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We have no real prediction as to when eggs will be laid because the eagles themselves seem to be on different schedules. In 2016, eggs were laid Feb. 10 & Feb. 14. In 2017, eggs were laid Feb. 19 & Feb. 23. In 2018, February came and went with no eggs – then, to everyone’s surprise, eggs were laid March 25 & March 28. In 2019, no eggs were laid at all! We go forth with a positive outlook and are hopeful that we will see a family of little bobbleheads emerge from this beautiful nest later on in the season.
Previous Nesting Seasons
- 2019 Nesting Season
- 2018 Nesting Season
- 2017 Nesting Season
- 2016 Nesting Season
- 2019 Event Log (PDF)
- 2018 Event Log (PDF)
- 2017 Event Log (PDF)
The Educational Impact of These Cams
The educational impact of our high-definition nest cams has been phenomenal, providing unprecedented insight into the Bald Eagle nesting process. This project also focuses on conservation, habitat protection, and the dangers that eagles still face in the wild.
Historically, Mr. President & The First Lady lay two eggs each season. For the first two seasons, eggs were laid in mid-February, but in 2018 they were laid a month later. The average incubation period is 35 days, and as hatch time approaches, all eyes will be peeled for the first pip or breakthrough of the egg shell by the eaglet inside. Then, thousands of viewers settle down to watch these eaglets grow and develop from tiny downy eaglets into feisty, magnificent fledglings, ready to take their first flight into what will be a steep learning curve of survival in the wild.
To enhance the educational experience, a moderated chat is embedded on the cam page, allowing viewers to comment and ask questions about the eagles. Knowledgeable and friendly moderators help guide the discussion and provide insight. AEF also encourages students and groups who are studying eagles or related topics to reserve time in the chat where their questions can be answered. This has been a hugely successful endeavor, and we have welcomed many classrooms with students of all ages. Teachers across the nation have written us with glowing compliments about the positive impact this experience has had on their students.
A team of nest cam monitors carefully document activities in the nest throughout the season, resulting in a spreadsheet that is minutely detailed and engagingly written. It allows everyone interested in this nest to go back and review what happened and who was involved on any day in the nesting season. At the end of the season, the information is collected and saved as a PDF document. Having such a record readily available is a valuable tool in accumulating knowledge about these eagles.
In 2015, after an educational visit to Capitol Hill, the American Eagle Foundation had the privilege of visiting the National Arboretum, where they first learned about this idyllic nest site. Afterwards, the AEF and USNA entered into a partnership to place two HD video cameras at the top of the nest with direct views into the nest.
After the eagle pair left their nest site in August 2015 for their annual migration, the AEF traveled to DC to install cameras and other related equipment in-and-around the nest tree with the help of experienced tree climbers. The USNA ran about a half-mile of fiber optic cable to the cameras’ control box located about 200 feet from the base of the tree. The entire system is powered by a large mobile solar array that was designed and built by students and staff from Alfred State College, SUNY College of Technology and was partially funded by DC’s Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE).
Each year, improvements have been made with streaming, cam quality, and better delivery. The American Eagle Foundation, the U.S. National Arboretum, and Friends of the National Arboretum, along with other cooperative agencies supporting this project, look forward to the next nesting season with Mr. President & The First Lady and invite you to share it with us as the 2020 season unfolds.
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The American Eagle Foundation is a public 501(c)3 charitable organization. Contributions to the American Eagle Foundation are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. The AEF’s Tax ID Number is 58-1652023.
If you would like to donate specifically to the NA Eagle Cam Project, please make sure to use our NA Eagle Cam Donation item at www.eagles.org/donate so we can make sure to allocate 100% of your donation to the operating costs of this project.
If you have a concern, we ask that you email email@example.com rather than call the AEF or the National Arboretum. Thank you for your consideration.