NORFOLK -- The second egg of the 2010 nesting season has hatched at the Norfolk Botanical Garden eagle nest, and a third egg may be hatching soon.
The second egg began "pipping" Friday afternoon as biologists observed a small hole in the eggshell, marking the beginning of the long hatching process.
Biologists said the egg hatched in the early morning hours Saturday.
The first eagle egg hatched just after 1:00 p.m. Thursday, March 11.
There were three eggs in this clutch, laid Jan. 31, Feb. 3, and Feb. 6.The Jan. 31 egg was laid in a snow-filled nest, as Hampton Roads was hit by one of the largest snowfalls in recent history.
Reese Lukei, a researcher at the Center for Conservation Biology at the College of William and Mary, had been concerned that the remaining egg may not be viable.
However, it appears that a third eaglet may be about to emerge after all. Lukie said that a pip hole was observed in the last egg at 12:30 Saturday afternoon.
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.
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.
Video clip courtesy Ann Shirley of norfolkeagles.com