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We have lift off: Pittsburgh Hays eaglet makes first solo flight

Mary Ann Thomas
| Tuesday, June 12, 2018, 8:06 a.m.
The 2018 juvenile Hays bald eagle is ready to fly on June 11.
Courtesy of Annette Devinney
The 2018 juvenile Hays bald eagle is ready to fly on June 11.
The juvenile bald eagle at the Hays nest takes its first flight on June 11, 2018.
Courtesy of Annette Devinney
The juvenile bald eagle at the Hays nest takes its first flight on June 11, 2018.

The sole eaglet at the Pittsburgh Hays bald eagle nest made its inaugural flight from its nest tree, signaling another successful breeding season.

Known as “H8,” is the eighth eaglet hatched since 2013 to a pair of the formerly endangered birds that were the first to nest within Pittsburgh's city limits in at least 150 years.

A gaggle of watchers on the Three Rivers Heritage Trail plus a legion of fans glued to a live webcam of the nest have been waiting for what they consider “the big day.”

The Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania and CSE Corp. installed live webcams at nests in Hays and Harmar, where two young eaglets are still in the nest.

Carol Beisel, of Cinnaminson, New Jersey, has been watching the Hays birds on the webcam since 2014.

“H8 being an only eaglet was spoiled by mom and dad but because of that, he or she grew big and strong early,” noted Beisel.

Annette Devinney, of Penn Hills, a photographer of the Hays and eagles throughout the tri-state area, said, “we've been waiting for him.”

The eaglet has been flapping, exercising his wings and hopping from branches over the last 10 days.

He flew in short spurts Monday to nearby trees, making more than one sloppy landing as young eagles typically do when they learn to fly.

When the youngster flew a distance for the first time and successfully landed in a tree about 20 feet from the nest, “both parent birds seemed to come out of nowhere,” Devinney said.

The juvenile eagle will stay with his parents for the next month or two, developing his flying and hunting skills.

Mary Ann Thomas is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-226-4691, mthomas@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MaThomas_Trib.

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