There’s some egg-citing news for a pair of bald eagle parents in White Rock.
Both of their eggs hatched sometime between Sunday afternoon and Tuesday morning, with two wobbly, fluffy eaglets occasionally visible on the 24/7 live streaming nest camera whenever their parents switch nest duties or feed them.
It takes four days for the eaglets to hatch, or to go through what is called the pipping process, according to Hancock Wildlife Foundation founder David Hancock, whose foundation builds nests and sets up cameras to observe some of the Lower Mainland’s fine-feathered friends.
“Pipping is the action of breaking through from when they’re sealed inside – breaking a hole through the inside membrane and calcium,” he said.
The baby eaglets have a small, but sharp, bit of calcium on the top of their beak at the end, called an egg tooth, Hancock explained.
“It’s ever so small but it’s sharp! They scratch with that on the inside of the shell From the moment of getting air into the bird it just gets stronger and stronger and moves more vigorously… it starts to rotate 360 degrees around the egg, scratching the whole way. It’s literally a cement womb it has to get out of, then all of a sudden, the whole top third of shell pops off.”
When the eaglet first breaks through the shell, the direct access to oxygen changes the rate of energy in all the cells and that enables the chick to start working its way out of the shell, Hancock said.
“This has been going on for millions of years – dinosaurs did the same thing to get out of their shells, reptiles all do the same, birds are all the same. They’ll carve their way all the way around the inside to get out, and that takes four days.”
Bald eagle eggs usually take 37 days to hatch, but, Hancock noted, the parents don’t always start to actively incubate each egg as soon as its laid, meaning the second egg could hatch closer to the same time as the first (even though they were laid three days apart.)
But, Hancock noted, the parents don’t always start to actively incubate each egg as soon as its laid, meaning the second egg could hatch closer to the same time as the first.
The South Surrey eagle eggs were laid on March 24 and 27, so they should also start hatching soon, with expecting parents Brit and Rey waiting patiently.
View all of the Hancock Wildlife Foundations live streaming cameras at hancockwildlife.org