PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Officials say extremely cold temperatures likely contributed to unsuccessful hatches from Pittsburgh’s bald eagle nests.

The Audubon Society says eggs at both Hays and Hamar didn’t hatch this season.

Audubon staff closely monitored the Harmar nest throughout the egg incubation period.

They reported that yesterday staff noted that the birds were using the nest but not actively incubating or caring for young.

The pair were not present overnight and were absent from the nest for several hours this morning, confirming that the Harmar nest has been abandoned.
The Hays nest was abandoned by the parent eagles last Friday.

Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania staff, along with PixController, reviewed hours of footage from the Hays eagle cam to determine that the remaining egg had broken.

There is no camera on the Harmar nest.

Officials say unsuccessful nesting attempts happen every year in the wild, and the exact cause is never known.

The Audubon Society says causes can include poor individual fitness of a bird, weather, and catastrophic events such as predation or nest destruction.

In the case of these two Allegheny County nests, we are led to assume that one of the most obvious factors, severe weather, may be a cause.


The last week of February and first week of March were extremely cold, with sub-zero temperatures and wind chills.

While Bald Eagles, in general, are able to cope with this type of scenario and produce viable offspring, the young age and inexperience of both the Hays and Harmar Bald Eagles could have contributed to this outcome.

In their limited experience nesting and raising young, officials say the pairs have not been faced with extremes.

Staff says unfortunately, the extreme cold may have created a differential that could not be overcome for these birds.