Sun Sentinel article: Bald eagles nesting near Turnpike in Deerfield

classic Classic list List threaded Threaded
1 message Options
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view

Sun Sentinel article: Bald eagles nesting near Turnpike in Deerfield

The reporter, David Fleshler, alerted me to the presence of this nest yesterday, in Quiet Waters Park, Deerfield Beach. This is the second known active Bald Eagle nest in Broward County, but it has not yet been registered by FWC. Coincidentally, I received a call from a concerned birder early this morning. The latter said there had been a "crowd" of people walking right up to the bottom of the nest tree yesterday. I have not yet visited the area, but perhaps the cut in the fence is what allowed the spectators to get closer than permitted by FWC guidelines.

Although the nest is actually on FDOT property just outside the park, I learned that the Park Naturalist is exercising stewardship by contacting the mountain bikers and asking them not to disturb the nest in any way. I do not know whether there are any warning signs to alert other visitors.

The fence had been cut in order to provide ingress for the second eaglet, which had been grounded. We should expect both to remain in or close to the nest for the next couple weeks. Note that his story (below) mentioned that only one eaglet was now present in the area.

I sent this e-mail to FWC early today:

I got a call early this morning from someone who was very concerned about the lack of protection for the Bald Eagle nest in Quiet Waters Park, Deerfield Beach.

I checked the FWC Eagle Nest Locator map and saw that it is not registered. He said that the nest is next to a bicycle path and that spectators are able to crowd around the nest tree right under it. He said the eagles appeared be disturbed by this. I think he said there is one nearly full-grown eaglet in the nest. If it is not flight-ready it could be startled and be in danger if it falls prematurely.  He said he thought the nest is actually just outside the park boundary, perhaps on the Sawgrass Expwy or SW 10th Street right of way.

Perhaps you are well aware of this situation. I said that if the bike path was there before the eagles built their nest it would be considered to be an "existing disturbance," and not subject to restrictions. However there was no signage or educational material that would caution people not to leave the path or approach the nest.



For full article including photo gallery, visit this link,0,1540667.story

Sun Sentinel

Bald eagles nesting near Turnpike in Deerfield

By David Fleshler, Sun Sentinel

2:13 PM EDT, April 18, 2014

A tree next to Florida's Turnpike may not be the most likely place for a bald eagle couple to make their home.

But within 100 yards of the rushing traffic stands a bald eagle nest with at least one chick, the second active nest known to exist in Broward County.

The nest, established about eight months ago, stands just outside Quiet Waters Park in Deerfield Beach, where lakes, trees and grassy areas provide fish, birds and small mammals on which the eagles can prey. The park's mountain bike trail runs right next to the nest.

"Nothing seems to bother them," said Nick Calabro, a rider from Delray Beach. "We do trail maintenance. It's awesome. I was one of the first to spot them. 'There's a bald eagle out there!' 'You're crazy, it's an osprey.' And it turned out it was an eagle."

The eagles' two chicks hatched several weeks ago but the female chick was seen on the ground a few days ago and hasn't been seen since.

"I tell you, I've been worried to death," said Bill Davis, of Deerfield Beach, another trail rider.

Michelle van Deventer, bald eagle plan coordinator for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, said the agency has not yet confirmed the new nest by an on-the-ground visit or aerial survey. Not all active eagle nests have been documented, she said.

The county's other active bald eagle nest, occupied for at least seven years, stands just south of Pines Boulevard in western Pembroke Pines.

A bald eagle nest survey has been taking place in 2013 and 2014 in Broward, Hendry and Palm Beach counties. It found four active nests in Palm Beach County so far and is not yet complete. Statewide there are more than 1,500 nests.

A nest near the Turnpike may seem unusual but van Deventer explained that "as the eagle population has grown alongside the human population, nests in what would have historically been considered unusual habitat has become more frequent. The common denominators for eagle nest territories are a tall structure to nest in, most frequently live native pine trees, and proximity to water for foraging."

Thursday evening, the male chick could be seen venturing from the nest. Few non-experts would recognize it as a bald eagle, since the birds take more than four years to develop the characteristic white head and tail. This one appeared to be a very large black bird, mottled white under its wings, flying awkwardly from branch to branch.

One of his parents flew nearby and perched on a tree near the nest.

The adults tend to feed the chicks around 7 p.m., Davis said.

"I've seen them bring fish and rats or mice and also birds," he said. "They just take it into the nest and rip it open."

Ken Schneider, a birder who has been active in protecting the Pembroke Pines nest, said he was concerned that nest by the Turnpike was so close to the bike trail that people could crowd around it and disturb the eagles. He sent an email to the FWC on Friday describing the situation and noting, "there was no signage or educational material that would caution people not to leave the path or approach the nest.", 954-356-4535

Copyright © 2014, South Florida Sun-Sentinel