The Bald Eagle Families of Jordan Lake need YOUR HELP. I am asking each of you to spread the word about how to be good citizens when around bald eagles. In 2 of the past 3 days, humans have intruded on two of the bald eagle nests. Keep this well-known fact in mind: bald eagle parents will literally abandon their eggs or chicks if human intrusion occurs. If the parents abandon their family, they don’t have a second chance for a brood of eaglets that year. Bald eagles are Federally protected and there are stiff penalties and fines for disturbing any bald eagle. So, here is what happened:
1) On Saturday a person was flying a drone and trying to get it into position to see into H&G Nest. Drones terrify bald eagle parents and they will literally abandon eggs and chicks if a drone is closer than at least a thousand feet for even a few seconds. Non-breeding bald eagles have been known to attack drones – no eagle should have to tackle a drone. I have no concern or sympathy for the drone owner if their drone is destroyed but the real potential for damage to an eagle makes me angry. Also pass along the following information: recreational use of drones is FORBIDDEN at Jordan Lake Dam. The use of drones is FORBIDDEN at all Jordan Lake State Park facilities (ramps, beaches, campgrounds, etc.).
2) This morning I watched a human intruder wander the shoreline below First Nest. Dad Petruchio was on the nest when he saw the person. The father eagle teetered on the edge of the nest watching as the human got closer. When Petruchio could no longer stand the presence of the person, he bolted from the nest. Momma Kate came streaking in from midlake, but she turned back and bolted too. The chicks were without parents – and especially the warmth of those parents – for more than 1 hr 45 min. Twice both parents tried to approach their nest and twice both parents left. The Rangers came and explained to the intruder how his presence was endangering the bald eagle family. The man apologized. But, it was a long cold 155 minutes before Kate and Petruchio felt they could return to the nest. It will be a number of days before we will know if the chicks survived. Photo below is Kate streaking back to the nest almost 2 hours after the human activity had stopped. Petruchio followed her into the nest a few seconds later.