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Hays eagle fends off raccoon attack

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Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014, 10:57 a.m.

A raccoon attacked the bald eagles nest in Hays early late Wednesday night. The bird sitting on the eggs, presumably the female eagle, reared up and scared the predatory animal off.

All three eggs seem to be intact, according to Bill Powers, CEO and president of PixController of Murrysville, the company that installed the nest webcam with the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

Powers said the raccoon paid its unwelcome visit to the nest at about 11:15 p.m. Wednesday night.

“Raccoons are notorious for nest predation of different types of birds and animals,” said Brian Shema, director of conservation at the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania.

At first the eagle seems surprised by the raccoon and takes a couple of seconds to react, Shema said.

The bird spread out its seven foot-wingspan and thrust its talons out toward the raccoon in a classic display of aggression.

The raccoon quickly turned tail and fled the nest.

Eagles use the attack posture to intimidate foes, according to Shema.

“Actually physical contact is rare but, when it occurs, it is fatal,” he said.

If the raccoon would have stayed in the nest, the eagle would have defended its eggs, possibly killing the raccoon.

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

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