Gang of Eight Bandits at Big Pine Nest

Jordan Lake: Over the last couple of days I have observed a new to me bald eagle behavior. I have watched immature bald eagles raid the nests of adult eagles. Those raids have always been a one on one situation. This Gang of Eight Bandits is harassing not only the Big Pine Nest but also the H&G nest. So far, thankfully, I’ve not seen any of the immature bald eagles actually make it into either nest. But I will not be surprised if that does happen. I have watched paired adult eagles tag team when they were catching gulls on the water. I am beginning to wonder if this Gang of Eight Bandits might not try to tag team one or both of the nests. I will keep watching and praying that it is only harassment that occurs. As I have said before, this activity really puts a great deal of strain and stress on the parents at Big Pine Nest because they are dealing with both human and eagle intrusions. I have put the immature photos in no particular sequence other than the most interesting youngster is first. It happens to be the four-year-old – and it is indeed a masked bandit. There are 3 one-year-olds and 1 two-year-old and 3 three-year-olds and the four-year-old that make up the Gang of Eight Bandits.

4-year-old bald eagle
1-year-old bald eagle
2-year-old bald eagle
3-year-old bald eagle
1-year-old bald eagle
3-year-old bald eagle
1-year-old bald eagle
3-year-old bald eagle


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  1. I have never heard of this happening before?
    I can only speculate as to why.
    The population in this area might be high, making competition stiff for real estate. These “bandits” may be trying to decrease the future competition?

    1. It is definitely competition for food, but not directly to deter any future fights for the food. The attrition rate among bald eagles (and other raptors) is high … 50% of the fledglings do not make it to the next year. There is a 40% loss between year 1 and 2. So the driving thought of an immature bald eagle is the procurement of food and not the fact that if they destroy the eggs or chicks of a nest that will increase the amount of food available in the future. The raiding of a bald eagle nest by another bald eagle for the eggs or chicks is not common but it is practiced and I have seen it happen here at Jordan Lake.

  2. Doc,

    Was nice talking with you the other day about this issue and the problems with Shelter Eight. I spoke with my friend at the Sierra Club, and she sent me some ideas. She forwarded your concerns to someone else at the Sierra Club who might be of some help, and I’m waiting to hear back from her.

    She said “if you haven’t gotten in touch with Audubon, you must. It’s right up their alley. Again, they may know some hyper-local groups or individuals that could help. I don’t know if Jordan has a Friends group (like YMA for Yates Mill), but if so, try them. There’s also NC Wildlife Federation – unsure exactly what their causes are, but again, they could refer.

    There’s a big list of wildlife organizations here:

    I doubt Trout Unlimited or Ducks Unlimited would get involved, but their members may individually take an interest.

    As for reporters, I doubt anyone at AP would get into it – too local. Have you tried the News & Observer? They don’t have an outdoors writer as such, but maybe someone who covers state parks/recreation. There are also some environmental reporters who freelance or work for smaller outlets – I can scout around. IndyWEEK might eat it up, plus Carolina Public Press does some environmental reporting. NC Health News does so if there’s a human health tie-in.

    Thanks for helping this woman out! It’s a great thing she’s doing to protect the eagles, so I hope she sees more success.”

    I’m not sure if you’ve already tried some of those, but am guessing you have. In the interest of getting it all on the table I included all of what she said. If I can be of any help finding a contact, please let me know. I will forward you anything Margaret has to add.

    Hope to see you out there soon, Stan


    1. I have tried NC Audubon twice and not received any reply. Also sent inquiry to NC Wildlife Federation … again no reply. Thank you both for the Cause link. I had sent an inquiry to the N&O, but again no reply … I am working on an Opinion Letter for them and maybe they will publish that. I will approach Carolina Public Press and IndyWEEK. Thanks for all the input!!!!!

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