Hanover Bald Eagle Blog # 1

Nov. 23, 2018

In partnership with Pennsylvania Game Commission   and Comcast Business .

2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018 HANOVER NEST HISTORY

HDOnTap and the Hanover bald eagle fans have been watching "Liberty" and "Freedom", the resident Hanover, PA bald eagle pair on the live cameras since 2015. Here are brief summaries for the 2015, 2016 & 2017 seasons, and a detailed season summary for 2018.


Clutch of two eggs, two hatches, two fledges

  • • February 14 - First egg laid
  • • February 17 - Second egg laid
  • • March 24 - First hatch
  • • March 25 - Second hatch (watch clip of eaglets)
  • • June 22 - Both eaglets fledged

Watch highlight clips from the 2015 season. 


Clutch of two eggs, one hatch, no fledges

  • December 17, 2015 - Cameras turned on for the season
  • February 18, 2016 - First egg laid
  • February 21, 2016 - Second egg laid
  • March 28, 2016 - First hatch
  • March 30, 2016 - Hatchling deceased, perhaps injured by a branch being moved in the nest
  • May 23, 2016 - Unhatched egg removed from the nest by one of the adults
  • June 1, 2016 - Cameras turned off for the season


Clutch of two eggs, two hatches, two fledges

  • December 28, 2016 - Cameras turned on for the season
  • February 10, 2017 - First egg laid
  • February 13, 2017 - Second egg laid
  • March 20, 2017 - First hatch
  • March 21, 2017 - Second hatch (watch clip)
  • June 7, 2017 - Both eaglets fledged
  • July 3, 2017 - Cameras turned off for the season


Clutch of two eggs, no hatches, no fledges

The live cameras were turned on January 3, 2018 and viewers watched as "Liberty" & "Freedom", the resident pair of Hanover bald eagles, began rebuilding their nest in preperation for egg laying. 

On February 20, 2018, we were all excited to watch the first egg being laid. 

The second egg was laid on February 23, 2018. 

Did you know? In general, female bald eagles are larger than their male partners. The female incubates the eggs most of the time, but the male also helps.  The pair both make sure the eggs are protected from the weather. They will ‘roll’ the eggs to keep all parts of the egg at the same temperature to prevent the developing embryo inside the egg from sticking to the egg shell. Both parents are vigilant in protecting the eggs from predators or intruders to the nest. 

Watch this video clip of the "egg rolling". 

Did you know? Bald eagle's feathers protect them from both heat and cold and offer a barrier to snow and rain.  They have several layers of feathers that tightly overlap and provide a solid covering.  It is because of this coat of feathers that eagles are able to spend winters in extremely cold climates.  Depending on the ambient temperature, an eagle can rotate its feathers to reduce or increase their insulating effect 

Watch this video clip from 2018 as the Hanover, PA nest is covered in snow! 

March 17, 2018 and beyond... 

The cameras were disrupted and unavailable due to an electrical malfunction from the morning of March 17th to early March 19th. 

During this time, the PGC reported that there appeared to be another adult eagle around the nest. From the Pennsylvania Game Commission: “Extra” bald eagles may be adults that have not yet paired up and claimed a territory; they may attempt to interfere with this pair in order to claim a mate or territory. With the population filling the available habitat in many parts of Pennsylvania, it would not be surprising to see some increase in nest failure as a result of these interferences and competition disrupting the care of nest and young. The big takeaway lesson, bald eagles are well-adapted to Pennsylvania. They are well-adapted at selecting nest sites, building nests, and caring for eggs and young. This is one of the great lessons of the Game Commission’s bald eagle recovery effort and its annual monitoring of active eagle nests. As bald eagles are filling available habitat in some parts of the state, there will be some conflicts between competing eagles. We have never in modern history been witness to such conflict events and we will all learn as we go. In most conceivable circumstances, nature will be allowed to take its course without intervention. Should an injured eagle end up grounded, the Game Commission could facilitate its transfer to a licensed rehabilitation facility.

It is not possible to know the events that transpired while the cameras were shut off, however, it appears that the "extra" adult eagle engaged the resident eagles in conflict at the nest, potentially in an effort to claim territory. It is unclear what happened to the resident female (commonly referred to by viewers as "Liberty", although the PGC does not name wildlife). It appears that the resident male (commonly referred to as "Freedom") continued to incubate the eggs alone and may have been subject to additional conflicts with the "extra" adult eagle over the next few days.

March 21, 2018 - The two eggs were left unattended during a winter storm and were exposed to harsh conditions, ultimately becoming buried under the falling snow. The eggs are believed to have become non-viable due to these events.

March 22, 2018 - The "extra" adult eagle (now being referred to by viewers as "Lucy" and distinguishable by black markings on the tail wing tips) and the resident male made several visits to the nest throughout the day, both alone and together (see video clip below). In the evening hours after a joint visit, the black tipped eagle consumed one or possibly both of the eggs.

Late March and beyond - The nest continued to see visits from various eagles, including juveniles. While it is not possible to know for certain which eagles visited the nest, it is widely speculated that the adults included Freedom, Lucy and Liberty.

May 4, 2018 - Cameras turned down for the season



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