Pittsburgh Hays Bald Eagle Nest

A pair of Bald Eagles are now nesting within 5 miles of downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania along the Monongahela River near where the famed Carnegie Steel Homestead site once existed. Industrialization beginning in the 19th century led to extensive unregulated pollution of the rivers, which decimated fish populations that eagles feed on. Experts say it has probably been more than 250 years since Bald Eagles last nested along Pittsburgh’s three rivers. As recently as the mid-1980s, there were just a few remaining nesting Bald Eagles pairs anywhere in Pennsylvania. This year marks 30 years since the reintroduction of Bald Eagles in Pennsylvania. With the help of the Canadian government, several agencies including the Pennsylvania Game Commission brought bald eagle chicks back to their states to reintroduce Bald Eagles. Today, Pennsylvania boasts more than 250 nests.

Pittsburgh Hays Bald Eagle Camera Update
The third eaglet hatched at 4:54 PM Eastern April 2, 2014, click here to see a video.

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June 19, 2014

Eagles begin to venture from nest

PITTSBURGH — Three young bald eagles under the watchful eyes of many in Western Pennsylvania have begun to leave their nest.
The three eagles began hatching in the city's Hays section in late March. The last of the eaglets hatched April 2. Thousands of viewers have watched them via a live-stream camera.
Two of the eagles were seen outside the nest this afternoon, said Jack Lucas, the land management supervisor with the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
All three of the eagles were still in the nest Wednesday.
While the birds are beginning to venture outside the nest, Lucas said they won't be going very far at first.
Each of the three young eagles will stay around the nest until at least September to practice their flying and hunting skills.
But the birds could fly anywhere once fully mature.
“It's really hard to say,” Lucas said of their ultimate destination. “I've seen them fly as far as South America.”
One of the eagles was perched several feet above the nest on another branch in the tree, while its sibling had made its way over to a neighboring tree.
The third eagle was still at the edge of the nest, as of this afternoon.
Bob Mulvihill, an ornithologist with the National Aviary in Pittsburgh, said fledglings will sometimes return to their nest during their first couple months of flying.
While the three fledglings will almost certainly move away from the area by fall, the parents will probably stay and should try to produce more offspring next year, according to the game commission.
This group of nestlings marked the second year the parents successfully bred. Last year the nest produced one fledgling.

June 3, 2014

3 young bald eagles healthy and maturing
They’ll leave nest in June

By William DeShong
Eagle Staff Writer

PITTSBURGH — The three bald eagle nestlings in the Hays neighborhood are maturing and should leave their nest within a month.
Gary Fujak, a wildlife conservation officer with the state Game Commission, said he expects all three of the birds will leave the nest by the end of June.
Fujak said based on the nestlings size, he believes two of the birds are male while the other is female.
Each of the nestlings appears to be healthy and maturing at a good rate.
“There seems to be little aggression between them, which means the parents are still bringing plenty of food to eat,” he said.
Fujak said whenever the birds first leave the nest, the fledglings will actually be larger than their parents.
“That’s nature’s way to help compensate for their flying,” he said, adding it will take a while for them to perfect the skill.
While the nestlings will leave the nest by the end of the month, they’ll likely hang around the area throughout summer.
“They’ll probably stay in the area until September,” Fujak said. “But they won’t need the nest a whole lot.”
During the summer, spectators should be able to see the fledglings in the air and perched on the branches of trees near their nest.
Fujak said the new generation of eagles will probably leave Pittsburgh once they are fully matured, although there is no way of knowing where they will go.
He said migration is good for the species.
“It’ll help spread the gene pool,” he said.
However, the parents will probably stay in the area and should try to produce more offspring next year.
“The parents should stay,” Fujak said. “Provided the weather and food supply stay fine.”
He said the rivers and dams in the area make for good fishing sites for the birds.
The three eagles began hatching in the nest in late March. The last of the eaglets hatched April 2.
Ornithologists with the National Aviary in Pittsburgh at the time were uncertain whether the third eaglet would live, as it had to battle its two older siblings for food.
This group of nestlings marked the second year the parents successfully bred. Last year the nest produced one fledgling.
Bald eagle pairs are active on two additional sites in Allegheny County. More than 200 nests have been reported in Pennsylvania.
The live-stream camera of the nest is provided by Murrysville-based PixController, which is working with the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

