PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — They are the latest sensation in Pittsburgh.
Ever since word started spreading of the two American bald eagles nesting in the city’s Hays neighborhood, people have been visiting the area in hopes of getting a glimpse.
“We’re in Pittsburgh and we’re seeing bald eagles,” said Robin Harala, of Greenfield. “It’s pretty neat to see an eagle in the city limits.”
The birds have made their home on a hillside above the banks of the Monongahela River.
Once threatened with extinction, they’re part of a great resurgence of the mighty bird of prey. They are first pair in the City of Pittsburgh.
Weekend and even weekday foot traffic has become heavy along the trail as catching a glimpse of the magnificent birds cutting lazy circles in the sky has become the city’s newest spectator sport.
“This has become a tourist attraction,” said Bob Kripp, of Pittsburgh. “I was down here yesterday, it was like Lourdes.”
But rather than cure the sick, the eagles are a testament to a healthier environment, cleaner rivers in which to fish, clearer skies in which to fly.
They’re presence here bodes well for generations of Pittsburghers to come.
“It’s cool that our kids will get to check out and see a bird like that actually living in our city,” said Jen Cherevka, of Forest Hills.
But getting to see the eagles may present a bit of a challenge for you or your kids.
It requires a hike from the South Side or a shorter walk along the railroad tracks from the Glenwood Bridge. But folks who make the trek say it’s worth the effort.
Check out our map for where you can see the bald eagles:
“We come down, park at the Watefront, hike down,” said George Zelznek, of Arnold. “They’re just up there. They’re great.”
The birds join what are now more than 150 nesting pairs in the state.
While the pair have become a popular attraction, the Pennsylvania Game Commission officials warn not to get too close.
If you’re planning on going out to try and catch a glimpse of the birds, here are some tips on “Bald Eagle Nest Etiquette” from the Game Commission:
- Keep at least 1,000 feet from an active nest, roost, or feeding area. Use optics like binoculars or a telescope to view the eagles at a distance.
- If you must talk, whisper.
- Use your vehicle or boat as a blind; eagles often are more alarmed by pedestrians.
- Avoid sudden movements — and movements directly toward the eagles or the nest — while on foot or in a vehicle or boat.
- Don’t make the birds fly. Flushing an eagle off a nest may expose the eggs or young eaglets to cold or wet weather or a nest predator. It also wastes precious energy and may cause them to leave a valuable meal behind or abandon a nest that they are constructing.
- Watch how the eagle reacts to your presence – if it acts agitated, vocalizes repeatedly, or starts moving away, you are too close.
- Respect restricted zones. They protect eagle nesting areas. And you’re breaking state and federal laws if you enter them.
- Respect the privacy of the landowner. Don’t tell everyone about a new eagle nest. It will attract people to nesting areas who will not use proper etiquette and other unnecessary attention to a nest. If you unexpectedly stumble onto an eagle nest, or hear an eagle vocalizing overhead, leave immediately and quietly.
(Source: Pennsylvania Game Commission)
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