John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
Gaze in wonder at Liberty and Freedom, their babies, and piles of gory fish.
Viewed in the privacy of their nest, America's beloved bald eagles are a mighty sight: fierce, ever-vigilant, and surrounded by fly-swarmed piles of bloody fish.
Since February, the Internet has had the immense pleasure of observing two such eagles raise babies in a state park outside Hanover, Pennsylvania. Liberty and Freedom, as they've been named (the eaglets are Honor and Justice), are consummate show-birds—stomping around, rearranging things, and gazing in seeming anger at the camera.
But mostly they accumulate mounds of gizzard shad from a nearby lake, as seen here:
And again here—it might as well be called the Rotting-Fish Cam:
With such an omega 3-enriched diet, as well as protection under federal and state laws, Pennsylvania's eagles are doing fairly well. But that wasn't always the case, as the pesticide DDT nearly eradicated them in the '50s and '60s. The Pennsylvania Game Commission explains their comeback:
The bald eagle's history in Pennsylvania is a precarious one. Only 30 years ago, we had a mere three nests left in our entire state. With the help of the Canadian government, several agencies including the Pennsylvania Game Commission brought bald eagle chicks back to their states to reintroduce bald eagles to the Northeast. Today, Pennsylvania boasts more than 250 nests.
Bird-obsessed armchair voyeurs might also be interested in Harrisburg's Falcon Cam, though those creatures' eggs have yet to hatch.