The eggs were removed from the nest today. Much to our surprise we learned that our assumptions regarding a third egg were erroneous. We had based our assumptions of a third egg on the behavior of the female at the nest - turns out we were fooled. The nest only contained two eggs this year. The pine straw of the nest bowl was thoroughly searched no shell fragments or egg remnants were found. Had a predator of some sort gotten to the eggs, we would expect plenty of evidence left behind. The shrubs below the nest were thoroughly searched as well.
In previous posts I've pointed out that competitive interactions like what we've witnessed at this nest are a sign of a recovered Eagle population. Another side of this same coin is cautionary however. The recovery of Bald Eagles will remain dependent on available breeding habitat. Continued development may encroach on Eagle habitat, reversing the population gains of the previous decades. Careful planning and habitat preservation will ensure that Virginia continues to enjoy a thriving Bald Eagle population.