Sunday, July 13, 2014

Eagle numbers soar locally

July 06. 2013 11:16PM

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The number of bald eagle nests in the Northeast region is growing, and there is still plenty of room for more.

Kevin Wenner, a biologist with the Pennsylvania Game Commission, said most of the new nests in the area are reported by the public. Gaps between traditional nest sites on the Susquehanna and Delaware rivers are now becoming occupied, Wenner said, but there is still plenty of room for more expansion.

“We’ve also received reports of a half-dozen to a dozen immature bald eagles hanging out on bodies of water. There are a lot of immatures out there and that’s your up-and-coming breeding pairs,” Wenner said.

Most of the nests are discovered in the winter or early spring, before they are hidden from view by foliage. It’s also a time when eagles are active around the nests.

“From November through March, eagles are busy repairing existing nests or building new ones, and later incubating eggs which hatch in mid to late March,” Wenner said. “Quite frequently the public is bringing a new nest to our attention, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see the numbers continue to grow.”

The following is a breakdown of bald eagle nests in the Northeast region for 2013:

Total - 66 (61 in 2012)

New nests - 12 (8 in 2012)

Nests by county:

Bradford - 6

Carbon - 5

Columbia - 2

Lackawanna - 2

Luzerne - 3

Monroe - 6

Montour - 3

Northumberland - 3

Pike - 18

Sullivan - 1

Susquehanna - 4

Wayne - 8

Wyoming - 6

• While there haven’t been any reports of eagles being shot in the region, Wenner said the agency does find dead bald eagles in the area. Some are killed when they perch on wires and spread their wings between two wires are are electrocuted, Wenner said. Others are dying from high levels of lead, which Wenner said may results from eating fish with lead sinkers or unrecovered game with lead shot.

“We are studying the lead issue and any dead eagles we find are submitted to a lab for a lead screening,” Wenner said.

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