A family of bald eagles has taken up residence in Southwest D.C., high above the grounds of D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Academy.
The eagles — two adults and two chicks — have been nesting at the academy for several weeks, since the babies hatched in March. When Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier discovered the birds, she contacted National Geographic, which set up a Webcam to monitor the goings-on in the nest.
“It is fitting and exciting that our national bird has made a home on the Metropolitan Police Department’s Academy grounds,” Lanier told NatGeo. “We look forward to viewing the eagles in their habitat.”
The live Webcam footage has captured images of the eagles in their nest, which is five-feet wide and made mostly of sticks. The parents have been seen feeding their young fish such as catfish, shad and perch plucked from the nearby Anacostia River, NatGeo reports.
So far, the young chicks are spending all their time in the nest, where they can be seen eating, resting, peering about, and grooming their black feathers. (The bald eagle’s signature white head feathers won’t grow in until they’re about four or five years old.)
Flying lessons, which consist of the chicks standing at the edge of the nest and beating their wings, usually begin when the baby eagles are about eight weeks old, with actual flight taking place around the 11-week mark, said raptor biologist Craig Koppie of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, at the Chesapeake Bay field office in Annapolis. Even then, the chicks will depend on their parents for food and won’t venture far from the nest.