HAYS (KDKA) – The tree that held the nest of two bald eagles and their egg fell during high winds Sunday night.
On Monday, both eagles could be seen circling in sky looking for the next spot to build a new home.
“The tree that it was in was huge. Never thought it would fall,” avid birder Dana Nesiti said.
The female bald eagle was in the nest as the tree started to fall.
“You heard the lumber breaking and she actually stood up and was able to fly out of the way,” avid birder Dan Dasynich said.
Nesti arrived at the Hays viewing area before dawn to take pictures of the aftermath.
“They usually don’t fly until it gets light and it was still dark and they were flying around,” Nesiti said.
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“When I looked up, we could see a void in the hillside where the tree was and we ascertained that it was probably gone,” Dasynich said.
“The tree has fallen over completely, obviously holding the nest and the egg, we’d have to assume they’re both all gone,” Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania Executive Director Jim Bonner said. “It’s devastating. So many people have fallen in love with these birds being able to watch them so closely day in and day out.”
How did the eagles spend most of the day Monday?
“Mostly sitting in the tree where they are now,” said Nesiti. “Then every once in a while they’ll come out and fly some loops around and go back to the tree.”
The good news is that both adult eagles are fine. The female is expected to lay another egg within the next few days, but that egg likely won’t survive since there’s no nest to incubate it.
“It’s still early in the season so there’s a chance they may be able to lay new eggs. They have to find and establish a new nest which is the biggest challenge,” Bonner said.
The Audubon Society expects the bald eagles to remain in the area.
“The food availability in the river is so high,” Dasynich said.
They will either build a new nest or take over an existing nest. For example the bald eagle nest in Harmar was actually built by red-tailed hawks.
Last year, the eagles successfully raised two eaglets, which hatched in March and fledged in June. A third egg was not viable and never hatched.