Correction: Since posting this story two hours ago, I have spoken with an enforcement officer from US Fish & Wildlife Service. He investigated this particular nest and found no droppings or fish bones around the base of the tree. He said you would expect that if the nest was active. He also said the tree was dead, likely a victim of all the sand deposited by Hurricane Harvey along the river. Finally, he said that bald eagles often establish multiple nests in an area and sometimes switch between them. This nest may have been abandoned when the tree began to die after Harvey. The eagle in the photo may have been revisiting it because it was a good perch for fishing. So I have edited the story to remove all mentions of “apparently active.”
Emily Murphy took the shot below on 3/27/19 from her kayak on the West Fork. It clearly shows a bald eagle and a very large nest.
Ironically, I photographed what appears to be the same nest from the river on January 31, 2019 while on a ride-along with HPD Lake Patrol. My shot appears closer than Murphy’s because I took it with a 1000mm super-telephoto lens.
The Balcom family, which lives near the river at the western (left) edge of the satellite image above, photographed a pair of bald eagles on their property in December.
Boaters, Please Report Sightings
Boaters, please help. Let me know through the contact page on this web site if you see activity in this area. If you see a nest – active or not – do not approach it or disturb the birds in any way. It’s illegal. See below. And do not enter Romerica’s property. That’s trespassing.
Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act
Although no longer an endangered species, bald eagles are still protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (16 U.S.C. 668-668d) is a United States federal statute.) The statute protects two species of eagle. According to Wikipedia, the bald eagle was chosen as a national emblem of the United States by the Continental Congress of 1782 and was given legal protection by the Bald Eagle Protection Act of 1940. This act was expanded to include the golden eagle in 1962.
Since the original Act, the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act has been amended several times. It currently prohibits anyone, without a permit issued by the Secretary of the Interior, from “taking” bald eagles. Taking is described to include their parts, nests, or eggs, molesting or disturbing the birds. The Act provides criminal penalties for persons who “take, possess, sell, purchase, barter, offer to sell, purchase or barter, transport, export or import, at any time or any manner, any bald eagle … [or any golden eagle], alive or dead, or any part, nest, or egg thereof.”
Purpose of Protection Act
The purpose of the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection act is to protect bald and golden eagles from disturbance, abuse, and interference with their lifestyle. That includes sheltering, breeding, feeding, and nesting.
Posted by Bob Rehak on 3/28/2019
576 Days since Hurricane Harvey