Jul 04 2009

Eagle Day

Published by at 8:15 am under Birds of Prey

Adult Bald Eagle at Crooked Creek (photo by Steve Gosser)

The Fourth of July is the one day every year when you're certain to see a lot of bald eagles -- on Tshirts, on banners, as statues on flagpoles, and as images superimposed on waving U.S. flags.

The patriotic illustrations are just an idea of bald eagles.  Fortunately it's getting easy to see the real thing in western Pennsylvania nowadays.

Back in November 2007, I blogged about our bald eagle comeback after DDT caused a severe population decline.  In the 1980s the PA Game Commission conducted a reintroduction program.  Twenty years later the eagle population is growing throughout the state as you can see by the sightings posted in that blog's comments.

The eagle pictured here is from Armstrong County.  I learned about him from Steve Gosser who made several visits to Crooked Creek Lake last winter to photograph birds.  Steve always found bald eagles there so when he heard they were nesting nearby he lugged his camera more than half a mile (uphill!) to try to get a picture of the nest.  After a half-mile walk the nest was still not close, but one of the adult bald eagles flew near him.  Nice picture!

Steve returned from time to time as winter turned to spring, hoping for another glimpse of the eagle family.  By June the young eagles were ready to fledge, walking all over the nest tree and flapping their wings.   Though the nest was far away, Steve took a picture and digitally zoomed it so you can see the young eagles.  Click on the photo to see for yourself.  The picture is grainy because it's zoomed.  Notice that juvenile eagles are all brown!

If you hanker to see bald eagles this weekend there are many western PA counties where you can.  The best place by far is Pymatuning State Park in Crawford County.  In 2002 there were 14 bald eagle nests that fledged 20 young in Crawford County for a total of 48 eagles.  There are even more eagles today.  Back then there were only 67 eagle nests statewide.  This year there are 170 nests in Pennsylvania!

When you go to Pymantuning, stop by the PA Game Commission Wildlife Learning Center just past the spillway (where the ducks walk on the fishes' backs).  Even if the Learning Center is closed on the day you visit, their patio has a great view of the lake where the eagles hang out. 

And take your binoculars.  I'm sure you'll see a bald eagle.

(photo by Steve Gosser)

5 responses so far

5 Responses to “Eagle Day”

  1. Hollyon 04 Jul 2009 at 9:38 am

    we have a nest site with babies this year in Amity Township, Erie County. The nest has been there for a number of years and I believe there are babies again this year.

  2. Marjorieon 04 Jul 2009 at 10:06 pm

    One of the park rangers at Crooked Creek took a photo from a boat of the tree the nest is in and it shows 3 immature bald eagles, each perched on a different branch.
    There are young eagles who have just fledged also in Springboro, PA and there is a nest on the French Creek Reservoir best viewed from a bridge in Union City (just below Erie)…they are definitely making a comeback.

  3. Marjorieon 04 Jul 2009 at 10:32 pm

    Kate, a gentleman from Erie who shares info on bald eagles with me sent me this interesting article about the only bald eagle nest in our nation’s capital and what may become of it and the eagles.
    FYI: Good article in today’s Los Angeles Times concerning the only bald eagle nest in Washington, DC and US Dept of Homeland Security’s plans for a HQs Bldg. http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-eagles4-2009jul04,0,3805855.story

  4. Debbieon 05 Jul 2009 at 6:55 pm

    Hi Kate, this post doesn’t have anything to do with Eagles. I wanted to let you know that there is another “Don’t Walk” Robin’s nest on Forbes & Craig. The nest is near Kiva Han across the street from Starbucks. I saw a Robin land at the nest Sunday morning.

  5. Darleneon 17 Sep 2009 at 8:12 pm

    I saw what I believe is an immature bald eagle (though very large) while jogging at the Roaring Run Trail in souther Armstrong County, Apollo, PA. It was flying/flapping it’s wings, not gliding. It was very powerful looking, seemingly in no hurry but still not dwaddling. I have seen many vultures and red-tailed hawks before, and this bird was not either of those.

    A number of years ago, I saw an adult bald eagle from a gas station in North Apollo (a few miles away from Roaring Run). I was later told that there was a nesting pair at Crooked Creek Lake/Dam.

    Sorry, no pictures. If anyone has any other ideas of what else I might have seen, I would love to hear them. I am no expert, but I have a pretty solid life experience involving nature/animals/ecology.

Comments RSS

Leave a Reply