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Archive for Thursday, May 3, 2007

Two bald eaglets hatch; birds may leave endangered species list

May 3, 2007

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If bald eagles leave the endangered species list - a possibility come June - two newborn eaglets north of Lawrence will be part of that accomplishment.

Many bird-watchers in and around Lawrence have observed the construction of a new nest by two adult eagles - and, recently, their two offspring.

Their birth is good timing as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is due to re-examine species of animals that have dangerously low populations.

"There's a good chance they'll come off the endangered species list," said Mike Watkins, wildlife biologist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Bald eagles perished in droves about 40 years ago, possibly from agricultural pesticides, but their resurgence has been particularly apparent near Lawrence.

"Remarkable may be the word," said Stan Roth, a local bird enthusiast. "The bald eagle is quite a comeback story, a comeback success story."

Watkins said that the population of bald eagle nesting pairs got as low as 413 at one point, but was up to 8,000 last year.

Bald eagles were observed near Clinton Lake in 1989, the first time in years the birds had nested near Lawrence.

Coincidentally, the female adult eagle that is nesting north of Lawrence was banded at that Clinton Lake nest.

Wildlife officials tried to band that female's eaglets last week, but couldn't get close enough to the nest.

Watkins said it was unlikely officials would try to band them again this year.

The young birds should start flying in three to four weeks.

That's welcome news for Roth and other bird-watchers.

"They seem to be doing well," Roth said. "And that's good."

Comments

Ragingbear 6 years, 11 months ago

Bald eagles nest up and down the river in this area. I have commonly seen them fishing (from a river that has fish in it that we are told is unhealthy to eat) and even roosting in some areas. The area in town that is the most abundant with them is the area behind the Riverfront Mall and Train Station. However, the area is also riddled with homeless camps, so you may run into elements that are not safe, nor sanitary.

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Eric Beightel 6 years, 11 months ago

USFWS is typically pretty proprietary about the exact location of eagle nests. Especially if there are eaglets that have yet to fledge. They don't want any human contamination of the nest that could lead the parents to abandon the youngsters.

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Dominic_Sova 6 years, 11 months ago

It's probably more of the Journal World's ineptitude than any attempt to keep the locations secret - if you go to the Clinton Lake visitor's center, there are people who will tell you exactly where to go to see the nests in town (there are three that I know of in the Clinton Lake State Park - one is supposedly around 20 yrs old), as well as provide you with a lot more information on natural habitats in the area.

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smitty 6 years, 11 months ago

It's best to keep a distance at this stage. That's most likely why the location is only identified as north of Lawrence. You may get all the viewing your heart desires in the winter when the water freezes. The eagles gather at the bowerstock dam to feed. You can watch from the bridge or from inside the city bulilding or inside the old mall.

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thanksforcoming 6 years, 11 months ago

Where is the nest, I would like to go take a look. I haven't lived in Lawrence very long and had no idea there were eagles around here. I have never seen a wild bald eagle before. That's pretty cool.

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Eric Beightel 6 years, 11 months ago

momma - I doubt that removing them from the list would encourage people to shoot them. As a bird of prey, they would still be off limits. However, removing them from the list would decrease the restrictions placed on activities near their nests. This would be a good thing. I'm not advocating the destruction of their habitat, far from it. Nesting restrictions have hamstrung a road project that I'm working on and I'd be okay if those limits were lifted. Their numbers are sufficient to at least consider their de-listing.

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jonas 6 years, 11 months ago

The headline makes this sound really stupid. It's like holy cow, two birds born, THAT will certainly solidify the future of the species!

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Christine Pennewell Davis 6 years, 11 months ago

leave them on the list, I know sounds crazy but I would hate to see them getting killed just because they are not on the list any more. Fly little babies and be safe.

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mushflorp 6 years, 11 months ago

Yea & its so crazy they have there nest so close to that nasty factory.

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