After all this incubation, finally the eaglets are ready to hatch.
Eaglets initially break through their shell using their tooth. But, eagles don’t have teeth! No they don’t. But eaglets do! It’s called their egg tooth. It’s a pointed bump on the top of their beak, which eaglets use to break out of the shell. This process is called pipping. It can take from twelve to fifty hours after making the first break for the eaglet to be fully hatched.
As the eaglets are hatching, the female will be even more vigilant. The parents will bring back food to the nest to be ready for the hungry new arrivals.
Newly hatched eaglets are covered in soft grayish-white down. They are not yet strong enough to stand up and are incredibly vulnerable. Their eyes are still partially closed and their vision is limited. At this stage, the female very rarely leaves the nest. The male will be doing most of the hunting and bringing back food for the growing eagle family.
Thankfully today this whole process is working, not too far back in time it was not. In a future blog topic, we will talk about why it was not going so well for the eagle and other raptors.