Third eagle egg ready to hatch at popular nest

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by Joe Flanagan

WVEC.com

Posted on January 18, 2012 at 4:30 PM

NORFOLK—The third eagle egg at the nest at Norfolk Botanical Garden is expected to hatch at any moment Wednesday or Thursday.

The first of the three eggs in the popular s nest hatched at 11:15 a.m. Sunday morning. The second eaglet broke free of its shell Tuesday around noon.

Both chicks are visible on the Eagle Cam on WVEC.com

“It’s pretty obvious why the viewing public is referring to them as bobbleheads. They don’t have much muscle control at this young age. When they put their heads up, they just wobble all around in the air and flop over,” said wildlife researcher Reese Lukei of the Center for Conservation Biology.

Experts have documented how successful this pair of eagles has been.

According to Lukei, out of 650 known eagle nests in the state of Virginia, only one other is as productive as this Norfolk pair. 19 eggs have hatched since 2005.

“I think it’s telling us that this is a very productive and mature pair. Obviously, to have all those eggs that they’ve laid hatch and the chicks survive, it’s just remarkable,” said Lukei.

A nearby abundance of seafood helps.

“There is a safety zone that is around the nest tree, so that there is not an immediate concern about disturbance. I think it’s extraordinary that this pair has been so productive,” he said.

A moderated chat room on WVEC.com devoted to discussion of the eagles is full of conversation about the action in the nest. Most of the time, a moderator is available to answer questions, and the chat room is visited by hundreds of school children in classes each day, as well as eagle fans around the world.

“Our moderators are very patient. They often answer the same question again and again. They do a great job of answering questions and providing information. It really enhances the educational experience,” said Perry Mathewes, Education Director at Norfolk Botanical Garden.

Lukei said it takes about 80 days after hatching before the chicks are ready to fly. That usually happens around Memorial Day.

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