Eagles filling up nest sites in Northeast Pennsylvania
The number of bald eagle nests in the Northeast region is growing, and there is still plenty of room for more.
I spoke to Kevin Wenner, a biologist with the Pennsylvania Game Commission, last week and he said most of the new eagle nests in the area are reported by the public. There are 12 new eagle nests in the region that the commission is aware of, but things aren't quite filled up. While gaps between traditional nest sites on the Susquehanna and Delaware rivers are now becoming occupied, Wenner said, but there is still plenty of room for more expansion.
“We’ve also received reports of a half-dozen to a dozen immature bald eagles hanging out on bodies of water. There are a lot of immatures out there and that’s your up-and-coming breeding pairs,” Wenner said.
And they are likely candidates to claim those gaps along the Susquehanna and Delaware rivers.
Most of the nests are discovered in the winter or early spring, before they are hidden from view by foliage. It’s also a time when eagles are active around the nests.
“From November through March, eagles are busy repairing existing nests or building new ones, and later incubating eggs, which hatch in mid to late March,” Wenner said. “Quite frequently the public is bringing a new nest to our attention, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see the numbers continue to grow.”
They've had their challenges in the past, but as far as the Northeast is concerned, bald eagles are a continued success story.
The following is a breakdown of bald eagle nests in the Northeast region for 2013 (based on Game Commission figures):
Total – 66 (61 in 2012)
New nests – 12 (8 in 2012)
Nests by county:
Bradford – 6
Carbon – 5
Columbia – 2
Lackawanna – 2
Luzerne – 3
Monroe – 6
Montour – 3
Northumberland – 3
Pike – 18
Sullivan – 1
Susquehanna – 4
Wayne – 8
Wyoming – 6
While there haven’t been any reports of eagles being shot in the region, Wenner said the agency does find dead bald eagles in the area. Some are killed when they perch on wires and spread their wings between two wires and are electrocuted, Wenner said. Others are dying from high levels of lead, which Wenner said may results from eating fish with lead sinkers or unrecovered game with lead shot.
“We are studying the lead issue and any dead eagles we find are submitted to a lab for a lead screening,” Wenner said.