NORFOLK -- The third egg of the 2010 nesting season has hatched at the Norfolk Botanical Garden eagle nest.
The egg "pipped" Saturday and biologists observed a third chick being fed in the nest just after 9:00 a.m. Sunday.
Reese Lukei, a researcher at the Center for Conservation Biology at the College of William and Mary, said the adult female eagle removed the 3rd eggshell at 11:45 a.m. Sunday. All three chicks were being fed again Sunday afternoon.
The first eagle egg in the clutch of three hatched just after 1:00 p.m. Thursday, March 11, and the second hatched Saturday.
The eggs were laid Jan. 31, Feb. 3, and Feb. 6.
The pair of eagles at Norfolk Botanical Garden is familiar to online bird-watchers around the world thanks to Eagle Cam, a Web cam trained on the nest around the clock.
Visual confirmation of the third hatching was delayed due to a power failure at the nest site. However, the image was restored Sunday morning, allowing scientists to get a look in the nest. The zoom function on the Web cam remained inoperative Sunday.
This is the fifth year the Eagle Cam has been hosted by WVEC.com, in partnership with Norfolk Botanical Garden and the Virginia Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries.
This pair of eagles, which has nested at the botanical garden for seven nesting seasons, has been very productive, laying a clutch of three eggs for the past five seasons.
Three eggs were lost in 2008 when the eggs were left unattended in cold temperatures. The pair then laid another clutch of two eggs.
Visitors may see the eagle nest in person at Norfolk Botanical Garden. The adult eagles can be seen in the nest, sitting in the trees and flying to and from the nest.
As the eaglets grow, they are visible from NATO Tower observation deck at the garden, then from vantage points on the ground.
Other Web cams on WVEC.com show peregrine falcon nests in Virginia. In a the James River Bridge nest, two eggs have been laid in the past week.