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Susquehanna Life

Bald Eagles Are Well-Adapted to PA

Mar 22, 2018 10:25AM ● By Erica Shames
Thanks to the Pennsylvania Game Commission, and their partners (see info below), everyone can enjoy the site of bald eagles nesting in the woods --this one is located in Hanover, PA.

Bald eagles 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.

How do bald eagles manage cold weather and snow? Adult eagles deal with cold temperatures by fluffing out their feathers for insulation and finding protected areas to roost. Eagles also develop a brood patch when breeding.

A brood patch is an area without feathers that contains numerous blood vessels. The brood patch allows the adult eagles to easily transfer heat from themselves to the egg(s). Female bald eagles have larger brood patches than males, which implies that the females do a larger portion of the incubation and brooding.

Snow on an eagle nest is not cause for alarm. More than 300 other wild eagle nests across the state have also experienced snow, ice, and wind this winter and in previous years and the population continues to soar. 

A bit of history on the Hanover nest: The first record of an active nest in this area is from 2005. Records indicate that eaglets have fledged eight times, most often two at a time. There are no records indicating that any of the adult nesting eagles have been banded or otherwise marked.

Two cameras (provided by HDOnTap) were installed in November 2015. The cameras are powered by a hard line running down the tree to an electrical panel several feet from the base of the tree. Comcast Business is providing the internet service. Together, these partners are creating this dependable, high-quality stream. Friends of Codorus State Park supplied the bucket lift and other items necessary for installation and the landowner is donating the electricity to power the camera.

Codorus State Park staff have been instrumental with on the ground staff and in facilitating this project. The Game Commission is grateful for all those involved in providing this spectacular view of nature at work.

Stay up-to-date on the nesting bald eagle in this Hanover, PA, with this live link, courtesy of HDOnTap.

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