3/14/17 – The nor-easter dumped enough snow on the Hanover nest to cover the female (again) as she incubates two eggs.
The female took her time coming out from under her snow blanket this morning. The eggs likely remained warm under the blanket of snow, as snow is a good insulator. Feathers are a wonderful insulator too, as evidenced by the fact that none of the snow melted off the back of the eagle. The trick over the next few days will not be keeping the eggs warm, but keeping them dry, as the snow melts. This time-lapse video shows the Hanover female uncovering her eggs briefly this morning. You can see the eggs, and the egg cup, appear to have remained dry. The female’s feathers under her body and legs appeared to be dry also. There are plenty of grasses and straw near the nest and I suspect we will be seeing new nest material brought in as the snow begins to melt.
That does not mean that there is no chance of nest failure, as the Pennsylvania Game Commission is studying the effects of severe winter storms on the nesting success of Bald Eagles. What can you do to help the eagles thrive through severe weather? Tell your politicians that you believe in science and understand the impact that high carbon emissions have on a changing climate. Support the use of ‘green-energy’ alternatives over the increased use of coal. Be aware though, no matter how much we curb greenhouse gas emissions today, it will take many years before an impact is felt, as the climate is expected to continue to warm due to emissions that have already occurred.