The Pennsylvania Game Commission confirmed that the first of three bald eagle eggs had hatched Friday in a nest sitting in a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania neighborhood. Roughly an hour later, the adult male and female eagles were seen tending to the eaglet via a webcam put in place by the commission using PixController.
The nest was built in the Hays section of Pittsburgh, near the Monongahela river. The Game Commission commented that the second egg might hatch in about three days, and the last egg might hatch within a week. According to Commission Officer Gary Fujak, the 5.5-year-old female eagle will stay on top of the hatchling while she continues to incubate the other two eggs for the next several days. Fujak commented, “Generally, the first eaglet that hatches will have the best chance. The mortality rate can be as high as 50 percent within the first year,” though added that three eaglets in Crescent Township, Allegheny County survived last year.
Here’s the clip of the first eaglet hatching in the Pittsburgh Hays nest:
In the 1800’s, the Carnegie Steel Homestead site sat along the Monongahela River, severely polluting the water, as industrialization was yet to be regulated during that era. Fish populations were essentially destroyed, and during a survey in 1967, a researcher could only find one bluegill. As bald eagles rely on fish to survive, experts have noted that it’d likely been 250 years since the birds of prey were nesting along Pittsburgh’s three rivers, before being reintroduced three decades ago alongside efforts to clean up the waterways.
At present, there are now 76 species of fish in the Monongahela. With assistance from the Canadian government and the Pennsylvania Game Commission, there are now more than 200 eagle’s nests existing in the region. Fujak commented, “This is great. It is showing how adaptive wildlife is and how resilient they are.”
Image via Wikimedia Commons