Michael's Rediscovery of Nature

Ramblings and observations of a former biologist and a lifelong naturalist, who has recently returned to his roots in east Texas. After a many years of working from coast to coast in an industry far removed from biology, it has been a pleasant change of geography, activity, and attitude. No stressful job decked out in a three piece suit. No city living. Instead there is a rediscovery of the woods, of something scurrying through the leaves, of the clear notes of a bird call, and of reliving the joy that I had when nature was a playground and a classroom.

Hey, Eagles! How Can I Take Your Picture if You Keep Flying Off the Nest?

Yesterday, Saturday the 5th of December, I went on a field trip with fellow Texas Master Naturalist, Kristi Thomas.  Kristi also publishes her photographs on this website as well as writing a blog here.  She is an outstanding photographer and a great contributor to this website. 

She had also invited members of NETFO (Northeast Texas Field Orinthologists - http://members.tripod.com/netfo_tx/) for an event at Lake O' the Pines.  Part of the trip included a boat ride to observe water birds and visit a nesting location for Bald Eagles.  

EagleNest120515Seeing the eagles and their nest was a treat and we have had some minor discussion about the eagle's nest in our talk forum - http://easttexasnaturalists.com/forum/bird-sightings/45-bald-eagles-nest-on-lake-o-the-pines.html.  One of the things we talked about was the location of the nest.

Tonight as we were talking (emailing), we decided that we really should keep the location private for the eagle's sake.  We were concerned that there would be too much traffic near the nest and there is always the possibility that some individuals might not make their visits in a responsible manner.  Of course, that raised another issue.  What is the proper behavior for anyone around an eagle's nest?  There are some guidelines here and there on the internet.  We have taken some of that information and created a suggested guide for protecting the nest and creating the proper setting for the eagles to nest, mate, lay eggs, incubate the eggs through gestation, feed the young, and allow them to successfully fledge and leave the nest.

I have little doubt but that the location will get out, but hopefully people will be respectful of the nesting birds and not do anything to disturb them or their young.  If you know anyone who has found the nest (or any other nest), please feel free to share this with them.   




 We humans are curious creatures and it is often difficult for us to just leave things alone.  This is one of those cases where leaving things alone is absolutely the best thing to do.  Unless you have a compelling interest to see the nest (and you really don't) or to photograph it (and this is not the ideal location for that), then leave it alone.  There are plenty of places on the internet where you can observe bald eagles nesting and raising their young.  You will be able to see more of the nest from a much closer distance and you can watch from the comfort of your living room.  Plus, you will not be doing anything that may cause the eagles to abandon their nest, their eggs or their young.  Here are some sites you can visit: 

There are many others around.  Just Google "Bald Eagle Cams".

REMEMBER: The Bald Eagle is protected by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and they are very sensitive to humans near the nest.  

Here are some basic guidelines:

  1. Approach the nest slowly and quietly.  You can only approach the nest via a boat.
  2. Don't get any closer than 330 feet - that is just a little more than the length of a football field.  This is the distance recommended by the United State Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).  Getting closer does not help you see the eagles.  Because they are so high, you can only see them if you keep your distance.
  3. Don't talk loudly or wave your arms to get them to react. If anything you do causes the eagle to stop what it is doing, YOU ARE DISTURBING IT.  It may be a minor disturbance such as causing them to stop preening and turn to look at you or it can be as serious as causing it to leave the nest which is a CRITICAL DISTURBANCE.  
  4. Watch for behavior that indicates the eagle is getting agitated.  He may stop what he is doing, vocalize, change his position into an alert posture, raise its wings or lean forward slightly as if about to leave the nest.  If this happens, move slowly away and don't come back for at least an hour. 
  5. DO NOT GO TO THE LAND AND APPROACH THE TREE CONTAINING THE NEST (Picking up feathers, even those dropped by the eagles to the ground is a FELONY.  Believe me, they do enforce this law.  Penalties include a maximum of five years and $250,000 fine for felony convictions and a maximum $10,000 fine for civil violations and $250 for marking violations. Fines double for organizations. Rewards are provided for information leading to arrest and conviction. violation of the Act).
  6. You might consider using something like a duck blind netting on your boat.  Eagles are disturbed more by what they see - like humans near their nest.  With a blind on your boat, you can observe them with less likelihood of disturbing them.
  7. Do not linger.  Watch them for a minute or two, take your pictures, and then leave them alone.
  8. Don't tell anyone else about the nest location unless you are 100% sure they will be respectful and follow these guidelines.

Here is an interesting chart about nesting and the times that eagles are most likely to be disturbed.


From the USFWS website: http://www.fws.gov/midwest/eagle/conservation/baea_nhstry_snstvty.html

Again, let me say that it is best to leave them alone.  Visit the webcams.  It will not take much to cause the eagles to abandon their nest.  If you must go see them, please follow these guidelines and don't do anything to disturb them.  



Alligators in East Texas - Things You Should Know
Shotgun Photography - Surely One of Those Pellets ...

Related Posts



No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Already Registered? Login Here
Monday, 18 November 2019
If you'd like to register, please fill in the username, password and name fields.