Footage shows Hanover eagle choking on fishing line, hook

Rebecca Klar
York Dispatch
An eagle in a Hanover nest was stuck on a fishing line and hook, as seen in this footage of a live webcam hosted by HDOnTap (Photo courtesy of Kat Boynton via Youtube)

One of two eagles in a local nest momentarily choked on a fishing line and hook on Friday, Feb. 22, according to video footage of the live Hanover Eagle Cam. 

Freedom, the male eagle in the pair, appeared to have brought in an animal caught on the line, causing him to choke before pulling it out, said Karen Lippy, Hanover eagle expert. 

"It was pretty shocking for people that were watching at that time," Lippy said.

The Eagle Cam, this year hosted by HDOnTap and Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, provides 24-7 footage of a bald eagle nest on private property next to Codorus State Park. The live stream, previously hosted by the Pennsylvania Game Commission, typically averages 1.5 million views per season. 

Kat Boynton, a member of the Hanover Eagle Cam Facebook group, posted slow motion footage of the incident on YouTube

Lippy said there seemed to be strings of meat on the line that Freedom kept swallowing. 

"Next thing you know, he started to choke," she said. 

Freedom eventually put his foot on the line and was able to pull it back out, she said. The hook seemed to remain in the nest, she added.

Lippy said she hopes the eagles place new twigs over the hook to bury it in their nest, so as not to harm any future eggs.

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There are currently no eggs in the Codorus Creek nest, which is unusual for this time of year, Lippy said. 

Surrounding nests alsoare eggless, leading Lippy to believe the "dark, gloomy" weather is to blame. 

Eagles' hormones are stimulated by the length of daylight to begin breeding season, she said. 

"I think because it's been so overcast, they haven't had enough daylight yet to get them in the proper point to have eggs," she said. 

— Rebecca Klar can be reached at rklar@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter @RebeccaKlar_.