A bald eaglet named D12 was welcomed into the world after breaking free of its egg at 1:16 p.m. Tuesday in Decorah, Iowa, as more than 65,000 people watched via live webcam.
The mother eagle quickly covered her baby to protect it from a brisk wind, and so began another chapter in the lives of the world's most popular bald eagle family. Two other eggs will soon hatch and then this incredible nature reality show will really get interesting.
Last year millions of people from around the planet watched as three eaglets were raised from ungainly brown fur balls to large and handsome birds of prey, ultimately fledging to begin lives on their own terms.
In anticipation of Tuesday's hatch, Sherri Elliott posted a clever story about the pipping process and the parents' roles in the raising of their offspring on the Raptor Resource Project's Facebook page.
Part of it reads, "For anyone who worries about Mom pulling more duty than Dad, it’s been proven time and again whatta partnership this pair provide to their offspring. They’ve successfully reared and fledged 11 eaglets, and pretty soon we’ll be meeting this year’s bouncing bobbleheads! Pip, Pip, Hooray, I can hardly wait!"
(A pip is the first hole an eaglet creates in the egg shell before hatching.)
Below is the live eagle-cam for those interested in this year's saga. If it's anything like last year it'll be loaded with drama and intrigue. Millions will be watching so hopefully this will be another success story.