Pittsburgh Bald Eagles Lay 1st Egg of 2021; marks the ninth yr that it nests on the hillside of Hays
The Pittsburgh Hays bald eagle laid her first egg of the season on Friday night.
Shortly before 6 p.m., a live nest camera caught the egg for the first time
The female eagle returned to the nest shortly before 5 p.m. and then ate “a meal present from the male Hays eagle” before laying the egg, reports PixCams, which operates the video feed in association with the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania.
The couple typically raise one or two chicks a year. Multiple eggs are usually laid one after the other, two to three days apart, and then incubated for 35 days before they begin to hatch. During the incubation, the adult eagles will take turns visiting the nest “constantly,” reports the Audubon Society. Not all eggs may hatch into eagles.
The Hays Bald Eagles have staying power: they are in their ninth season on the same steep hill overlooking the Monongahela River and the Three Rives Heritage Trail in an urban setting with a railroad, junkyard, Glenwood Bridge and busy Pittsburgh roads Hays neighborhood.
“This pair of birds is comfortable in an urban environment. Not all eagles would be, ”said Jim Bonner, executive director of the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania.
The birds are apparently used to cameras too close by. PixCam, based in Murrysville, developed the first webcam on the Hays Nest in 2014. Audubon and PixCams sponsor the 24 hour live webcam on the birds. Each organization provides a link to the live stream and its own chat room.
The anticipation for the breeding season in 2021 was great, said Bill Powers, owner of PixCams. The number of webcam views increased in the run-up to the oviposition, as the webcam was in operation all year round. The occasional visits by the birds were recorded, twigs added for “nestorations” and paired near the nest.
“We look forward to another great eagle season,” said Powers.
The Hays couple has raised a total of 12 offspring since 2013. An eagle in 2013; three in 2014; none in 2015; two in 2016; one in 2017; one in 2018; two in 2019 and two in 2020.
RELATED: First Eagle of the Season hatched in the Hays Bald Eagle Nest
When bald eagles were critically endangered in the 1960s and populations were nearly extinct, researchers learned a lot about the birds of prey’s nesting preferences. They found that eagles were easily deterred from their nest when disturbed.
Decades later, the birds have recovered and are no longer endangered. Some eagles have adapted to urban, suburban, and developed areas.
“In winter, many eagles lived and still live on our rivers that do not nest comfortably here,” said Bonner. The Hays birds obviously liked their location along the Monongahela River, he said. “The birds concluded that the space was good and they will take on the neighbors. Your young will ultimately be city eagles. “
The Pennsylvania Game Commission requires the public to stay within 1,000 feet of the active eagle’s nest in the state.
“What can be harmful is when you try to get over them that it poses a greater threat to them,” said Douglas Douglas Bergman, a game ranger for the Pennsylvania Game Commission, which covers part of Allegheny County.
The Wildlife Commission has the task of managing wild birds and mammals and their habitats.
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