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Residents excited by bald eagles' return to Harmar nesting area

| Friday, Jan. 31, 2014, 10:37 a.m.
Photos courtesy Jim and Bo Anderson
One of the bald eagles nesting above the Hulton Bridge sits atop a branch along Wenzel Drive in Harmar eating a duck that it plucked from the nearby Allegheny River on Wednesday evening, Jan. 29, 2014.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission and the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania report multiple sightings of the pair of bald eagles that attempted to nest high above Route 28 in Harmar last year.

Bo Anderson, a fifth-grader from Colfax Elementary School, recently snapped a photograph of a pair of mature eagles near his Harmar home with one dining on a duck.

The recent spate of sightings confirms the once-endangered birds' interest in the area.

If the couple follows through with nesting in an existing red-tailed hawk nest above Route 28, expect to see the birds carry sticks and other materials to the nest in February, according to Brian Shema, director of conservation for the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania.

“Typically, eagles will do that kind of nesting activity between one and three months before they start laying eggs,” Shema said. In Pennsylvania, eagles often lay eggs in the middle of March.

However, past behavior isn't a perfect indicator of what will happen next: “Individually, these birds will do what they want.”

The pair have been spotted perched in a tree near their Harmar nest site as recently as Thursday.

Maggie Puz, of Harrison, who commutes to Verona for her job, provided one of those reports of the eagle couple perching close to the nest.

“I look for them every morning when I go to work,” she said.

“On Thursday there were accidents on Route 28 and seeing both of those eagles sitting there by the nest made everything seem better,” Puz said.

On Wednesday, a mature eagle ate a duck in a residential backyard along Wenzel Drive in Harmar.

The moment was captured by Anderson and his father, Jim, who live in Harmar.

When arriving home late afternoon Wednesday, the senior Anderson was greeted by a small crowd of neighbors watching a nearby tree.

There, a mature bald eagle dined on a female duck, according to Anderson. When the bird flew, a second eagle was then visible in the same tree.

“Both eagles had white heads indicating maturity and giving us all hope for offspring in the near future,” he said.

Shema and Tom Fazi from the Pennsylvania Game Commission said they have received a number of reports of the Harmar eagles.

Additionally, residents close to Harmar continue to report eagle sightings including Arnold resident Larry Walker, who photographed an eagle flying high over Tarentum on Thursday.

Mary Ann Thomas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4691 or mthomas@tribweb.com.

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