Have a suggestion for what to name two new baby bald eagles at the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington?
Eagle experts want to hear it. Under a social media campaign dubbed “Name the Nestlings,” the public is invited to submit names via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The eaglets’ names will be selected by officials with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, wildlife experts and representatives of other groups. The names will be announced April 26 during an event at the arboretum.
To participate in the naming contest, people are encouraged to use the hashtags #dceaglecam and #namethenestlings and suggest two names for the eaglets that were born earlier this month.
The eaglets have been given the temporary names “DC2” and “DC3.” Their parents — “Mr. President” and “The First Lady” — built a nest in a tree at the arboretum in 2014 and hatched and raised one eaglet, “DC1,” at the property in Northeast Washington in 2015.
The American Eagle Foundation, based in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., has helped spearhead a live video stream of the eagles and their eaglets at www.eagles.org. Officials there said they want names that are “fitting” for the two eaglets.
Here are some of the suggestions so far:
— JAVIER RIVERA (@JAVIERJavier51) March 29, 2016
Officials suggest “creative and symbolic names that live up to the names of their parents.” The suggestions also should be gender-neutral names or names that can be “cleverly altered to fit either a male or female,” said Julia Cecere, a spokeswoman for the American Eagle Foundation.
The gender of the eaglets is still unknown and probably won’t be determined for several more weeks, until wildlife biologists can approach the nests to take blood samples and put leg bands on the eaglets. Once blood is drawn, officials said, they’ll be able to figure out their sex.
In an unofficial survey done by The Washington Post, the most popular names were Goose and Maverick, after characters from the 1986 movie “Top Gun.”
The eagle eggs were laid in February. They incubated for about 35 days.
At about 13 weeks old, the eaglets will leave the nest. At 4 to 5 years old, they will get their distinctive white-feathered heads.
The nest is the first since the 1940s that bald eagles have set up at the 400-acre arboretum property.
These two eaglets aren’t the only newborns this spring in the D.C. area’s bird world.
Two other bald eagles — Liberty and Justice — were recently welcomed at the District’s police academy in Southwest Washington.
The parent eagles have had their nest at the police academy property for 11 years. It sits about 110 feet up in an oak tree, wildlife specialists said.
The baby eaglets have been tracked on an eagle cam. Click here to see a live stream of the eagles’ nest at the police academy.