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Empty Nesters – June 2023

Empty Nesters Bonnie and Clyde – Room for Rent

The Environmental Standards staff in the Valley Forge, Pennsylvania office have long enjoyed the resident pair of bald eagles that have nested behind the office building along the banks of the Pickering Creek Reservoir. Affectionately named “Bonne and Clyde,” in a staff naming contest the pair of Eagles are a no-show for the 2023 nesting season. Bonnie and Clyde first nested in 2002 behind the office building and provided great aerial shows while tending to nest-building activities. Typically, the pair of eagles would work on touching up the nest during the fall season and then very predictably would lay eggs and be in the nest during the first week of March. However, this year, Bonnie and Clyde are empty nesters.

Bald eagles, peregrine falcons and other raptor populations  were largely wiped out because of the use of the pesticide DDT. Banning of DDT in 1972 led to a great success story in man’s ability to restore populations of bald eagles and many other raptors. In 2002, the sighting of a bald eagle in Chester County, Pennsylvania, was a rare occurrence, let alone having a nesting pair in view from your workplace. Bonnie and Clyde likely produced 20-30 offspring over the last 20 years, typically having two eaglets. Some years, employees could see as many as three eaglets in the nest and then there were years where some eaglets would not survive, and only one healthy eaglet was reared. A few years back, the two eaglets fell out of the nest before having the ability to fly. The fully feathered and seemingly “adult-sized” immature eagles were happily walking around behind the office and making a racket of noise, screeching for a meal. Employees were on “eagle watch” to keep the chicks from wondering too far away from the nest area.

In 2023, it is common to see bald eagles flying high in Chester County! They are often seen along the Schuylkill River corridor where they hunt fish. Bonnie and Clyde surely contributed to repopulating the area with the very symbol of our nation’s freedom. Now there is room for rent behind the office, and we hope we see a new nesting pair of eagles soon. Thank you, Bonnie and Clyde, for the many, many years of excitement you brought to the Valley Forge office. We miss you wherever you both are and hope to see you or your offspring back soon!

David Blye, CEAC

Senior Principal Chemist