'Healthy and ready to grow': Eaglet hatches at popular Hanover-area nest

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch
A newly-hatched bald eaglet arrived into the world early Saturday morning — the first of two babies this year for a pair of experienced bald eagle parents in Hanover. Credit: HDOnTap

A newly hatched bald eaglet arrived into the world early Saturday morning — the first of two expected this year for a pair of experienced bald eagle parents near Codorus State Park.

Watching live via the eagle cam, viewers have been waiting with anticipation for the second egg to hatch and another eaglet to greet its days-old sibling, named H313, for its birth location and date.

"This chick seems to be very healthy and vigorous," said Hanover-area birding expert  Karen Lippy.  "It's very aggressive about feeding — and sometimes they're not — but it certainly seems healthy and ready to grow."

Codorus State Park volunteer and birding expert Karen Lippy stands near an eagle mural Monday, March 15, 2021, painted on a silo at the farm of her friend Julie Wildasin, near the park. A bald eaglet hatched recently in a nest adjacent to the farm. It is the first of two expected at the nest this year. Bill Kalina photo

The second egg of the pair parented by bald eagles Liberty and Freedom is showing a few cracks in the shell but had not hatched as of 3:15 p.m. Tuesday.

If the chick does not hatch by Wednesday, the egg is most likely "not viable," Lippy said.

The nest camera has been followed closely since it was installed by the Pennsylvania Game Commission in 2015. It is now sponsored by HDOnTap.

Liberty, a 21-year-old eagle, has nested in Hanover since 2003. She has been the mother to 21 chicks and has had three different mates. The most recent mate, Freedom, has fathered seven eaglets.

A newly-hatched bald eaglet arrived into the world early Saturday morning — the first of two babies this year for a pair of experienced bald eagle parents in Hanover. Credit: HDOnTap

"They are experienced parents and know what to do when raising a chick," Lippy said.  

This isn't the first eaglet to hatch in York County this year. In January, a nest in Spring Grove produced multiple eaglets. 

Additionally, eggs in a nest in Codorus State Park hatched this month, though the number of babies will be unknown until they get bigger, Lippy said. 

Through the eagle cam at Liberty and Freedom's nest in Hanover, many people from across the world have observed the pair raising chicks over the years.

The camera has been a valuable educational tool, Lippy said.

"It was a pretty big miracle when they put the camera in the nest," she added. 

Through conservation efforts, bald eagle populations have made a comeback — with both positive and negative consequences.

A bald eagle's nest, center, is visible near Codorus State Park Monday, March 15, 2021. A bald eaglet hatched recently in the nest and is the first of two expected at the nest this year. Bill Kalina photo

While populations have steadily increased in recent years, less available territory has created conflicts between rival eagles. 

"It's wonderful to see so many out here, but territories are limited," Lippy said, adding that pollution or noise can disturb where bald eagles call home.

She said she hopes the eagle camera will bring more awareness to the bald eagle population and conservation groups dedicated to protecting them.

"People have always been excited to see eagles," Lippy said. "The fact that it's our national symbol touches people."

— Reach Tina Locurto at tlocurto@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.