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Bald eagles become an internet sensation

SCOTT DETROW, HOST:

For weeks, tens of thousands of people have watched the livestream of a bald eagles' nest in Southern California. Their hope was to see if three eggs in the nest would hatch, but they haven't. From Los Angeles, Makenna Sievertson of LAist News explains.

MAKENNA SIEVERTSON, BYLINE: After weeks of anxious waiting, Pip Watch is now coming to a close, pip being the term for a tiny crack or hole eaglets make when they're emerging. More than 30,000 eagle-eyed fans have been tuning in to the livestream to check on the three eggs mama Jackie laid at the end of January in the San Bernardino National Forest, a more-than-one-hour drive away from LA. Sandy Steers is the executive director of Friends of Big Bear Valley, the nonprofit that runs the cameras. She says they've been looking for movement since Pip Watch started more than two weeks ago.

SANDY STEERS: Any kind of little bump or crack or hole, a tiny hole in the eggshell that shows that a chick is working its way out.

SIEVERTSON: The bald eagle came dangerously close to extinction 30 years ago when the lower 48 states. But they've made a remarkable comeback since. However, the species is still on California's endangered list. The papa eagle, named Shadow, has been taking turns protecting the nest, and he's also been dropping off plenty of fish and fluff.

But even with the feathered duo's nearly round-the-clock care, it's not looking good for the eggs. All three are now days beyond the normal incubation time for this nest on the north side of Big Bear Lake. And some fans are heartbroken that it seems to be a repeat of last year. The couple were watching over two eggs, but after more than six weeks of waiting, they never hatched. They may not have been viable to begin with, and that could be what's happening now. But Steers says there's no way to know for sure.

STEERS: The only way you can tell what happens with eggs is to do an autopsy on them afterwards. And they're 145 feet up in a tree, so that's not likely.

SIEVERTSON: In the meantime, Jackie and Shadow continue to move forward and guard their nest, calmly focused on the eggs. Steers says the couple can teach us humans a thing or two about staying in the moment.

STEERS: They just show us how to live life and live it from a place of peace and patience and compassion for what happens and still being who they are.

SIEVERTSON: Steers says she hopes the eagles' journey will teach us to slow down and help people realize maybe life is OK, even if it's not happening exactly the way we want it. Plus, the famous couple could get another shot at parenthood sooner than later. Steers says they've seen eggs as late as March.

STEERS: They have laid more than one clutch in a year. So yes, that is possible.

SIEVERTSON: But as always, we'll just have to follow Jackie and Shadow's lead. And they haven't given up on the nest just yet. For NPR News, I'm Makenna Sievertson in Los Angeles. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Makenna Sievertson

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