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Second egg hatches in Hanover-area eagles nest

David Weissman
505-5431/@DispatchDavid

A second eaglet has appeared in the Hanover-area eagles' nest, a day after a sibling broke out of its shell.

The two eaglets huddle together while the parent takes a break from warming them Tuesday, March 21, 2017.

The eggs were laid  Feb. 10 and 13. One of them hatched early Monday, and the second eaglet appeared Tuesday.

This is the third year the state Game Commission has broadcast a video stream of the nest online to a large international audience.

Last year one egg failed to hatch and another produced an eaglet that only survived two days.

Travis Lau, spokesman for the commission, said it is difficult to know how likely survival is for the new eaglets, adding last week's major snowstorm shouldn't have much impact because eagles have been known to thrive in harsher winter climates.

Two eaglets huddle together on Tuesday, March 21, 2017.

The longer the eaglets survive, the more confident viewers can be about their continued survival, though Lau cautioned that there are no guarantees in the nest.

If they survive, the eaglets will develop most of their feathers in three to four weeks, begin moving around the nest in six to seven weeks and fly in about three months, Lau said.

Shutdown: The livestream was shut down last year after part of the eagles' nest, which is located on private property near Codorus State Park outside Hanover, collapsed at the end of May. The shutdown had been planned even before the collapse, according to the game commission's website, so the agency staff could focus on other projects.

The eagle cam has been popular, giving viewers an inside look at life in an eagle's nest. The Game Commission has said more than 550,000 viewers tuned in to watch the eagles last season, down from 1.5 million viewers two years ago.

“Over the past four years, we’ve seen an adult eagle defend its egg against a raiding raccoon, watched as another adult unwaveringly continued to incubate eggs as snow piled up on its back and (viewers) had to deal with a newly obstructed view after one chick targeted the camera lens," Game Commission Executive Director R. Matthew said in a December news release announcing the return of the eagle cam.

"Even during last year’s failed nesting attempt, watching the eagles’ response was fascinating," he said.

The nest has two cameras, both of which have microphones attached, and video began streaming  Dec. 28. According to a news release from the state Game Commission, eagles have nested in the tree for more than 10 years.