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.
Seeing 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.
GUIDELINES FOR BALD EAGLE NEST OBSERVATION AND PHOTOGRAPHY
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:
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.