HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (AP) — An environmental group has decided on the historical names Harriet and Mitch for a pair of eagles that have become internet stars watching over their eggs in a nest on Hilton Head Island.
A web camera was set up this fall after someone spotted the nest and called the Hilton Head Island Land Trust and state wildlife officials.
California company HD on Tap set up the camera, which caught Harriet laying an egg on Nov. 19. She has since laid another and scientists expect the eggs to hatch in the next week or two, the land trust said.
The trust isn’t releasing the exact location of the nest to protect the eagles from being bothered by humans.
The eagles are named for two key figures in emancipating slaves in South Carolina and were picked by the trust from hundreds of suggestions.
Harriet is named for Harriet Tubman, who helped slaves escape to the North before the Civil War on the Underground Railroad and served as a nurse and spy for the Union army in Beaufort County.
Mitch is named for Union Army Gen. Ormsby M. Mitchel, who founded the town of Mitchelville on Hilton Head Island during the Civil War. Freed slaves ran the town and provided education for its children decades before public schools were provided for all children.
Harriet is larger than Mitch and spends most of her time sitting on her eggs. Mitch helps to protect the eggs from the weather and other predators.