First Codorus State Park eaglet of 2016 dies

Written by Dustin B. Levy/Hanover Evening Sun | Mar 31, 2016 3:43 AM

One of the Hanover eagles stands on the edge of the nest Wednesday, March 30, 2016. The Pennsylvania Game Commission announced today that the eaglet that was born on Monday appears to have died. It is in the center of the nest next to the second egg that has yet to hatch. (Photo: Image courtesy of Pennsylvania Game Commission, HDOnTap and Comcast Business)

(Hanover) -- The first eaglet born on the Pennsylvania Game Commission's 2016 bald eagle livestream has died, the Pennsylvania Game Commission confirmed in a tweet.

The baby eagle, whose birth was widely anticipated, was born late Monday in the nest near Codorus State Park in York County.

"As we've noted, the live stream provides an opportunity to view wildlife in its natural setting. Sometimes, that may include scenes that are difficult to watch," according to the Pennsylvania Game Commission's Facebook page.

Viewers of the eagle cam, set up by the Pennsylvania Game Commission and livestream provider HDOnTap, started to worry after witnessing the eaglet motionless in the nest Wednesday morning, said game commission spokesman Travis Lau.

The game commission does not know why the eaglet died, Lau said, noting that eaglet deaths are common in nature.

"Half of all nestlings die before they leave the nest," said Patti Barber, a biologist for the Pennsylvania Game Commission. With both eaglets that hatched in the nest in 2015 successfully fledging from the nest, the survival rate was above average, Barber said.

The Game Commission said is a statement that it will not intervene in this situation.


(Photo: Courtesy of the Pennsylvania Game Commission)

Some eagle cam viewers worried the deceased newborn would be eaten by its parents or by the yet-to-hatch sibling.

"It's very unlikely," said Barber, explaining that the body will slowly deflate and disappear, becoming nest material.

One theory among eagle cam watchers was that the nestling died after being smothered by the adult eagles, but Barber noted that the eagles do not put much weight on the eggs, and there is no such thing as nesting too long.

"What the adult is doing is providing a good climate, temperature, humidity, whatever underneath itself so that the nestling is kept as toasty warm as possible right now because it is cool outside," she said.

The second egg in the nest has not yet hatched. Barber said there is no reason to believe the egg is not viable.

*This article is part of a content-sharing partnership between WITF and The Evening Sun


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