ORWIGSBURG, SCHUYLKILL COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — If you’ve looked up toward the skies lately, you may have noticed a lot of bald eagles are flying by our area. At one local bird sanctuary, they’ve seen almost 500 bald eagles since April.
Eyewitness News reporter Haley Bianco hiked up Hawk Mountain to see if she could spot one herself, and find out why so many are here.
“We heard about all the bald eagles and we thought it’d be really cool to see them in their natural habitat,” said Rachel Cosgrove.
Rachel and her mom, Nicole, heard that hundreds of bald eagles were flying over Hawk Mountain in Orwigsburg, so they made the two-hour drive to see for themselves.
“I saw a bald eagle and a raven, out of nowhere! They just came cruising across up there at the north lookout,” said Mike Patterson, hiking at Hawk Mountain.
For many, the bald eagle is a symbolic bird; the emblem of our country. And for years its existence was threatened.
“In Pennsylvania, there was a time when there were very few nests recorded. There were some birds passing, but nests were super low. Now it’s bounced back,” said J.F. Therrien, research biologist at Hawk Mountain.
Laws and sanctuaries, like Hawk Mountain, have helped protect the birds. The bald eagle population has recovered, and was removed from the endangered species list in 2007.
At Hawk Mountain, biologists monitor 16 species of birds as they migrate over the sanctuary. Bald eagles migrate south mid-December. Meaning you have one to two weeks left to see them before they head south for the winter.
“The thing about Hawk Mountain, is that you go up the hill, you see the bird coming right at you since you’re on top of the hill. And if it’s a good migration day, birds are coming right at eye level,” said Therrien.
The bald eagles fly through Pennsylvania to get to warmer states like Tennessee and Georgia. They’ll head back north between February and April.
The best time of day to spot a bald eagle is late morning and early afternoon. Hawk Mountain is open year round. It costs about 8-dollars.