While most people try to put off home improvement work until the spring, a pair of bald eagles got some help last week from a group of Pennsylvania Game Commission land managers with a very timely construction project.
About two weeks ago on Haldeman Island in Dauphin County, the tree limb supporting the eagles nest collapsed under the weight of the nest. On February 10, three Pennsylvania Game Commission employees went to the eagles' former nest on Haldeman Island to construct a platform to encourage the bald eagle pair to reuse the nest site.
According to Richard Danley, Information and Education Supervisor for the Southcentral Pennsylvania Gaming Commission, it is possible for the eagles to construct a new nest next year.
"It may have taken them a year of finding a suitable location and then actually constructing their nest before they actually bred, and then we would have had a year of that pair of eagles not necessarily producing any offspring," Danley said.
Haldeman Island played a big role in the recovery of bald eagles in Pennsylvania. In the 1980's, it was one of two locations used for reestablishment of eagles into the state. When the reintroduced birds successfully raised young on the island in 1990, the entire state had only seven pairs of bald eagles.
Since then, there has been an active eagle nest on the island almost every year.
"While we don't know if the same pair have been active that whole time, the same old sycamore tree has been used during this period, and that nest has produced more than 40 young," said Don Brauning, Game Commission Wildlife Diversity Division chief. "Since this site is well-protected, on a game commission island with limited access, this site has particular value to us."
So far, the eagles have not taken to the man-made nest.