PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — There’s a big push to save the bald eagles in the United States.
Pittsburgh’s own bald eagle nests in Hays and Crescent Township are a good sign of things to come. People here are right in the middle of the “Save The Eagles” movement.
Bald eagles in North America have come a long way in the past 50 years. In the 1960s, they were almost wiped out.
But thanks to new protection laws and bans on harmful pesticides, they’re making a comeback. There are now more than 69,000 bald eagles in the United States.
“It’s hard to step away from the fact that they are our nation’s symbol,” says Patti Barber, a biologist with the Pennsylvania Game Commission. “Knowing that they’ve now come back from the brink, I think a lot of people have a lot of pride that we managed to do that.”
As the eagle population continues to grow, fights over territory are becoming more common. Rescue centers are treating more and more eagles for wounds caused by other birds. Once they’re healthy and back in the wild, they’re finding some unique places to nest.
Take the bald eagle nest along the river in Hays. Three eaglets successfully hatched, grew up and flew away last year. Pittsburghers watched their every move.
“I’m sad to see them go, but this is the way it’s supposed to be,” said Annette Divinney, who was watching the eagles back in August. “Seeing them go is a wonderful thing. This is what they were born to do.”
The same nest already has one egg this year, and more could be laid any day now. People in Pittsburgh are on nest watch once again.
There’s another, more established nest along the Ohio River in Crescent Township. It’s roughly the size of a king-sized mattress. But there’s one problem; The eagles built the nest in an Ash tree that’s slowly being killed by Emerald Ash Borer beetles.
“In the event that the tree does die, it’s possible that the eagles’ nest could fall from the tree,” says Officer Matt Kramer of the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
But even if the nest does come crashing down, wildlife experts think the Crescent Township eagles will build another nest in the same area.
The bald eagles are thriving in Pittsburgh. “To see these majestic birds is awe-inspiring,” says Barber. “Anyone that gets a chance to get out and look at bald eagles, I think they are changed.”