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Hanover Eagle Nest Updates

Updates from the live stream 

May 4 - Thank you for joining us in celebrating Pennsylvania's thriving bald eagle population in 2018. We are grateful to HDOnTapOpens In A New WindowComcast BusinessOpens In A New WindowCodorus State Park, and our other partners for their involvement in the success of this live stream. This season was full of excitement as we learned new things about Pennsylvania's growing bald eagle population. The live stream closed Friday, May 4. What appears to have been an attempt to take over this territory by a floater (also known as intraspecific intrusion) has likely been replicated at several nests across the state as the bald eagle population grows. This is a testament to the Game Commission's eagle recovery efforts and a result of a thriving bald eagle population. We appreciate the time and dedication of our partners that made this live stream possible and thank the fans for being respectful and engaged in this unique learning opportunity. We invite you all to tune in to the live stream from elk country this fall, where we hope to view bugling bull elk, turkey, deer, and other wildlife. 

March 27 - None of the adults that have been to the nest are banded or otherwise marked. It is speculative for us to attempt to tell them apart. Females are generally larger, though a large male and small female could appear similar in size. Also, the wide camera angle tends to make the bird closer to the camera appear larger. It is possible that an adult other than one of the pair that started this season at the nest is attempting to take over this territory. This is known as “intraspecific intrusion”. There are a large number of bald eagle “floaters” in the state. These are adult birds that are not associated with a nesting territory. The number of floaters is growing as bald eagle nests successfully produce young each year. Some of these floaters intrude on active nests. Most intrusion events are quite brief and do not result in nest failure or abandonment, but could if the intrusion is persistent. This kind of event could be occurring at several nests throughout the commonwealth. As the bald eagle population grows in Pennsylvania, Game Commission biologists expect that we will continue to see eagles fight over territories; it is a testament to the Game Commission’s eagle recovery efforts. As for the eggs, an adult was seen eating one of the two eggs. We believe the egg currently in the nest is no longer viable. It remains to be seen if there will be a renesting; our biologists believe it to be possible though unlikely. We will learn as we watch.

March 22 - As of approximately 3:30 yesterday afternoon, the two eggs were left unattended and exposed to winter conditions. We believe that these eggs are no longer viable. Nature can be difficult to watch. The Game Commission manages eagles in Pennsylvania as a population, not just individuals. Other nesting eagles, including those further north, also experience threats from winter weather and animal encounters. Despite some nest failures, the eagle population continues to thrive. If there are other adult eagles in the area, it is an unlikely possibility that eagles could renest at this site. Thanks for your passion for Pennsylvania wildlife.

March 20 - What about those other eagles? While the Game Commission does not have a biologist on the ground in the area, it does appear that there may be another adult eagle around the nest. “Extra” bald eagles may be adults that have not yet paired up and claimed a territory; they may attempt to interfere with this pair in order to claim a mate or territory. With the population filling the available habitat in many parts of Pennsylvania, it would not be surprising to see some increase in nest failure as a result of these interferences and competition disrupting the care of nest and young. The big take-away lesson, bald eagles are well-adapted to Pennsylvania. They 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. As bald eagles are filling available habitat in some parts of the state, there will be some conflicts between competing eagles. We have never in modern history been witness to such conflict events and we will all learn as we go. In most conceivable circumstances, nature will be allowed to take its course without intervention. Should an injured eagle end up grounded, the Game Commission could facilitate it’s transfer to a licensed rehabilitation facility.

March 20 - 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. Learn more about eagles in the links at the bottom of the main page.

March 19 - The streams were disrupted over the weekend. The issue was resolved after power was restored. We thank our partners at HDOnTap, Comcast Business, and Codorus State Park for making this stream possible and troubleshooting with us.

February 23 - A second egg arrived shortly after 6pm.

February 20 - The first egg of 2018 appeared around 3:30 in the afternoon. A second egg could appear by the 23rd. Since we have been live streaming this nest, eggs have arrived between 3:15 and 6:00 p.m.. If all goes well, we can expect the first egg to hatch at the end of March.

January 2018 - Video and audio streams from two cameras at the nest site went live on January 3. One camera is a side angle and the other a view from above, which also has infrared capabilities for night viewing. Sometime in late fall a large part of the nest fell. The remaining structure is quite a bit further down the tree and much smaller. The adults continue to bring sticks, corn stalks, grasses, and other materials to nest.

December 2017 - Staff members from HDOnTap and Codorus State Park worked through the cold and wind to replace and rewire cables at the nest site. Some of the nest had fallen. Two adult eagles have been frequenting the site with nesting material.

Highlights of 2017 - The Hanover bald eagle family had a successful 2017 season with both eggs hatching and both nestlings fledging. The first egg appeared on the evening of February 10 and the second on the evening of the 13th. March 20 broke with a new eaglet in the nest and second hatched the following day. The eaglets began branching over the Memorial Day holiday and by mid-June we weren't seeing much of them. The live streams closed on July 11. We thank the landowners, neighbors, and Codorus State Park staff for being our eyes, ears, and feet on the ground. We thank HDOnTap for providing the live stream service and Comcast Business for providing the necessary internet connection.  We thank you all for watching and learning about Pennsylvania wildlife with us.

Highlights of 2016 - The live stream began December 17 shortly after the installation of two new cameras and audio equipment. Eggs were laid on February 18 and 21. March 28 one of the eggs hatched; the nestling died two days later, perhaps injured by a branch being moved in the nest. The other egg never hatched and remained n the nest until May 23 when one of the adults removed the remnants from the nest. There are many factors that can influence the success of a nest. We do not know what caused the nesting failure in this specific instance. We do know that the eagles using the Hanover nest have produced successful young during many past years, and that they have had nest failures in other years. This is not an uncommon occurrence for raptors, nor for wildlife species in general. The stream was shut down on June 1st so agency staff could devote time to other projects.

Highlights of 2015: Eggs were laid on February 14 and 17. Adult eagles were covered in snow on the nest on March 5 drawing international attention. The eggs hatched on March 24 and 25. The two young eaglets fledged around June 22nd.

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. These 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.