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It’s in your nature: Now there are seven!

My fascination and interest in nature, and birds in particular, began when I was just a “pup.” I’ve witnessed highs and lows with a wide variety of bird species in my life, and unfortunately with the increasing human intrusions, much of the news is not good.

But regarding bald eagles, the news is very positive. I have been able to confirm that there are now seven bald eagle nests in the Times News coverage area. Five of these nests are in Carbon County, while the other two are about a half mile from both the eastern and western borders.

The bald eagle’s preference for fish as its primary food makes our region good for them to raise their young. We have ample precipitation here. Because of that, we have a major river, Beltzville Reservoir, Wild Creek Reservoir, Penn Forest Reservoir, Mauch Chunk Lake, and Lake Hauto. Pohopoco Creek, Mahoning Creek, and Lizard Creek are large enough as well to support bigger fish to feed our nation’s symbol. Although some local pond owners may not like it, our numerous ponds also give the birds ample opportunity to catch some larger fish too.

There is an eagle nest below Beltzville Lake, one along its south shore, one at Wild Creek Reservoir, one in East Penn Township, and one in the Lehigh River Gorge. In all likelihood, eagles are probably completing their egg laying as this column comes to print.

As you are aware, eagles, owls and hawks will begin incubating their eggs as soon as they lay their first egg. In some cases, there could be 5, 6, or even 8 or 9 days between when the first egg and last egg are laid. The result after approximately 35 days of incubation, eggs hatch at different times. Thus, the young are different sizes in the nest. Most of the time, with adequate food, the adults are able to distribute the prey evenly to the different sized eaglets. Sometimes the smallest one does not survive.

I enjoy watching one of the three live streams available to us courtesy of both the Pennsylvania Game Commission and Audubon Society of Western PA. If you enjoy watching nature scenes happening live, I highly recommend the following: Hanover Bald Eagle Nest, Pa. Farm Country eagle nest, and Pittsburgh Eagle Nest at Hays. The first two live videos streaming are courtesy of the Game Commission.

As I’m writing this column on Feb. 22, the Hays nest has two eggs, the Farm Country egg has one (unusual) and the third nest doesn’t have any. Each of these streaming sites also give you a history and you can see the results of nesting for the past few years while updating the current status, including when eggs were laid, when they first hatch, etc.

I don’t get “birding” every day, although I’d like to, but on nearly every trip through Lehigh Gap, I regularly see at least one adult eagle perched on one of the recently erected steel monopoles. With the eagle population growing (over 300 nests statewide) I almost always see a bald eagle on every one of my nature outings. I don’t tire of seeing them.

Test Your Outdoor Knowledge: Bald eagles eat: A. fish. B. carrion. C. waterfowl. D. all of these. E. all of these, except carrion.

Last Week’s Trivia Answer: Needle cast disease, very devastating to the Christmas tree grower’s Douglas firs, is also killing Norway and blue spruce trees as well. (You may have noticed many 30- or 40-year-old blue spruces dying in homeowner’s lawns)

Email Barry Reed at breed71@gmail.com

Bald eagle nests are built in large trees (seldom in Hemlock trees) that have a group of large supporting limbs. The nests can reach 6 or 7 feet across and deep. The Carbon County nests are in white pines (3) and red oak trees (2). BARRY REED PHOTOS
The juvenile eagles will remain in the nests until their wings are strong enough for extended flights. They still do not have the adults' white head and tail.
To insure that the younger and smaller eaglets in the nest get their share of food, the adults tear apart the prey and feed the individual juveniles.
Unlike mammals such as deer or humans, when an eaglet fledges at a few months of age, it is nearly its maximum adult size. They weigh about 15 pounds and have an 80-inch wingspan.