April 2, 2014

3rd and final bald eagle egg starts to hatch

By Will DeShong
Eagle Staff Writer

PITTSBURGH — The third and final bald eagle egg nesting in the Hays neighborhood appeared to start hatching Tuesday.
However, there was still no signs of a chick early this morning.
“The way the female was sitting, I couldn't see anything,” said Jack Lucas, a land management supervisor with the state Game Commission. “And I haven't heard any other updates.”
The first eaglet in the nest overlooking the Monongahela River hatched Friday night, with its sibling following two days later.
According to the typical two-day incremental hatching pattern of the bird, the final egg was set to hatch Tuesday.
“It's right on schedule,” said Bob Mulvihill, an ornithologist with the National Aviary in Pittsburgh.
Mulvihill had not seen the chick by this morning, but said it did appear the egg started hatching Tuesday afternoon.
“It's a long and grueling process,” he said. “It can take between 24 and 48 hours for the egg to hatch.”
The hatchling will have a difficult battle ahead of it even after it makes its way through its shell.
Mulvihill said the mortality rate for third eggs is always much higher than its older siblings, as the older chicks have a couple days of development on it.
“The bigger chicks will take the lions share of food,” he said. “If food is not coming in an abundance, the smaller chick will have a difficult time.”
The food supply and the experience of the parenting eagles may lead to hope.
“The two bigger siblings are getting good feedings so far,” Mulvihill said. “(The parents) seem to have their act together in only their second attempt at nesting.”
Last year the eagles fledged one chick.
“Eagles tend to get better at coordinating parental activities as they go along,” Mulvihill said. “So far it looks good.”
Bald eagle pairs are active on two additional sites in Allegheny County. More than 200 nests have been reported in Pennsylvania.
The wait for the births has captured the interest of many Western Pennsylvanians because of a camera that has been trained on the nest around the clock.
The video had more than 950,000 total views as of this morning.
To get a look at the nest, go to the Butler Eagle website, www.butlereagle.com, and look for the link “The Pittsburgh Eagle Cam” on the right side of the home page.
The live-stream camera of the nest is provided by Murrysville-based PixController, which is working with the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

March 29, 2014

Eagle hatchling enters world with audience

By Will DeShong
Eagle Staff Writer

PITTSBURGH — The first of three Bald Eagle eggs under the watchful eye of many in Western Pennsylvania hatched Friday evening.
Bob Mulvihill, an ornithologist with the National Aviary in Pittsburgh, said the egg began hatching about 10:30 a.m. Thursday.
“It can be a long process,” he said of the hatching. “It isn’t like popping a lid off an egg.”
The eagle’s nest overlooks the Monongahela River in the Hays neighborhood.
Mulvihill watched as the hatchling slowly broke through the egg throughout Friday until it was finally free from its shell.
“It was dried-out looking fuzzy and cute,” Mulvihill said, adding it was not possible to know the gender of the chick this early.
The egg began hatching a couple days late according to the bird’s typical 35 day incubation period. Some feared it meant the first egg did not survive, and the eaglet born was from the second egg.
Mulvihill said there is no way of knowing that.
“That doesn’t really mean anything,” Mulvihill said. “Just that it was on the later side of the average.”
The next two eggs are expected to hatch in two day cycles, although Mulvihill warned the majority of third hatchlings do not survive.
“They’re a lot smaller than the first two eggs,” he said. “Only a fraction of the last hatchlings survive.”
The success on Friday marks the second consecutive year the eagles in Hays successfully produced a hatchling.
Eaglets typically spend at least two months in the nest.
The mother eagle is still sitting on the two eggs and covering the hatchling.
The next egg could begin to hatch Sunday.
Bald eagle pairs are active on two additional sites in Allegheny County. More than 200 nests have been reported in Pennsylvania.
The wait for the births has captured the interest of many Western Pennsylvanians because of a camera that has been trained on the nest around the clock.
The video had more than 877,000 total views as of Saturday morning.
To get a look at the nest, go to the Butler Eagle website, www.butlereagle.com, and look for the link “The Pittsburgh Eagle Cam” on the right side of the home page.
The live-stream camera of the nest is provided by Murrysville-based PixController, which is working with the Pennsylvania Game Commission.