On the Maryland shore of the Potomac, two bald eagles nesting right next to the Woodrow Wilson Bridge project have successfully hatched three eaglets.
Just in recent days, the eaglets have made their presence known by peering above the nest. Perched in a band of trees on the Maryland shore, the nest is just yards from the project and the 200,000 vehicles that travel the Capital Beltway each day, demonstrating that natural wildlife can coexist and even thrive with a major construction effort like the Wilson Bridge Project.
The breeding pair, which has affectionately come to be known as George and Martha Wilson, the "First Family" of eagles located at the project, now have successfully laid eggs and raised fledgling eagles near the bridge for seven consecutive years.
While the newly hatched eaglets apparently are healthy, they are experiencing an identity crisis: They do not yet have names. The project is sponsoring a Name the Eaglets contest for kids of all ages through high school (www.wilsonbridge.com). The winner will be announced June 28 and treated to a tour of the project.
The project's environmental and construction teams are going to great lengths to protect the eagles and their habitat as construction moves forward. A permanent 84-acre bald eagle sanctuary was created in March 2001 on the north side of Rosalie Island in Prince George's County, Md. The sanctuary is more than eight times larger than was required by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, underscoring the project's commitment to building in an environmentally friendly manner.