Rare Condor Egg is Hatching: Watch it Live!

We first told you the exciting event was imminent -- now it's happening!

A few weeks ago, we told you about the rare Andean Condor egg that was laid at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh this spring, and how the Aviary had set up a nest cam so people around the world could watch the process of parents Lianni and Lurch (that's him above walking up the steps to the couples' cave) incubating the egg.

WATCH: Webcam Will Show Endangered Condor Hatching

Now we have great news: the egg is hatching! Keepers saw a "pip" in the egg on Tuesday. Pipping is when a crack forms in the egg shell from the chick inside trying to peck its way out.

Thursday, the Aviary reported that there was a hole the egg and keepers could see the chick's tiny beak poking through. They've also heard the chick "cheeping" from inside the egg. You can watch the goings-on from the web cam -- we caught mom Lianni off the egg stretching her legs for a few seconds this morning (below, the egg/chick is on the ground lower, left of center).

Dr. Kurt Hundgen, the Aviary's Director of Animal Programs, describes what people can expect to see on the Condorcam (click here) once the egg is hatched:

This future of this Condor chick is a really big deal. The egg at the Aviary is one of only two viable Andean Condor eggs laid in the U.S. this season. The Andean Condor is considered threatened in the Andes mountains and critically endangered in Ecuador, where there are only an estimated 150 left in the wild.

The egg at the Aviary is the second egg for parents Lianni (above, courtesy the Aviary) and Lurch, who's gotta be strutting around like a proud papa right about now as we saw him doing just a few weeks ago:

Lurch and Lianni's first egg as a couple, laid last year, didn't hatch. But looks like second time's the charm!

UPDATE: The Aviary issued a press release at 2:45 today to say the Condor chick officially hatched around 8 a.m. "These first 48 hours are a critical time, and will tell us a lot about the chick's overall well-being. We will be monitoring the chick and parents closely to ensure things are going well and that the parents provide the best possible chance for success," said Hundgen.

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