Here’s some news about our national bird on the Fourth of July.
Pennsylvania: Earlier this week the Game Commission issued a statement about bald eagle nests in PA.
Great news! There are more nests than ever. Last year there were 132 known nests in the state. This year there will be more than 140.
Bald eagles are nesting in 47 out of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties. Interestingly, they are not nesting in most southwestern PA counties – only in Butler, Armstrong and Westmoreland. This pair, photographed by Chuck Tague, is in Butler County.
Bald eagles are “sea eagles.” They prefer to eat fish and they nest near water. With three rivers in Allegheny County – four if you count the Youghiogheny – we’re hoping bald eagles will eventually choose the Pittsburgh area for their home.
Virginia: You may remember the eagle pair at Norfolk Botanical Garden whom I wrote about on April 16. Their lives were like Peyton Place but they had an egg and the potential for a successful nest. Unfortunately their troubles didn’t end.
In mid-May the eagle webcam showed that their one eaglet had a growth on his beak. Every day the growth got larger. By May 22, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries decided the bird needed to be examined. When they pulled the eaglet from the nest, they discovered the growth had started to deform his beak. He was sent to the Wildlife Center of Virginia for treatment and possible surgery.
Tests showed the eaglet has avian pox, a common bird disease (no danger to people). He has been getting excellent treatment – even an MRI! – and receiving a regimen of drugs to help him get better. Meanwhile the growth has shrunk considerably, making future surgery a safer option though his recovery has no guarantee. He sure is one high-tech eagle!
Back at Norfolk Botanical Garden, his parents consider the year a loss. They continue to stay at the Garden and will undoubtedly try again next year. Wouldn’t it be amazing if their eaglet was released some day and came to visit? They would think he’d come back from the dead.
(photo by Chuck Tague)