The Saga of Liberty and Freedom Continues: Newborn Eaglets in the Hanover Nest
Even if this is the first you've heard of Liberty and Freedom – the two Pennsylvania Bald Eagles that have become a phenomenon – it’s a good time to join in on the running saga. Their nest near Hanover PA’s Codorus state park – closely observed by a trained camera (courtesy of the Pennsylvania Gaming Commission) – has become the object of national attention – with hundreds of thousands of viewers watching from more than 140 counties throughout the season. And as of Tuesday, March 24th, the Great Birds are now the proud parents of two young Eaglets.
Honor and Justice – the newborns – had their names chosen by readers of LancasterOnline.com. Everyone’s been watching closely in the past week – as the Bald Eagle’s incubation period is usually about 35 days, and the eggs were laid on February 14th and 17th.
You can check out the Eagle cam at http://www.pgc.state.pa.us by clicking the "Bald Eagle Live Stream" icon.
Pennsylvania’s Eagles: A National Success Story
In 2007, the bald eagle was removed from the federal list of Endangered Species, and in January 2014, its status in Pennsylvania was changed to “Protected”.
It was decided that if a state could meet certain criteria – with at least 150 active nests statewide, successful pairs of eagles (like our heroes, Liberty and Freedom) in at least 40 counties, a minimum of a 60 percent success rate for nests known statewide, and the productivity of fledged eaglets per successful nest – the Bald Eagle could be deemed appropriate for a change of status, taking it out of the endangered zone.
Data collected between 2008 and 2013 showed that Pennsylvania’s bald eagles exceeded the Game Commission’s criteria with 171 to 274 known nests in 46 to 58 counties, with success rates of 74 to 92 percent and with high rates of eaglets fledged per nest.
Lancaster County’s Pride
Lancaster County boasts a number of these magnificent birds, nesting and otherwise, and offers plenty of opportunities to see them throughout the county in full color and full force – and in their own habitats.
Visit one (or more) of these Lancaster County Parks, Trails and Preserves to spend a bit of time in the Wild World of the Eagle:
The Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area
Middle Creek is a 6254-acre area that’s owned and overseen by the Pennsylvania Gaming Commission. Bald Eagles – along with plenty of other birds and wildlife – can be observed here.
Chickies Rock County Park
An exceptional area for hiking, Chickies Rock offers the Eagle experience along inclines and river-side views that will take your breath away.
Speedwell Forge Lake
A 106-acre body of water, owned by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, Speedwell Forge offers views of Bald Eagles and all kinds of different waterfowls.
Canal Towpath Trail
Canal Towpath is a 4-mile expanse that works like a magnet for magnificent wildlife – it provides an opportunity for hikers and walkers to lose themselves in the storied life of the great Bald Eagle.
Touch Nature in Lancaster County PA
Get outside and into the hills and farmlands of Dutch Country – you may catch two nesting birds, or glimpse the birth of an eaglet yourself. Lancaster County isn’t just any place: You can reach out and touch nature here. You can hold history, and you can watch it being made!