The eaglets, dubbed “DC2″ and DC3” for now, were born Friday and Sunday, respectively, to their parents, “Mr. President” and “the First Lady.” The parents successfully raised “DC1” last year at the arboretum.
The live cam shows mom and dad caring for them, feeding them fish, straightening the nest.
Dan Rauch, the District’s wildlife biologist, said Tuesday that, looking at it on camera, it can seem as though when one of the adult eagles gets ready to feed the slightly older eaglet, it tends to dominate and knock down its younger sibling.
“This is not uncommon, and most bald eagle eaglets do survive this rivalry stage,” Rauch said.
The odds are good both eaglets will make it. Rauch said research shows nearly 80 percent of the time, both eaglets “survive and fledge.”
By week six, Rauch said, the rivalry stage should calm down.
When there are two baby birds, there is a chance of “siblicide,” where an infant is killed by a sibling, experts said. That happens in just under 4 percent of bald eagle nests.
Rauch said siblicide can be “exacerbated in times of limited food supplies, but that has not been a problem with this pair so far.”
Rauch said other things can impact one of the eaglets not surviving, including weather, parental negligence or loss of one or both parents.
Rauch said, “the fact that the chicks were hatched less than 48 hours apart is encouraging. The more time in between, the greater the size difference.”
Wildlife experts don’t yet know the sex of the eaglets. That will be determined in about six to eight weeks when they can get blood samples from the eaglets. Tests will be run to determine the health and sex of the birds. They will also get identification bands on their legs.