Southwest Florida’s most beloved pair of bald eagles is expecting, and the births — expected between Christmas and New Year’s Day — can be watched live on camera.
Two eggs, laid Nov. 22 and 25, are closing in on the average 35-day incubation period. And while incubation was delayed on the first egg, causing speculation on its vitality, only time will tell if both eggs will successfully hatch.
The eagle parents, Harriet and M15, have diligently taken turns incubating their young by maintaining the necessary 105-degree temperature the embryos need for proper development. The eagles will continue to nurture their eggs until they feel movement and the chick scratches the inside the surface of the egg to break out. During the last two to three days before hatching, the parents can hear and feel activity inside the egg and will watch the egg closely. Once the hatchling has begun to breathe, it might will make soft calls that the adults can hear.
Will the egg hatch?
Will that second egg hatch? That's the question many are asking.
Much of the nation has been watching Harriet feed the eaglet, and turn the remaining egg.
"That's a good sign," says Seattle veterinarian Lesanna Lahner.
She says eagles turn their eggs so the chicks inside develop correctly. The fact that she continues to pay attention to the egg means the egg could still be viable.
Lahner says since Harriet laid the eggs a few days apart, it would not be unusual for one to hatch later than the other.
However, if the second egg does not hatch within a few days, it may never hatch. In that case, Lahner says, the eagles will push it out of the nest and focus on their remaining chick.
Viewers can watch and track all the action of “Hatch Watch 2016” by following the Southwest Florida Eagle Cam’s countdown clock here and follow all the action on the official SWFL Eagle Cam website, the official Facebook page, Twitter feed, Instagram account, Tumblr page and YouTube channel. Teachers or groups looking to use the cam as an educational resource or class project, can contact the SWFEC at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Since its inception in September 2012, the Eagle Cam has received more than 60 million views from more than 190 different countries worldwide.