Bald Eagle Nest Cam captures first signs of egg hatching

American Eagle Foundation

WASHINGTON -- The first signs of egg hatching have been spotted at the nest of a pair of bald eagles in Washington, D.C., and a live web cam is giving viewers around the world a chance to watch it happen.

The American Eagle Foundation confirmed a small crack on one of the eggs Wednesday night.

The first crack in the egg is considered what's called a "pip" once the eaglet has fully punctured the eggshell.

It could take anywhere from 12 to 48 hours for the eaglet to fully emerge from its shell.

The eagle parents, nicknamed "Mr. President" and "The First Lady," have been nesting in a tulip poplar tree at the U.S. National Arboretum since October 2014 -- the first pair of eagles to do so since 1947. They raised one eaglet last summer.

The foundation launched the live streaming Bald Eagle Nest Cam after the eagles laid two eggs last month. The first egg arrived on February 10 and the second on Valentine's Day.

The hatching process began in one egg at about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. The foundation says the second egg is likely to start hatching this weekend.

On its website, the group notes, "This is a wild eagle nest and anything can happen. While we hope that two healthy juvenile eagles will end up fledging from the nest this summer, things like sibling rivalry, predators, and natural disaster can affect this eagle family and may be difficult to watch."

America's bald eagles were declared an endangered species in the 1960s after the population diminished to just a few hundred nesting pairs nationwide. Since then, efforts to protect its habitat and the banning of the pesticide DDT helped the species recover, and it was removed from the endangered list in 2007.