KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Winter storm Stella brutalized parts of the Northeast on Tuesday, but one undaunted couple fought the forces of nature to protect their offspring.
Mr. President and The First Lady, a bald eagle pair nesting at the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, D.C., hunkered down in the snow and cold to save their two eggs, which are expected to hatch later this month.
The determined duo’s battle was watched live from around the world thanks to the DC Eagle Cam Project, a cooperative public education project between the American Eagle Foundation based in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The First Lady covered the eggs with her body as she allowed herself to be covered by snow and ice. Mr. President joined her, partially covering her body with his wings as snow and ice accumulated on him. They continued to keep their bodies close, exchanging warmth and attempting to protect their future eaglets.
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Even though the snowfall wasn’t quite as heavy as predicted, the eagles aren’t out of the woods: Overnight temperatures in D.C. are projected to be in the low 20s on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The American Eagle Foundation installed the cameras, infrared lighting and other equipment at the arboretum in 2015, the year after the eagle pair began nesting in a tulip poplar tree there.
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The nonprofit foundation was founded in 1985, bringing to fruition the dream of Al Cecere. The foundation is a partnership with Dollywood theme park, also located in Pigeon Forge, and its mission is "to care for, restore, and protect the USA’s living symbol of freedom, the bald eagle, and other birds of prey."
Since 1992, the foundation has set free some 145 young bald eagles and currently provides daily care for some 70 non-releasable raptors and other birds.
Knoville News Sentinel