Trees and power lines weren’t the only things dropped Saturday evening in the Rome area.
The Berry College bald eagles had their first egg of the nesting season sometime in the aftermath of the storms. On the same day, at least four huge pine trees less than 100 yards north of the nest tree were blown down by heavy winds.
Multiple cameras that focused on the nest, at www.berry.edu/eaglecam, went offline during the storm. Sometime after those cameras came back online, the female eagle moved to change position and the egg was visible.
In past years a second egg usually followed the first within a few days. When eagles lay multiple eggs, they are generally a minimum of three days apart.
Once eggs are laid, both adults will take turns incubating them for approximately 35 days before they hatch.
Associate Professor of Biology Renee Carleton, the college’s resident eagle expert, said the female eagle has adapted remarkably to a badly injured left talon.
The injury was sustained sometime during the summer of 2013 and has gradually gotten worse over the years.
“It just doesn’t seem likely to heal,” Carleton said.
People watching the eagle on the cameras can see how difficult a time she has in maneuvering around the nest, but the injury hasn’t hampered her ability to hunt or bring tree branches back to the nest.
The pair of eagles at Berry has had two eggs every year since 2013. Last year, both eggs hatched but neither of the nestlings survived their first week. The year before, one of the two nestlings fell out of the tree and died. In another year, 2014, one of the eggs failed to hatch.
The nest behind the Cage Center athletic complex was first discovered in the spring of 2012 and the pair produced their first two eaglets in 2013.
Those two, if they have survived, are now at the point where they could be reproducing. It takes bald eagles five years to become sexually mature.
Since the Berry nest was first discovered, bald eagle nests have been found at five other locations in Floyd County. Two nests have been located on the Rocky Mountain lakes in the Texas Valley, a nest has been found in the Fosters Bend area near the Alabama state line, another has been found on Booger Hollow Road near Georgia Highlands College’s Paris Lake and another was found on Lake Marvin at the Girl Scout camp up in the Chattahoochee National Forest.
There are as many as half a dozen nests on Weiss Lake, one on the Etowah River near Euharlee and at least two nests on Lake Allatoona.