Hanover-area eagle Liberty lays first egg of the season

Harper Ho
York Dispatch
"Liberty" laid her first egg in Hanover on Tuesday Feb. 2, 2021.

Liberty the bald eagle laid her first egg of the season shortly before 4 p.m. Tuesday in her nest near Hanover.

The moment was livestreamed via the Hanover Bald Eagle Cam. HDOnTap camera, which runs 24/7 in partnership with the Pennsylvania Game Commission and Comcast Business.

Liberty shares the nest with her partner Freedom near Codorus State Park. Cameras have been trained on the nest since 2015, and many fans have watched the pair through the years.

Karen Lippy, veteran bird watcher and park volunteer, said a second egg should show up Thursday, adding "as far as we know, she has never produced more than two eggs" a year.  

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Online community observers commented that this year's laying might be one of the earliest by Liberty, who laid her first egg on Feb. 13 last year.

"A lot of it depends on if they're getting adequate food. If she's in peak condition to produce an egg, then she'll produce an egg," Lippy said. "It's how nature works."

She said a variety of factors, such as the length of daylight, affect when eagles lay eggs, but that it normally happens about this time of year.

Fans noted that Liberty laid her first egg after a snowstorm that swept over central Pennsylvania for about two days starting Sunday. Lippy said Liberty has seen far worse weather, such as in 2015, when the eagle was covered up to her head in snow.

Last year, neither of eggs hatched, but the pair had two eaglets fledge from the nest each year in 2019, 2017 and 2015.

"I sure hope that they're successful. It seems every other year they have success, but this should be a successful year for them if that holds," Lippy said. "If this nest would fail, we have had instances where the eagles have produced a second clutch if it happens early enough."