Gate is still open. Eggs still not laid. In the problem of how to balance the management of the needs of the bald eagle family of Loblolly and Pitch, the bald eagle parents at Shelter 8, with the consideration for the public visiting the Jordan Lake State Park Area, I find myself considering this:
Along with the laws involving bald eagles and their environment, I hold the thought, central to my approach to all animals, that I as a veterinarian, am responsible to know how animals act in many situations. If I am aware that any animal (bird, horse, cat, dog, snake) is in distress, being disturbed or harassed, I need to bring my training to bear upon the situation. So, paired with the laws or restrictions published about nesting bald eagles, there is my awareness that this pair of bald eagles has lost chicks in the past and that human disturbance has been documented. As a veterinarian and a citizen of North Carolina I must do what I can to bring as much safety to the Shelter 8 nest as I can – and that means getting the gate to Shelter 8 closed. As a veterinarian I must also do what I can to educate: people who perhaps don’t understand how to properly care for their cow or horse or eagle. These bald eagles belong to all of us. There is a marvelous opportunity at Shelter 8 – if this pair can successfully raise chicks, their nest is ideally suited for a webcam. If Loblolly and Pitch again lose their potential family, we will lose that possibility. My thanks to each and every one of you who are working so hard, each of you in your special ways, to give Loblolly and Pitch the greatest safety and our best chance at getting to moment by moment watch them raise their chicks. photo is Mom Loblolly

Mom Loblolly

Jordan Lake. An incubating bald eagle – one sitting on eggs – occasionally just has to stretch their wings. That’s a dangerous maneuver. If it is wintertime (bald eagle’s normal temperature is 99.5°F ) and the parent is off of the egg(s) even briefly the eggs will die because they quickly become chilled. This is dad eagle at First Nest. From the time he leaves the nest until he gets back and settles in on his eggs is 43 seconds. We need to keep this in mind when we’re thinking about the Shelter 8 nest. Because intrusions of any kind, human or otherwise, that keep the parent off the nest too long can be fatal to the eggs (which haven’t been laid yet at Shelter 8).

Jordan Lake. First Nest. I had not seen any eagles at all anywhere near First Nest for at least six weeks. Then I was sent a text that said an eagle was in First Nest. Indeed there was a female in the nest and eventually we saw the male out flying. These photos were done this morning in the rain and so they are not the clearest at all. It looks like the female is incubating eggs! I will have to wait to get a very good photo of both parents before I know for sure whether or not they are Kate and her mate. Stay tuned!

Jordan Lake: Loblolly has still not laid eggs; gate is still open. This is how I prefer to see Loblolly – flying out over the lake to go fishing and not flying away from intruders. Here is the contact information for Representative Reives, mailto:Robert.Reives@ncleg.gov and his legislative Assistant Veronica Green mailto:Veronica.Green@ncleg.gov main phone: 919-733-0057 Jordan Lake is in his district. I would also ask that you follow this link https://www.ncleg.gov/Help/Topic/27 to the web site where all the NC legislators are listed to locate your local legislators in your own district and email or call them to let them know your concerns. Thanks for all the support of Loblolly and Pitch!

Jordan Lake. Loblolly has not laid eggs yet; gate still open. Interference sensitivity charts for a bald eagle breeding season has egg laying as the most critical point in time. Juvenile eagles keep an eye on bald eagle nests because they like to rob the nest of eggs or chicks. The parent eagles know this and guard their territory even before eggs are laid. Loblolly and Pitch have the added hardship and stress of human visitors being allowed to get too close to their nest and disturbing the natural sequence of being a parent eagle. There were people in the shelter area when I took these 2 photos. None of the three eagles got anywhere close to the shelter parking lot – they avoided it. Photo: Loblolly on left, Pitch on right, 3-year-old bald eagle in 2nd photo.

Loblolly and Pitch
3-year-old bald eagle

Jordan Lake. Mom Godiva likes to occasionally have a meal of bird. You can see the water splash trail as the cormorant that Godiva was chasing tried to first run and take flight, but then decided the safest route was to just dive under. Mom Godiva was not happy that she missed. I am sure the cormorant thinks otherwise.