The resurgence of the bald eagle in western Pennsylvania is a beautiful thing. Nothing confirms it so well as seeing our newest pair of eagles flying together at Moraine State Park in Butler County. In the photos above, Chuck Tague caught them flying together in a blue sky on November 1 and Steve Gosser captured them building a nest on November 23. They won't be laying eggs any time soon but they are housekeeping. It looks like this pair will make the lake their home.
As recently as 25 years ago it was almost impossible to find a bald eagle in Pennsylvania. In 1980 there were only three nesting pairs in the entire state - all of them at Pymatuning. Pesticides, especially DDT, accumulated in the eagles' bodies and made their eggs crack and fail. With no young eagles reaching adulthood, the population declined as the adults died off. It didn't help that water pollution during that era reduced fish populations, the eagle's staple food.
In the mid-1980s the PA Game Commission conducted a bald eagle reintroduction program. This year they counted at least 120 nesting pairs in the state. What a great success!
If you want to see these birds, drive the south shore loop of Moraine State Park (park office toward Pleasant Valley) and look for a large dark bird with white head and tail. It helps to have binoculars and patience. It's a big lake and they could be anywhere.