Attacks and intrigue in Pennsylvania eagle nest drama

(Image courtesy of Pennsylvania Game Commission)

Two bald eagles in York County, Pa., rose to social media fame four years ago after being featured on the state online eagle feed.

Liberty and Freedom, as they were named by fans, quickly attracted a devoted following among wildlife lovers, who have watched, transfixed, as the eagle cam turned into a soap opera this spring.

On March 10, Freedom, the male, was attacked by a female eagle that viewers named Lucy. The camera caught the two battling above two fragile eggs laid in February.

Game Commission scientists say this was a bid for territory and mating access.

Then last Saturday, Liberty, the female, went missing. The agency received a report of an injured eagle but could not find it.

“Some think Lucy wants to take over for the missing Liberty and maternally assume incubation duties. But others aren’t buying it and think she may even be responsible for Liberty’s disappearance,” LancasterOnline.com reported.

Loyal Freedom endured the most recent nor’easter in the nest, keeping the eggs warm. But then he flew off, too, likely in search of food. The eggs were buried in snow, and the social media outcry was intense.

Later yesterday, Freedom returned with what looked like Lucy. The pair flew off together, Liberty apparently forgotten.

The state took a philosophical view of the situation.

“We have never in modern history been witness to such conflict events, and we will all learn as we go,” the Game Commission stated on its website. “In most conceivable circumstances, nature will be allowed to take its course without intervention.”

— Greenwire