15 December 2022
Even though it’s December and the weather will only get worse, western Pennsylvania’s bald eagles are gearing up for the nesting season with plans to lay eggs in February.
Established pairs are hanging out together and guarding their territories. Interlopers are testing the limits to see if they can claim an existing site. Subadult eagles are roaming the rivers, trying to steal prey from each other and adults.
Dedicated eagle watchers are already stopping by the viewing sites to catch a glimpse of the action.
At the Hays viewing area on 4 December, Dana Nesiti of Eagles of Hays PA found “both eagles above the nest this morning at first light” (photo at top). On 20 November he saw a prey item stolen twice:
At 9:17am a Peregrine Falcon flew past the nest upstream carrying prey. The male gave chase and they both flew up and over the hillside. 9:35am the male comes flying back carrying prey with a sub adult hot on his tail feathers. They flew down past the stick store and we saw them dive, both eagles came circling back towards the nest. Now the sub adult was carrying the prey and the male was chasing him.— Dana Nesiti, Eagles of Hays PA, 20 Nov 2022
Here a subadult carries prey that was probably stolen twice on 20 November.
Hays is just one of at least five nesting territories in our area:
- Crescent Township near Dashields Dam
- Hays (described above)
- Harmar: photographed and monitored by Gina G. Gilmore
- USS Irvin nest on the Mon River
- North Park: the nest was unsuccessful for a few years but on 29 Nov 2022 Steve Gosser saw a pair
- … and many more … Leave a comment with other sites you know.
Stop by your local bald eagle patch to check out their recent activity.
It may be cold outside but eagle season is heating up.
Check out Eagles of Hays PA on Facebook for more Hays eagle news.
(photos by Dana Nesiti Eagles of Hays PA, used by permission)