Two bald eagle eggs hatch in Florida as the world watches online

Bald Eagle in Nest — Courtesy: Shutterstock — Image by: Kane513

Two baby bald eagles have hatched in Florida and warmed the hearts of those watching as it was all caught on camera.

The parents, Harriet and her mate, M15, have spent over a month patiently taking turns protecting and incubating the eggs, taking breaks to hunt around their nest that is located on the Dick Pritchett Real Estate family farm.

A confirmed pip—a small crack that signals the start of hatching—was seen on the top of one of the eggs in the bald eagle nest on Sunday morning. The baby made its way into the world and hatched around 12:45 p.m. Monday, according to the farm. The second baby eagle made its way into the world Tuesday around 5:45 p.m.

Under normal circumstances, it generally takes between 12 and 72 hours for a baby chick to hatch completely, as the baby slowly uses its egg tooth to chip its way through the shell without additional help.

For the past ten years, the Prichetts have installed three cameras throughout the nest to allow anyone around the world to watch the eagles and their intriguing life cycles. Viewers can observe the birds from the time the eggs are laid to the day the eaglets are born.

Harriet and M15 have become viral internet sensations, with thousands of people around the world keeping a close eye on their 24-hour livestream that is run by the Southwest Florida Eagle Cam.

After the official pip (or start of hatch) was announced, the Southwest Florida Eagle Cam saw an astonishing average of 2,500 viewers per minute. They had about 6,500 watching, but according to Virginia Pritchett McSpadden who runs the project with her family, they have seen 10,000 to 40,000 viewers a minute as the actual hatch happens.

The first egg was laid on November 20, with the second egg laid three days later. According to Southwest Florida Eagle Cam, the typical incubation period for bald eagles is 35 days.

Since the installation of cameras in 2012, Harriet has laid a total of 23 eggs including the new babies. She has been mating with M15, named after Male 2015, since the fall of Ozzie, whom Harriet first mated with, passed away after multiple altercations with M15.

“Both parents have diligently taken turns incubating the eggs; maintaining the necessary temperatures embryos need for proper development,” Southwest Florida Eagle Cam said in a news release.

“Harriet and M15 will continue to nurture their eggs until they feel movement and the chick scratches the surface of the egg to break out. Once the hatchling has begun to breathe, it will make soft calls that the adults can hear.”

While fans were able to get an inside look as the pair took care of their eggs, there were also some scary moments for the expecting couple. Just a week before the expecting hatching, a snake found its way into the nest and M15 was attacked by an owl on a separate occasion.

American Bald Eagle Population Quadruples

Once on the endangered species list, bald eagles are now thriving according to a report published in 2020.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said in a report that “bald eagles have quadrupled in size since 2009. More than 316,700 bald eagles, and more than 71,400 nesting pairs, were present in the lower 48 states during the 2019 breeding season.”

“This is truly a historic conservation success story,” US Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland said at a news briefing.

“The bald eagle has always been considered a sacred species to American Indian people and similarly it’s sacred to our nation… The strong return of this treasured bird reminds us of our nation’s shared resilience and the importance of being responsible stewards of our lands and waters that bind us together.″

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