Bald eagle Liberty lays her first egg
Exciting news came Tuesday, Feb. 27, for viewers of the Hanover Eagle Cam.
"We have an egg," said Karen Lippy, Hanover eagle expert.
Bald eagle Liberty laid her first egg of the season in the Codorus State Park nest at 5:08 p.m. on Tuesday — making it the latest egg she's ever laid in the season by at least four days, Lippy said.
Before this year, Feb. 24 had been the latest Liberty had laid an egg; even then it was a second egg, she said.
Liberty typically lays two eggs. The second should come around Thursday, Feb. 28, Lippy said.
Eagles' hormones are stimulated by the length of daylight. The overcast weather may have set the breeding season back this year, she said.
April Fools' eagle: Now that the egg is laid, it will take about 35 to 38 days for the egg to hatch. By April Fools' Day, a newborn eagle may emerge in the nest, which is on a 24-7 webcam livestream hosted by HDOnTap and Hawk Mountain Sanctuary.
With the eagle egg laid, both Liberty and Freedom will likely spend more time in the nest. When Liberty leaves to get food or take care of herself, Freedom will take over to incubate the egg, Lippy said.
"Both are involved," she said of eagle parents.
Liberty needs Freedom to protect the egg when she leaves. Potential challengers to the nest pose a threat to Freedom, Liberty and their egg.
There have been a few flybys and chases this year, Lippy said. The eagle challenging the nest is likely a male since it is a smaller bird, she said.
If successful, the male challenger would kill Freedom, leaving Liberty and the egg in danger. The unattached bird would have no interest or investment in raising Liberty's egg.
"It would be unlikely she would be successful if she loses her male," Lippy said.
— Rebecca Klar can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @RebeccaKlar_.