PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- If you go to the National Aviary or the Pittsburgh Zoo, you expect to see birds, including bald eagles. But what you don't expect to see -- bald eagles in their natural habitat, right here in Pittsburgh.
"I think a lot of people do understand intuitively it's a big deal," said Bob Mulvihill, a National Aviary ornithologist.
Birds are always a big deal to visitors at the National Aviary, but so is the fact that bald eagles successfully hatched chicks in the city last year and now have more on the way.
"It has to be four years old before it has an all-white head and an all-white tail," said Mulvihill.
Large raptors, like eagles, pair up for life and it takes years before they are ready to breed.
"I think that they will all hatch, whether she has two or three as her clutch size," said Mulvihill. "I think they will all hatch and be viable."
The fact the birds and their massive nest are so near to the city speaks volumes about the health of Pittsburgh.
"Even little kids have learned that bald eagles eat fish. Where is a bald eagle going to get fish? Out of the three rivers," Mulvihill said. "We've all learned that there is a history of pollution in the three rivers; well, if there's a bald eagle here and there's enough fish to eat, I'm thinking maybe the rivers are cleaner than they used to be."
After hundreds of years, the regalness of the bald eagle still turns heads. To see our national bird living in the wild in Pittsburgh seems to be turning lots of heads these days.
"The national symbol is an important factor, but any large bird is charismatic, and my goodness, it's right in our backyard. Who knew?" said Mulvihill. "So, we are personally sort of amazed at this."
There are actually three nesting pairs here in Pittsburgh, including the Hays location; and who knows; in the future, you may just see bald eagles nesting in your neighborhood.
You can keep tabs on the expecting eagles via a special webcam.
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