It’s been days since Liberty, a mother eagle estimated to be 18 years old, was last seen in her nest near Codorus State Park.
Her devoted watchers said she has never been gone this long.
“I didn’t put everything together for a few days because we lost track of what was happening on camera because of a power surge,” said Karen Lippy, an eagle watcher for 35 years.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission has cameras that live stream video from the nest to its website. Liberty and her mate, named Freedom, have been guarding a pair of eggs since late February.
Eagle watchers said they saw Liberty fighting off two brutal attacks from another female eagle, but many believed Liberty was okay.
“It wasn’t until Monday when the cameras came back on that everyone realized Freedom is the only bird on the nest,” Lippy said.
Lippy said Liberty has disappeared after intense encounters with attackers before, but she never left the nest for more than 24 hours.
Now, another female is waiting in the wings.
Without Liberty, Freedom has to hunt on his own and guard the eggs. During Wednesday’s winter storm, Freedom was buried in snow as he waited for his mate.
“It’s been very distressing for most people watching. He’s constantly calling and calling for Lib, who does not answer,” Lippy said.
While the potential loss of Liberty is heartbreaking, Lippy said it’s all a part of nature and the eagles know what they’re doing.
“We have to learn to accept and come to love this bird just as much as we did Liberty,” Lippy said.
If Liberty is dead like many fear, Lippy said it’s likely that Freedom will find another mate.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission was closed on Wednesday due to the storm. ABC27 will reach out to them to ask about reports that an eagle, possibly Liberty, was found injured and taken to a rehabilitation facility.