Hays bald eagles are expecting
A pair of bald eagles in Pittsburgh had an “egg-ceptional” day Wednesday as the female laid her first egg in the couple's nest.
The pair, nesting on a bluff above the Monongahela River in Hays, are the first bald eagles to nest in the City of Pittsburgh for at least 150 years, according to state and local ornithologists.
Cleaner waterways with an abundance of fish and a growing state eagle population account for our national bird returning to the once smoky city, according to Patricia Barber, endangered bird biologist with the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
The pair could produce up to three eggs requiring constant incubation for 35 days. The egg that was laid Wednesday at 4:45 p.m. is expected to hatch around March 26.
Eagle fever erupted throughout the region as the celebrated Hays pair consummated successfully for a second year. One eaglet fledged the Hays nest last year, the pair's first at the nest.
Jim Bonner from the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania confirmed the nesting Wednesday while viewing a “nest cam” installed by the Pennsylvania Game Commission and PixController of Murrysville in December.
Staff at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh cheered.
“There was much excitement, collective joy and anticipation,” said Robin Weber, aviary spokeswoman.
Bill Powers, president of PixController of Murrysville, witnessed the egg laying.
“This is just amazing to have this happen in Pittsburgh and to catch it live on the cam,” Powers said. “It's one of the most amazing things I've ever seen.”
Nest activity increased
Birdwatcher Ron Bires of Swissvale has been monitoring the Hays pair for both nesting seasons on behalf of the game commission and the aviary.
Bires said he noticed the birds were spending more time at the nest in the past few days.
“They have been eating in the nest a lot,” said Bires, who noted a recent menu of rabbit and the wing of a seagull.
Reports of eagles mating as early as last month fueled speculation that eggs could appear any day now.
The eagle pair in Harmar has been seen daily at its nest site above Route 28.
“There's a lot of variation in the timing of egg-laying,” said the game commission's Barber.
Although people have seen the two eagle pairs engaged in amorous behavior early in the season, that doesn't mean that the female will immediately produce eggs.
“Just because they copulate, it doesn't mean it works every time, just like us,” Bonner said.
Generally, bald eagles lay their eggs from mid-February to mid-March in Pennsylvania, according to game commission research.
More experienced, older eagle pairs will nest earlier, Barber said.
In fact, there is an established eagle couple that has been incubating eggs since Jan. 30 in a nest along the Susquehanna River, Northumberland County, she said.
The recent spate of cold weather had likely moved nesting schedules back, according to Barber.
When above-freezing temperatures broke in Pittsburgh on Tuesday and Wednesday, Bires was expecting the Hays pair to lay an egg.
Harmar's eagles active, too
The Harmar eagles are behind the Hays' eagles in their nesting, but they are in the running.
The Harmar birds have been bringing sticks to their nest above Route 28 during the last two weeks, according to Bonner.
They will later line the interior with soft grasses and likely lay eggs in March, he said.
Mary Ann Thomas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4691 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Out-of-control car strikes four vehicles, building in Verona
- Allegheny Township home destroyed by fire
- New Kensington Council names new police chief
- Experts calling for late fall foliage bloom in Southwestern Pa.
- Man found dead along Kiski Township trail
- ‘Restaurant: Impossible’ tackles New Kensington eatery
- Vandergrift, East Vandergrift sewer separation projects near completion
- ATI claims operations, production meet expectations; workers refute statement
- Upper Burrell to review minimum distance between homes, gas wells
- Alle-Kiski Valley PSSA assessment scores higher than state standards
- Deceased man identified in Murrysville wreck