Lovebirds: Bernheim’s golden eagles Harper & Athena officially a breeding pair

Lovebirds: Bernheim’s golden eagles Harper & Athena officially a breeding pair
Harper and Athena are expected to become parents again soon. (Source: Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest)

CLERMONT, Ky. (WAVE) – Bernheim Forest’s ‘lovebirds’ Harper and Athena are making it official, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

The golden eagles, who are the first pair to be tracked in the eastern United States, are officially a breeding pair, a Bernheim spokesperson confirms. Better yet, they’ve already become parents.

For the last five years, Bernheim conservationists have been tracking Harper, who returns to the forest each winter. Athena was identified as Harper’s companion in 2019.

The birds wear solar-powered GPS tracking devices so conservationists can track their migratory patterns.

Data from the devices show Harper and Athena nested together in Canada last year. Athena laid an egg in April of 2019 and both birds took turns keeping the egg warm until June when it hatched.

Athena spent much of her time with the hatchling for several months while Harper hunted.

By October, the eagles separated for their yearly migration south. After traveling 1,700 miles, the pair is again spending their winter in Bernheim Forest.

A Bernheim spokesperson revealed the pair could become parents again very soon.

Bernheim is the largest privately owned forest in the eastern United States and operates as a nonprofit organization dedicated to conservation and education.

In Harper and Athena’s honor, Bernheim is hosting ‘Eagle Week’ from Feb. 17 – 21 so visitors can learn about the birds of prey. It will feature numerous events during the week, including a brown-bag lunch ‘Golden Eagle Lecture’ on Friday, Feb. 21 at noon. Guests can also buy lunch at Bernheim’s Isaac’s Café.

All seating is first-come, first-serve.

For more information, click here.

Copyright 2020 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.