By David Fleshler, Sun Sentinel
5:37 p.m. EST, January 15, 2014
The celebrity bald eagles of Pembroke Pines will be getting protection from the paparazzi.
Concerned that photographers and others hoping to catch a glimpse of the birds will create traffic hazards, the city plans to put up signs and set out traffic cones along the side of Pines Boulevard to prevent people from blocking the busy street.
The two eagles, which have occupied a nest about 150 feet south of Pines Boulevard for several years, have just had chicks hatch out.
City officials want to avoid a repeat of events a few years ago, when people crowded the sides of the road, tried to climb a fence to reach the chicks and at least one photographer tried to climb their tree.
"My concern is that it becomes a traffic hazard," said Shawn Denton, the city's public service's director. "I don't want people walking across the street and getting hit. I don't want cars on the south side of the street. And in doing that, we can also ensure the privacy of the eagles."
The Florida Department of Transportation will replace No Stopping signs that had been removed after a car hit them. The city plans to put up signs warning against crossing to the south side of the street, where the nest is located.
The eagle's nest sits in an Australian pine tree on city-owned land just east of U.S. 27. Denton said anyone attempting to climb the fence faces arrest for trespassing.
Although the bald eagle has been removed from the endangered species list, it retains strong state and federal legal protections. Under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, anyone who harasses or harms a bald eagle could face a fine of up to $5,000 and up to one year in prison for a misdemeanor, and up to $250,000 and two years in prison for a felony.