Bald Eagles Nesting in 49 Counties of Pennsylvania; Proper Bald Eagle Nest Viewing Etiquette Encouraged
NOTE: Photos and a graph to accompany the first article are available from the Game Commission’s website (www.pgc.state.pa.us) by clicking on “Release #069-09.”
“The story of the bald eagle’s recovery is living proof that responsible natural resource management and conservation make
“With the banning of DDT in 1972, as well as the ensuing environmental clean up efforts launched in the 1970s, the stage was set for bald eagles to recover on their own. However, there is no doubt that the Game Commission’s reintroduction efforts from 1983 through 1989 helped the bald eagle population grow exponentially, from just three known nests in
At the present time, there are at least 170 known nests, including 36 new nests statewide. Also, for the first time in the agency’s annual survey,
“We have realistic expectations of a similar pattern of increase in 2009,” said
As recently as 1983, there were only three eagle nests remaining in
“We are hearing of more eagle-to-eagle conflicts at or near nests with a ‘rogue eagle’ interfering with an established pair,” Gross said. “Some of these rogues are beaten back by the established nesting pairs, but others do interfere with nesting and cause some nest failures. This is typical of a population that is reaching saturation in parts of its range, such as the northwestern counties and in the Upper Delaware River watershed.
“There’s still plenty of new or sparsely-used territory for nesting pairs in the Commonwealth. Some of the best remaining eagle nesting habitat includes the
Despite the competition for elbow room, there continue to be reports about nesting eagles that astound biologists. One of the more unusual nesting stories from this year comes from
“This is extremely unusual for eagles, as they generally lay from one to three eggs,” Gross said. “News of this nest has attracted the attention of many eagle advocates and researchers who have never heard of this many eaglets in a nest.”
“What’s so exciting about the bald eagle’s return is that each year they’re nesting in more counties, strengthening their population in
To improve bald eagle viewing from a safe location, the Game Commission has built a nest viewing station on SGL 180, in
The entrance to the viewing platform is near the end of Spring Brook Road, off of Route 6,
“The public may park and view the eagles from start to finish as they mate and rear their young, and eagles sail by the viewing platform regularly,” Shutkufski said. “The viewing deck is a substantial distance from the nest, so a good pair of binoculars, a spotting scope and /or telescopic camera will be a necessity. Also, the deck is wheelchair accessible, and is portable so it can be moved to a better location in the future if needed.”
Bald eagles have symbolized America’s greatness for centuries and now they’ve become one of America’s latest success stories in wildlife management and environmental reform.
The Game Commission currently classifies the bald eagle as a threatened species in
Today, bald eagles are nesting in every state but
The Game Commission is always interested in reports from the public about new nests and news about bald eagle nests. The status of many nests are difficult to obtain because they are obscured by leaves. The public often provides valuable information about the number of eaglets produced by each nest, and other important information that otherwise might not be known.
“The increased use of rivers and lakes at this time of year by the boating public has yielded new nests to our inventory in recent years,” Gross noted. “If you encounter a nest, give the birds some elbow room, take some notes on the location and the eagles’ behavior, and drop us an email about the specifics. Remember, we cannot protect a nest unless we know about it.”
Emails can be sent to biologists via: firstname.lastname@example.org. Use the words “Eagle Nest Information” in the subject field.
PROPER BALD EAGLE NEST VIEWING ETIQUETTE ENCOURAGED
While viewing nesting bald eagles is a thrilling experience, Pennsylvania Game Commission officials encourage caution because human disturbances can cause adult eagles to abandon their nests and young. Also, anyone charged with disturbing a bald eagle nest can be charged by federal and state wildlife officials.
“Even though some eagles have built nests near urban and suburban settings, it remains critically important for people to stay a considerable distance away, preferably at least 1,000 feet,” said
“A landowner gave permission to another individual to cut down trees near a newly constructed bald eagle nest,” Peebles said. “This person then agreed to allow a second individual to cut the tops up for firewood. As this second person was cutting the tree tops, a volunteer helper, who watches this nest out her kitchen window, saw that the eagles were in a panic. She called me, I then called Crawford County Wildlife Conservation Officer
As a result of the disturbance, on
“While it may seem bald eagles have become more tolerant of people when selecting nest locations, it doesn’t mean they’re comfortable with people approaching their nests,” Peebles said. “It’s also against the law to disturb nesting eagles,” Peebles said. “Get a good pair of binoculars or a spotting scope to watch the nest or observe them in flight. Just please stay back and give them some room. Avoid making loud noises or approaching the nest directly or from above.”
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Game Commission