Washington DC 2016 Nesting Season
Our Washington, DC inaugural cam season featuring Bald Eagles ‘Mr. President’ and ‘The First Lady’ was an unqualified success. ‘Freedom’ and ‘Liberty,’ their offspring, grew to be beautiful juvenile Bald Eagles, and we wish them safe journeys and good health!
We loved sharing and answering questions with so many newcomers, and we look forward to meeting again at the nest to watch a new nesting season begin.
We would also like to thank all the DC cam partners: U.S. National Arboretum, Agricultural Research Service, Alfred State, Department of Energy & Environment, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and Piksel.
Highlights From This Season
The DC eagle nest cam season began on February 15th with the parents attentively incubating their two eggs, which were laid on February 10 and 14. ‘Freedom’ (DC2) hatched at 8:27 a.m. on March 18, 2016 Eastern Daylight Time. ‘Liberty’ (DC3) followed two days later, hatching on March 20 at about 3:00 a.m. EDT. Mr. President and The First Lady have proven themselves to be excellent providers, bringing in a variety of fish, birds, and mammals.
The doting parents were seen carefully feeding both eaglets tiny bites of food, and they took turns brooding their offspring until they were able to thermoregulate their own body temperature.
Much food was brought to the nest by both parents – including a variety of fish, plus squirrel, groundhog – even a crow. The bites of food got bigger and bigger as our eaglets thrived. The minimal sibling rivalry faded away in mere weeks.
The eaglets continued to thrive and grow – pinfeathers grew in their tracts and we watched the feathers unfurl from their sheaths. They grew into their feet and learned to stand and then walk on them.
A “Name the Nestlings” campaign was started and thousands of suggestions rolled in. After the top 5 pairs of names were tabulated, thousands more votes were submitted by viewers for their favorite names. On April 26, 2016, DC2 was officially named Freedom and DC3 was named Liberty.
Unconcerned with their names, Freedom and Liberty began learning how to self feed – how to stand, balance, grip the prey, and tear off bites to eat. Liberty reached that stage first. They were wobbly at first but quickly mastered this step. We witnessed the eating of the “prized” fish tails, to everyone’s delight.
Freedom and Liberty strengthened their wing muscles by flapping their wings, once in a while hitting each other as siblings do. They also practiced hovering – sometimes so high only their feet were seen on screen. Each one took many big hops across the nest and practiced perching on the nest rails and grasping sticks with their talons.
On May 17, to our surprise both Freedom and Liberty branched and began exploring the world outside of the nest, each day venturing out and up a bit further.
Freedom took the first fledge on June 5, 2016, at 11 weeks and 2 days old, and stayed off the nest several days. Luckily the National Arboretum staff and USFWS staff were able to see him calmly perching in a tree to allay everyone’s worries. The day Freedom returned to the nest, June 9, 2016, Liberty fledged at the age of 11 weeks 4 days old. From then on, it was a daily event to see who flew in, who flew off, who stayed away longer!
The parents continued to bring in food to the nest – which gave everyone a chance to see mantling, the grabbing of food from the parents, and the stealing of food between Freedom and Liberty. Mr. President and The First Lady eventually began the “drop and go” method of delivering food! It was a joy to watch Freedom and Liberty fly in for food – and many times fly off with the food with the sibling following.
They began staying off nest for longer and longer periods of time but they sometimes would return to perch in the natal nest tree. We all appreciated the on-the-ground photos and narratives shared by Sue Greeley/US National Arboretum when she spotted them. This gave us a great view into their life off the nest.
The last sighting of Freedom and Liberty on cam was on July 8th. We all waited to see if they would return; the parents brought in food 3 days in a row, but their offspring did not return to the nest to eat. On July 15th it was announced that they had more than likely begun their migration. If they did not return for food, we would probably not see them in the natal nest tree again. After 5 months and over 63,000,000 views, the cameras stopped streaming an empty nest on the morning of July 16, 2016.
We wished the eaglets safe travels as they began their journey into adulthood and bid farewell to Mr. President & The First Lady for the fall.
Two Special Poems Celebrating the 2016 DC Nesting Season
Special thanks to all our viewers who contributed amazing videos from our first season!
AEF Washington, DC Eagle nest: Beautiful View for Mom – Feb. 15, 2016
by lolaboo two2
Washington D.C Eagles: Mr. President On the nest (snow) Feb. 15, 2016, 9:00 a.m.
with sound added by Trudi Kron
Washington D.C Eagles: The First Hatch – March 18, 2016, 8:20 a.m.
by Trudi Kron
Amazing DC Eagle Footage 2016
by emenjayman (with sound effects and music)
Bald Eagle Watch: Washington DC
by Stephen Coon
AEF DC: Eaglets Fed – April 2, 2016
DC Eagle Camera: Evening Feeding – May 9, 2016
Liberty & Freedom Dancing in the Rain
Bald Eagle First Flight – June 05, 2016
by Stephen Coon
Liberty’s Mantling – June 15, 2016
Highlights of Cute Baby Eaglets from D.C.’s Eagle Cam
DC Eagles Freedom and Liberty Grow Up – 2016
Our historical data comes from our DC Eagle Cam partners, our Moderators, Remote Camera Operators, and our viewers, the stats sheet is kept up to date by the DC Eagle Cam Liaison, Patty Fernandez. With time this will provide important data from previous seasons. You can access it here.
As our cams go offline, there will be behind-the-scenes activities: the nest will be inspected, sound will be fixed, cams tested and cleaned.
POSTING VIDEOS AND PHOTOS FROM AEF CAMS
AEF invites anyone to post photos and videos provided by our high definition cams. Since these photos can be copied and duplicated over and over, we request that when you post these up to Facebook, or another social media location, the following information be attached to each photo and each video somewhere in the description: © 2016 American Eagle Foundation, www.eagles.org. We appreciate your cooperation!
KEEP IN TOUCH!
We have a special Facebook page devoted to just our nests: Dollywood, Florida, and DC. Keep up with all the “Nest News.”
A HUGE THANK-YOU TO OUR MODS AND ZOOMERS!
We could not do this without our Mods and Zoomers—our dedicated, talented, and professional representatives who welcome and educate millions of online viewers about this nest, eagles, and the environment. Please know how much you are appreciated, and how vital you are to this program!