North Park bald eagles are back; grove dedicated as Eagle Nest - PineCreek Journal

North Park bald eagles are back; grove dedicated as Eagle Nest

Trib logo Mary Ann Thomas

Thursday, October 31, 2019 | 12:01 AM

The North Park bald eagles are back visiting their nest along Kummer Road for an apparent second try at breeding much to the pleasure of park visitors, who now have a newly renamed Eagle’s Nest shelter to view all the action.

Howard Kepple of West Deer, who frequently sets up his camera at the Eagle’s Nest shelter along Pearce Mill Road near the ice skating rink, saw the pair as recently as Tuesday. They have been visiting the nest since September but the couple have been getting busy recently bringing branches and sticks in for “nestorations.”

The North Park bald eagles caused a stir earlier this year when they became the first pair of the formerly endangered raptors to ever nest in the park or in any one of Allegheny County’s nine parks. Although the birds’ union didn’t result in offspring, which is typical for a young pair of eagles, they are back at their nest site presumably ramping up for another breeding season.

Expect the birds to start putting on a show beginning in December of pair bonding and aerial tumbling.

Area bald eagles typically lay their first egg in February. They produce a clutch of one to three eggs requiring about 35 days of continuous incubation before hatching, according to the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

With the nest located close to the Rachel Carson trail, watchers have dubbed the birds “Ms. Rachel and Mr. Carson.”

Recognizing the popularity and safety of the formerly endangered creatures, Allegheny County officials held an official ceremonial renaming of the shelter from North Dakota to Eagle’s Nest on Monday.

Earlier this year, the county designated the grove as the public viewing area to watch the nest. Trails near the nest are closed to protect the birds.

Luckily for the public, the North Park eagles located their nest on a hillside accessible for comfortable viewing of the birds at a picnic grove. Such is not the case for visitors to the Harmar eagle nest, which doesn’t have a designated public viewing area with seating and shelter, nor the Hays nest, which requires some walking along the Three Rivers Heritage Trail.

County park rangers and the park naturalist Meg Scanlon have been using the grove to teach the public about the bald eagles and other wildlife in the park. The county sometimes leaves inexpensive binoculars at the grove for the public to use and educational materials. Often photographers and birdwatchers set up cameras and scopes, offering up views to visitors trying to glimpse the majestic birds.

Allegheny Council Member Cindy Kirk introduced legislation approved by County Council last week to rename the shelter.

Allegheny County officials and birders visited the Eagles’ Nest shelter on Monday to rename it. “Council Member Kirk clearly heard about the excitement for these eagles,” said Rich Fitzgerald, county executive in a statement. “We share in that excitement and look forward to continuing to share Ms. Rachel and Mr. Carson’s daily lives,” he said.

Fitzgerald added that the county has “heavily invested in our parks over the last few years, listening closely to the residents and users about what they want to see.”

For details on the birds and other North Park happenings, visit the Facebook pages of North Park Bald Eagles, Friends of North Park, and Friends of Latodomi.