After weeks of anticipation, two bald eagle eggs near Big Bear Lake hatched as viewers watched in real time via a streaming webcam, San Bernardino National Forest officials announced.
The first chick arrived at 9:57 a.m. Sunday from the first of two eggs laid days apart in early January, the U.S. Forest Service said. The parents have been taking turns watching over the eggs during their 35-day incubation period.
The second egg hatched about 12:20 p.m. Monday.
It took several minutes for the first chick to emerge, with the help of its parents. The video showed one of the adults as it carefully moved the bedding supporting the egg, and as it appeared to help lift and crack the remaining shell. Occasionally the parent settled on top of the chick for warmth and protection.
The chick had thin, gray feathers and appeared to fully escape the egg by 11 a.m. Its head was too heavy for it to lift and its small wings were held closely to its body. The second chick on Monday seemed to have less trouble breaking through its shell.
The female bald eagle laid eggs in the same area in February 2012, officials said. She can be distinguished from her mate by a few black-tinged tail feathers. Those should turn white by next year, officials said.
She is also larger than the male, which is common among most raptors, according to experts.
If all goes well for the hatched chicks, both will live in their nest for the next 2½ to three months and stay close to their parents while they hone their hunting skills. Until then, the parents will continue to provide them with food, the Forest Service said.
The Big Bear nesting territory has produced four eagles since nesting began there in 2012. The area surrounding the nest is closed to public entry.