Perched in an oak tree 110 feet (33 meters) above Washington, D.C.'s Metropolitan Police Academy, two bald eagle parents named Liberty and Justice tend to their newborn babies, ECC3 and ECC4.
Say what you will about America's increasingly offbeat baby-naming trends — but those are some lame eaglet monikers. The Earth Conservation Corps (which set up a live cam monitoring the nest) knows this and wants your help picking better ones.
Should the newly hatched siblings be named Pledge and Allegiance? Honor and Courage? How about Anacostia and Potomac (the two D.C. rivers in view of their nest)? These and other options appear on a short list of 10 names, culled from more than 200 submitted by American students around the country. You can read the whole list — and cast your vote — on the Earth Conservation Corps' website.
The two as-yet-unnamed eaglets hatched within days of each other on March 17 and March 19, to join a sizable family. According to the Earth Conservation Corps' website, Liberty and Justice have raised two young eagles almost every year since they first made their nest above the police academy in 2005. Liberty and Justice were reportedly named by former Police Chief Cathy Lanier on the day of the Boston Marathon bombing (April 15, 2013) to "remind us all what America stands for." Three of their older children include eagles named Spirit, Mary and Jimbo.
The prolific parent eagles can trace their lineage back to a conservation project launched in 1994, when youths from the Earth Conservation Corps began releasing eagles from Wisconsin at the National Arboretum in Washington, D.C., to help rebound the area's dwindling eagle population.
According to the Earth Conservation Corps, there may have been more than 100,000 nesting bald eagle pairs across the country when the bird first became America's national symbol in 1782. Human activity severely reduced America's eagle population over the following centuries, leaving fewer than 500 nesting pairs across the nation by 1963.
In 1973, bald eagles were among the first species to be placed on the newly created Endangered Species List. Since then, their numbers have somewhat rebounded thanks in part to conservation projects like the Earth Conservation Corps'. In 2006, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimated that about 10,000 bald eagle pairs now nest around the nation. (Individual states stopped releasing annual eagle population reports around this time, so more specific information is hard to come by.)
If you miss your chance to name ECC3 and ECC4, you'll likely have another one before long. At about 19 years old, Liberty and Justice have several good mating years ahead of them (wild eagles can live to be about 28).
Bald eagles typically mate for life and have a "divorce rate" of less than 5 percent, Live Science previously reported. After choosing their forever-bird, eagle pairs build their nest together over the course of several months, sometimes placing the final pieces in unison. (Aww.) Mama eagles lay their first eggs about five to 10 days after mating, and hatch them about a month later. Keep your eyes on the eagle cam for live updates. Who knows — you might even witness a murder.
Originally published on Live Science.