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03/10/09
Eagle Nest Site Receives More Protection
Filed under: General, Birding & Outdoors, Florida & SE US, Bald Eagle Nest
Posted by: Ken @ 11:26 am

This morning, a work crew extended a temporary orange plastic barrier fence to the east and west from the chain link fence along the north boundary of the 20 acre woodland that holds the Pembroke Pines Bald Eagle nest. They continued around both corners, southward. The eastern side now is completely closed off. The westward section closes off an area that had been used by trespassers to access the nest site. This fence then continues to the south into the area of dead melaleuca trees where the eagles like to roost, discouraging foot traffic by trespassers who want to get closer for a photo. (Click on photos to select larger views).

Eagle Fence Extension 20090310

Two prominent signs, in Spanish and English, were placed at the viewing area. They do not prohibit parking, but advise observers not to enter the area in front of the nest that is marked off by traffic cones.

The English spellchecker missed the last word, but it could be fixed by simply adding “STILL.”

Eagle Sign 20090310

When we arrived at about 9:15 AM one of the adults was roosting in a favored spot in a tall Australian Pine to the east of the nest:

Adult Roosting 20090310

An hour or so later, after the adult flew off, it or its mate returned with an unidentified prey item. Both chicks ate well, and continued to peck at the carcass after the parent departed.

The two chicks, just over 7 weeks old, are huge:

Two Chicks 20090310

Jill, one of the faithful eagle watchers, wanted to experience an entire day watching the nest. She picked a Sunday, quite a busy day, which kept her busy interpreting and explaining to the many lay observers. Her note, posted in the Pembroke Pines Eagle Watching FORUM, is very interesting:

“Sunday, I arrived at the nest at around 9:15 EDT and except for a 15 minute break to go to the Hess station and back, I was there until it was dark outside. At various times, both adults and both chicks were visible for the people stopping by to see them.  One adult would be in the dead trees and one in the nest or the favorite Australian Pine close to the road. Never, as far as I know, were both adults in the nest at the same time.

“Lots of feedings were seen by the people watching.  Sorry, but I can’t seem to be able to figure out what the prey is, even using my new spotting scope.  The chicks did some very brief wing exercises that we enjoyed watching. In the afternoon, starting at about 1:30, an adult flew into the nest and stayed for close to two hours!  The crowd was very happy, and there were quite a few people there at times.  There were almost as many children watching as there were adults. At about 5:30, one of the chicks decided to do a real workout.  He/she was hopping up and down and flapping like crazy.  The legs looked so cute, like they had some wool glued on them.

“There was only one frightening time when someone stopped their car in the middle of the road, and another car coming from behind did not see it and had to slam on the brakes and swerve.  There were many cars that stopped in the road, but we were able to convince them to pull over or move on.

“Monday morning, when I arrived at about 10:00, no humans were there watching.  The chicks were not visible and one adult was in the favorite Australian Pine.  Now and then, I could see a chick’s wing go up, but the first time a chick was visible was at 10:40.  At 11:15, an adult flew into the nest with food.  One chick (I’m assuming the older) was fed until 11:25 and then the other chick was fed.  The adult flew away at 11:30.

“Both chicks then stood straight up and walked about the nest for about an hour, and then went down too low to see. Today [Monday], I noticed that the chicks in the nest and the adult, when in the dead tree appeared to be panting.

“Unfortunately, I did not ever see two adults at the same time  :-(  I was alone there about half the time.  I guess that’s a good thing. People frequently have stopped on the road to ask what is going on, as they have seen many cars parked there so much lately.  Today’s question was so funny.  I guess the guy could see something dark in the tree and asked me, ‘What are you looking at, a monkey is up there, right?’

“I left at about 1:15.”

Jill provided links to two of her photos, taken during Lynda White’s Audubon of Florida Eagle Watch presentation Friday night:

Lynda White with “Paige,” the Audubon of Florida Center for Birds of Prey Mascot

A nice portrait of “Paige,” a non-releasable 14 year old female Bald Eagle. Her broken wing never healed.

Finally, Kelly Smith, the 7th grade science teacher who discovered this nest last season, and whose students have been involved in a study of the eagles, had these nice words:


“Thank you”  to all involved in making Lynda White’s presentation on Friday one of the most memorable experiences of my teaching career.  It has been a wonderful testament to the strength of community involvement.  I am amazed at how we have all come together in a way that has brought out the best of each of us.  We started out thinking that we wanted to do what was best for these wonderful eagles.  Did we ever imagine how much it would bring to each of us?  I know that I didn’t.  Thank you All!

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