North Park site of program about resident bald eagles

Friday, June 14, 2019 | 12:01 AM


Followers of the North Park bald eagles didn’t get the opportunity to watch the nesting pair raise eaglets this year, but there’s still an opportunity to learn more about the park’s newest avian residents.

North Park and the Pennsylvania Game Commission will host a bald eagle education program at the Rose Barn from 6 to 6:45 p.m. June 26. Suitable for all ages, the program will cover what happened to decimate the bald eagle population in the U.S., why the population has rebounded and other facts about the birds’ size, their nests, biology, mating, lifestyle habits and more.

The pair that arrived in North Park over the winter are believed to be the first to nest in an Allegheny County Park.

“The prevailing theory is that the supporting ecosystem is strong enough (in North Park) that apex predators of their size are able to exist there,” said Allegheny County Parks assistant program coordinator Brandon Weaver. “That means there has to be a lot of good fish and a lot of good rodents running around North Park, enough for them to be able to raise their young because they have pretty big territories. It’s pretty cool they decided to nest in North Park.”

By early May, it became evident that there were no chicks in the nest, but state game warden Dan Puhalla told the Tribune-Review they expect the pair to remain in the park through the winter and they’re optimistic about another attempt at nesting and producing young next year.

The nest area is near the skating rink and visitors kept daily watch at the park’s North Dakota shelter at Pearce Mill and Brown roads, where park officials offered binoculars for better viewing and information about the eagles.

The response to their arrival, Weaver said, has been incredible.

“There are always people down there at that shelter,” he said. “There are people filming, taking pictures; they bring camp chairs and set up shop. At the last bald eagle education program we held, there were so many enthusiastic people who just wanted to talk about what they saw. It’s really cool to see all those people together for what some might think is just a couple of birds.”