Bird expert: Second eagle egg 'non-viable' in Hanover nest

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch
The first of two siblings, dubbed "H313" hatched early Saturday morning to parents Liberty and Freedom. The chick's sibling as of 11:30 a.m. Thursday had not hatched and is most likely a "non-viable" egg, according to Hanover-area birding expert Karen Lippy. Credit: HDOnTap

The second egg in a popular Hanover eagle nest has not hatched five days after a tiny eaglet was expected to emerge, according to one birding expert.

One of the nest's two eggs, dubbed H313, hatched early Saturday morning to parents Liberty and Freedom. The second egg had not hatched as of 11:30 a.m. Thursday and is most likely a "nonviable" egg, according to Hanover-area birding expert Karen Lippy.

"I think it's too late for it to hatch," Lippy said. "It happens fairly often."

Watching live via the eagle cam, viewers have been waiting with anticipation for the second egg to hatch.

The nest camera has gained much attention since it was installed by the Pennsylvania Game Commission in 2015. The livestream is now sponsored by HDOnTap.

Factors including shell density and improper fertilization by the male partner can result in an unsuccessful hatching, Lippy said.

Other components — like weather — could be the reason for this particular egg's failure.

When the nonviable egg was first laid a month and a half ago, the parents left it unattended in freezing temperatures for an hour because of problems near the nest, Lippy said.

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

Now, parents Liberty and Freedom will likely either bury the unhatched egg or consume it, she added. 

This isn't the first time the Hanover-area eagles have experienced an unhatched egg.

Last year, neither of the two eggs hatched — but, surprisingly, this can be a benefit to the eagles, Lippy said.

"If they don't have chicks, it helps (the parents) build their strength, because it's labor-intensive raising a chick," she said.

The lone eaglet born Saturday is thriving, Lippy said .

"This chick will be very independent," she said. "It was very strong from the time it came out of the egg."

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