After tens of thousands of votes, two baby bald eagles born at the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, D.C. have been officially named "Freedom" and "Liberty."
Since February, more than 35 million people have witnessed the progress of the two baby bald eagles from eggs to hatchlings to eaglets. Born with names DC2 and DC3, the viewers of these adorable bald eaglets suggested names and five of the most popular name pairs that were suggested via the "Name the Nestlings" social media campaign were put to public vote.
The top five pairs of names were Freedom and Liberty, Stars and Stripes, Honor and Glory, Anacostia and Potomac, and Cherry and Blossom.
The voting was held from April 19 through April 24 at the Friends of the National Arboretum Facebook page.
After the votes were cast, eagle experts from government agencies and private organizations picked the names and announced them on April 26.
"Matthew and I voted for these names. We have followed the babies since birth and are looking forward to when they take flight. We thank the National Arboretum for allowing us to watch this event," Facebook user Marilee Barton said in her comment on the announcement of the names.
In 2014, a pair of bald eagles nestled high on a Tulip Poplar tree amongst the Azalea Collection at the U.S. National Arboretum. Named "Mr. President" and "The First Lady," the pair mated and laid two eggs in February.
"The First Lady" laid her first egg on February 10 and her second egg on February 14. The two eggs hatched on March 18 and March 20.
Bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), the national bird of the United States, are the only unique eagles to North America. These eagles live in areas where there is an abundant supply of salmon. Dead or dying fishes are an important food source for bald eagles.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) lists the bald eagle under the category of least concern among threatened species. This species has an extremely large range and its population trend appears to be increasing.