Bald Eagle Nest
A pair of Bald Eagles are now nesting within 5
miles of downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania along the Monongahela
River near where the famed Carnegie Steel
site once existed. Industrialization beginning in the 19th
century led to extensive unregulated pollution of the rivers,
which decimated fish populations that eagles feed on. For
example, during a survey on Monongahela River in 1967, one
scientist could find only one bluegill. As efforts to clean the
waterways took effect over the past 30 years, 76 species of fish
have been found in the Monongahela. Experts say it has probably
been more than 250 years since Bald Eagles last nested along
Pittsburghs three rivers. As recently as the mid-1980s, there
were just a few remaining nesting Bald Eagles pairs anywhere in
Pennsylvania. This year marks 30 years since the reintroduction
of Bald Eagles in Pennsylvania. With the help of the Canadian
government, several agencies brought bald eagle chicks back to their states to
reintroduce Bald Eagles. Today, Pennsylvania boasts more than
The Hays bald eagle pair first started nesting along the
Monongahela River in Pittsburgh in 2013. A nest was
observed by workers at the
Keystone Iron and Metal Company. The pair successfully
hatched one eaglet but on June 6, 2013 a strong storm
blew the nest down and the parents successfully fledged
the eaglet on the ground. The follow year the Hays eagle
pair build a new nest in the location it is today. A
camera was installed on this new nest in December of 2013.
The current Hays nest
is in a sycamore tree along the Monongahela River 6
miles south of Pittsburgh, PA
2013 Nesting Season
March 11 Incubating behavior was observed indicating an egg
had been laid in the nest.
April 14 Behavior indicated that an egg had hatched.
May 13 The eaglet is seen high in the nest stretching its
wings. Only one eaglet was ever seen in the nest.
June 6, 7 & 8 There was a strong storm with heavy winds on
June 6. The eaglet left the nest sometime between June 6 and
June 8 as observers on June 8 and June 9 did not see the eaglet
in the nest.
June 9 The eaglet is spotted about 20 to 30 feet below the
nest on top of some vines. The eaglet is too young to fly but is
old enough to survive as long has it is fed by its parents. The
parents are seen feeding the eaglet in the vines around 5:30 PM
on June 9. For the next two weeks the eaglet is seen in the
vines under the nest from the new part of the trail.
June 29 After not being seen for a week the eaglet is seen and
makes its first observed short flight.
July 2 Adults are observed landing with food far from the
eaglet forcing the eaglet to make long flights to obtain food
from its parents. The adult eagles will be teaching the eaglet
to find food on its own for about a month or two after the
eaglet began flying.
July 7 Eaglet is seen on the roost for the first time.
July 10 All three eagles are seen on the roost.
Aug 4 - Last time the eaglet (H1) was seen.
2014 Nesting Season (new
nest - camera installed)
First egg laid on February 19, 2014 at 4:45 PM - Hatch date:
March 28, 2014 at 3:36 PM - H2 fledge date: June 21 at 8:45 PM
Second egg laid on February 22, 2014 at 4:18 PM - Hatch date:
March 30, 2014 at 7:17 AM - H3 fledge date: June 20
Third egg laid on February 25, 2014 at 6:39 PM - Hatch date:
April 2, 2014 at 4:54 PM - H4 fledge date: June 27 at 10:14 AM
2015 Nesting Season
The 2015 nesting season was unsuccessful. We
assume this was due to the unusually cold weather conditions in
First Egg laid February 17, 2015 at 7:37 PM, on March 13 the
first egg was broken
Second Egg laid February 20, 2015 at 4:40 PM, on March 27 the
second egg was broken
2016 Nesting Season
Egg dates: Egg 1, 2/13 (early AM), Egg 2, 2/16 @ 1:45 PM, and
Egg 3, 2/20 @ 2:02 PM. Egg 3 was not viable and did not hatch.
H5 Hatch date 3/21 @ 12:37 AM:
click here for H5 video
H6 Hatch date 3/22 @ 9:40 PM :
click here for H6 video
2017 Nesting Season
2/10/2017 @ 5:49 PM the first egg was laid.
2/12/2017 @ 9:30 PM the nest tree blew down in a wind storm and
egg #1 is lost.
Click here to see video
2/15/2017 The eagle pair starts construction on a new nest about
100 yards from old nest site.
2/19/2017 A group of citizen scientist viewed
incubation behavior which suggested the female laid her 3rd egg in
the new nest with the assumption the 2nd egg was laid elsewhere by the
Successful Eaglets Fledged
@ 4:45 PM
@ 3:36 PM
||6/21/2014 @ 8:45 PM
@ 4:18 PM
@ 7:17 AM
@ 6:39 PM
@ 4:54 PM
||6/27/2014 @ 10:14 AM
@ 12:37 AM
@ 1:45 PM
@ 9:40 PM
Hays Eagles in the National News
2013-2014 Hatch Dates and Nest Activity Video Clips
About the Webcam
The camera system is a unique system
which was custom designed and manufactured by PixController,
Inc. The camera video feed is streamed over
a cellular network. Because the system is installed in a
remote location the system is powered by a battery bank, which
was supplied by
Interstate Batteries, and is solar charged.
The camera is a
Pan-Tilt-Zoom camera with built-in IR illuminators for night
time illumination. The camera is mounted in a tree about 30
yards from the nest site with a view down into the nest. We can
remotely move and zoom the camera and follow the eagles. During
the day the video will be broadcast in color and during the
night the video will switch over to black & white. We remotely
monitor the battery power and site security via M2M (machine to
machine) devices designed by PixController, Inc. to keep the
video feed streaming and secure without the need for human
Click on the Eagle Cam
Graphic above which was designed by the Pittsburgh
Quick Bald Eagle Facts
- How can I tell the
male from the female bald eagle? The female is
slightly larger than the male. In the case of the
Hays bald eagles the male has a noticeable white
spot on the right side.
- Adult birds range
from 35" to 37" tall with a wingspan of 72" to 90"
and weigh between 10 to 14 lbs.
- Their diet consists
of mainly fish but will take advantage of carrion
they can find.
- The female lays 1-3
eggs 5-10 days after mating. For bald eagles in our
area we should expect eggs between February & March.
The eggs are incubated for about 35 days.
- The nest is between
6' - 8' in diameter and can weigh up to 1 ton.
- Bald eagles
typically mate for life and have a 20-30 year
- Bald eagles do not
reach maturity until they are 4-5 year old at which
time they develop the white head and tail feathers.
- For more bird facts
Western PA Audubon Society
This live video feed
has been granted a Special Permit by the
Pennsylvania Game Commission
for educational purposes. The Game Commission's mission is: To
manage wild birds, wild mammals and their habitats for current
and futures generations.