Hanover eagles could see an egg by morning
The Hanover-area bald eagles, as seen on the popular 24-7 online eagle cam, may see an egg by the light of day.
"In about a half an hour," said Hanover eagle expert Karen Lippy, when asked Thursday evening, Feb. 15, when she predicted the first eagle egg would come.
The eagles, which nest on private property near Codorus State Park, have been world famous since 2015, when the Pennsylvania Game Commission first installed a livestreaming camera at the nest so people can watch them day or night.
The egg could come at any time, Lippy explained, given that the female must lay an egg in the period of four to five days before or after the date she first laid an egg.
“The female bald eagle at the Hanover, Pa., nest laid an egg on Valentine's Day in 2015," read a Feb. 14 post on the Pennsylvania Game Commission Facebook page. "We expect to see an egg in the nest within the next few days."
"Once that period’s over, she can no longer produce an egg," Lippy said.
The egg takes about nine days to develop after it's fertilized, and Lippy believes the egg has been developed and is ready to drop.
"She’s on the nest right now," Lippy said. "It looks like it might be possible."
According to Lippy, all conditions are in place for the egg to be ready. The eagles created their egg bowl — a deep cup in the middle of the nest where they will drop their eggs — about two days ago.
The female eagle, nicknamed Liberty, spent the night on the nest twice within the last two weeks, Lippy said, so it's possible she could have come just to spend the night again.
It also could be the uncharacteristic warm weather causing her to sit uncomfortably, rolling back and forth in the nest, but it could be a sign that she is ready to lay her egg, Lippy said.
"It can come any time — night or day," she said. "If not tonight, it’s gonna be pretty soon."
Nest collapse: "They’ve got the nest looking pretty good," Lippy said.
The eagles' nest was touch and go this year, going through a few collapses that required the eagles to spend time and energy to rebuild.
The week before repairs were made on the eagle cam, the entire bottom of the nest dropped out, Lippy said.
"At the time, I thought they never would be able to repair," she said.
A pair of squirrels have a nest within the nest, she said, which is the major reason it keeps collapsing. As the squirrels chew to enlarge the chamber of their own nest, they may chew the wrong branches, causing the eagles' nest to fall apart.
The nest used to be supported by three branches, and at end of last nesting season, one branch broke away, Lippy said.
But she believes the nest is stable — now supported by two branches forming a "Y," with one going straight up and one curling up, against a tree that leans back slightly.
It's smaller this year than in previous years, but it's in good condition, she said.
Weather: Lippy does not think weather will have any effect on the eggs.
The eggs are tolerant of the weather, she said, having survived temperatures as low as 8 degrees in 2015. The eaglets did not die that year, while neither of the eaglets survived the 2016 season, when weather was much milder.
"There was no reason that anyone saw that year that anything went wrong," she said.
The only factor that could come into play would be stress from working hard in rebuilding the nest — "they basically built three nests this year," she said.
To view the eagle cam, offered through a partnership among the game commission, HDOnTap, Comcast and Codorus State Park, visit the game commission website at pgc.pa.gov.