North Park bald eagles sighted back at nest as breeding season approaches |

North Park bald eagles sighted back at nest as breeding season approaches

Mary Ann Thomas
Photo Courtesy of Howard Kepple
The North Park bald eagles, known as Ms. Rachel and Mr. Carson, on Oct. 21, 2019. According to the photographer Howard Kepple, the couple has been seen spending more time recently fortifying their nest in the park.
Photo Courtesy of Allegheny County
Allegheny Councilwoman Cindy Kirk, County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and others formally renamed a North Park shelter to Eagle’s Nest shelter on on Oct. 28, 2019, which offers a view of the park’s bald eagle nest.

The North Park bald eagles are back visiting their nest along Kummer Road for an apparent second try at breeding.

Excitement over the birds prompted Allegheny County to rename the shelter near the nest the Eagle’s Nest shelter.

Allegheny Council Member Cindy Kirk introduced legislation approved by county council this month to rename the former North Dakota shelter.

Allegheny County officials and birders visited the shelter Monday to rename it.

“Council Member Kirk clearly heard about the excitement for these eagles,” county Executive Rich Fitzgerald said in a statement. “We share in that excitement and look forward to continuing to share Ms. Rachel and Mr. Carson’s daily lives,” he said.

With the nest located close to the Rachel Carson trail, watchers have dubbed the birds “Ms. Rachel and Mr. Carson.”

Fitzgerald added that the county has “heavily invested in our parks over the last few years, listening closely to the residents and users about what they want to see.”

Howard Kepple of West Deer, who frequently sets up his camera at the Eagle’s Nest shelter along Pearce Mill Road near the ice skating rink, said he saw the pair Tuesday. The birds have been visiting the nest since September. The couple has been busy recently bringing branches and sticks in for “nestorations.”

The North Park bald eagles caused a stir earlier this year when they became the first pair of the formerly endangered raptors to ever nest in the park or in any one of Allegheny County’s nine parks. The birds didn’t produce eggs in their first season at the park — which is typical for a young pair of eagles — but they are back at the nest site presumably for another try.

Area bald eagles typically lay their first egg in February. They produce a clutch of one to three eggs requiring about 35 days of continuous incubation before hatching, according to the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

Earlier this year, the county designated the grove as the public viewing area to watch the nest. Trails near the nest are closed to protect the birds.

Luckily for the public, the North Park eagles located their nest on a hillside accessible for comfortable viewing of the birds at a picnic grove. That is not the case for visitors to the Harmar eagle nest, which doesn’t have a designated public viewing area with seating and shelter, nor the Hays nest, which requires some walking along the Three Rivers Heritage Trail.

County park rangers and the park naturalist Meg Scanlon have been using the grove to teach the public about the bald eagles and other wildlife in the park. The county sometimes leaves inexpensive binoculars at the grove for the public to use and educational materials. Often photographers and birdwatchers set up cameras and scopes, offering up views to visitors trying to glimpse the majestic birds.

For details on the birds and other North Park happenings, visit the Facebook pages of North Park Bald Eagles, Friends of North Park, and Friends of Latodomi.

Mary Ann Thomas is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary at 724-226-4691, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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