs the live cam of the nest, confirmed the first “pip”—or crack in the shell—late last night. Since then, the chick has been making steady progress, even debuting one of its feet. However, it may be a while before we see the whole eaglet. Hatching can take anywhere from 24 to 48 hours, according to Daniel Rauch, a DC Department of Energy & Environment wildlife biologist.
Meanwhile, eyes will be fixed on the second egg in the nest. The American Eagle Foundation is predicting that the first pip will occur on Sunday, March 27. According to Rauch, it’s important that the two eggs hatch within a few days of each other so the chicks will grow at about the same size, preventing one sibling from dominating the other.
However, there’s always a possibility that the second egg may not hatch at all. Although Rauch says most of the eagles that local scientists have been tracking hatch fully without complications, the other egg could have issues, as happened with the Dulles Greenway eagle nest earlier this month. While those eagles, known as Rosa and Martin, had one egg hatch, the other did not.
As for the impersonal name DC8? Crystal Slusher, a digital marketing specialist at the American Eagle Foundation, says the organization is planning a naming campaign and will release details once they’re finalized.