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Fans Would Keep an Eagle's Eye on Nest Camera

Urban Eagle Sightings


published on December 21, 2007

From Record Searchlight On-line:

Why do we imagine that Redding's famous eagles, having nearly fomented a public insurrection, will now decide that there's entirely too much fuss around their old nest and find a quieter perch for the season?

Given Caltrans' recent luck in wildlife management, it would be no surprise.

No amount of good intention could overcome the rotten image of crews tearing down a bald-eagle nest, and the agency was smart to change its approach to handling the protected birds near the upcoming Highway 44 bridge replacement.

Now, Caltrans will let the birds make up their own minds, and the nest will lose its cone and be monitored by video.

Caltrans is even considering an online eagle-cam, so the birds' many devotees could check up on their well-being through their computers.

That's the best idea yet in this whole saga.

The fear all along was that construction commotion would push the adults to abandon their eaglets, but some member of the eagles' intense fan club would have an eye on the nest nearly 24/7. If the babies were left behind, a rescue would be dispatched faster than you can say national mascot.

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Eagles Clear For Landing

Urban Eagle Sightings

By Record Searchlight staff
Originally published 11:00 a.m., December 21, 2007
Updated 11:01 a.m., December 21, 2007

Workers on contract with the state Department of Transportation this morning took down a 3-foot black plastic cone that for 35 days blocked a pair of bald eagles from their nest in downtown Redding.

The cone was wired to the nest on Nov. 16 in an attempt to get the eagles to move to another nest because their old one will be 100 feet away from construction on the Highway 44 Sacramento River bridge slated to start this spring.

The eagles didn’t take the hint to move from the area — even after workers pulled down sticks the birds placed in an effort to build a new nest about ten feet from the old one. Caltrans began getting calls from the public asking that the cone be removed and agency officials decided Wednesday to do so.

Gathering to watch the cone come down, people who had opposed it popped a bottle of Champagne once it was removed.

“A toast to the power of the people, babe,” said Terri Lhuillier, who helped lead the effort to remove the cone.

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Cone Will Be Removed so Bald Eagles Can Return to Nest

Urban Eagle Sightings

From the Record Searchlight On-line:

By Dylan Darling
Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Persistence appears to have paid off for a pair of bald eagles who wanted to return to their downtown Redding nest despite a state agency’s efforts to clear them out of a coming construction zone.

The 3-foot black plastic cone that has been wired to their nest for a month could come off as early as today, said Brian Crane, district director for the state Department of Transportation, on Wednesday. He said the cone will come down as soon as weather permits, allowing the eagles to reclaim their nest.

“We were always expecting the eagles to take a hint and move on,” he said.

Crane announced the plans to remove the cone at the

Caltrans district office in Redding during an informal meeting among transportation officials, the state Department of Fish and Game regional manager and about a dozen people who wanted the agencies to rethink their strategy.

A group of people concerned about the eagles met earlier this week after passing messages to each other in the comments section of stories about the birds on and asked Caltrans for Wednesday’s meeting, said Terri Lhuillier, who served as the group’s leader.

The eagles have become mini-celebrities as they struggled to return to the nest they built in 2005, only to be rebuffed by the cone wired on top of it. Despite the cone, and the removal of the beginnings of a new nest about 10 feet away last week by a Caltrans contractor, the eagles have stayed close to the nest where they raised eaglets in 2006 and this year.

“They have been resistant to the cone,” Crane said.

Crane’s announcement that the cone was coming off was greeted by cheers.

“This says so much about you as an agency, as people,” Lhuillier said.

She said she saw the eagles near the nest Wednesday.

“They’ve been pretty patient,” Lhuillier said.

With the Dana to Downtown project set to start in the spring, state and federal officials had decided that trying to get the eagles to move was the best way to protect any eggs or eaglets they might have hatched, said Gary Stacey, DFG’s regional manager in Redding. The project will include work on the Highway 44-Sacramento River bridge as close as 100 feet from the nest.

He said officials were particularly concerned about the sight of cranes and the pounding of pile drivers causing the eagles to abandon their nest.

“Eagles don’t typically tolerate disturbances at their nest level or below their nest level,” Stacey said.

But he said the eagles have shown they want to stay despite the placement of the cone and the clearing of their nest sticks.

“We frankly thought they’d be gone by now,” he said.

Having displayed such persistence, the eagles might not mind the commotion of construction as much as wildlife officials had thought, Stacey said.

“We’ve got a pair of birds that are very tolerant,” he said.

With the eagles expected to promptly take up residence in the nest, Caltrans and DFG officials are looking into the possibility of installing a remote video camera to keep an eye on them, said Tom Balkow, senior environmental planner in Caltrans Redding office. Images from the camera would possibly be put onto the Internet via a Web site.

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Eagles Evicted--Then Invited Back for Supper

Wildlife News

From the Record Searchlight On-line


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Our view: If the eagles ignore Caltrans’ prodding and stick around the Highway 44 bridge project, they will be elaborately coddled.
Persistence is an all-American virtue, so it's fitting that bald eagles, the symbol of our nation, would stubbornly cling to their nesting sites. No pesky bureaucrats will push them out of their tree, bridge replacement or no.

But even as Caltrans wins widespread scorn for its efforts to shoo away a pair of eagles near Highway 44 in Redding, the eagle-management plan drawn up by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service so thoroughly coddles the birds that they'd be fools to leave.

If the birds don't take the hint and fly the coop, Caltrans must specially shield and angle its lights during night construction to avoid spoiling their sleep.

Bridge crews must halt work if any "disturbance is observed." (What do you call the past few weeks' follies?)

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Eagles Set on Nestiing in Turtle Bay Location

Urban Eagle Sightings

From the Record Searchlight On-Line

By Dylan Darling
Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Two days after the beginnings of a new nest was pulled from a cottonwood near Turtle Bay, a pair of bald eagles were back in the branches near their old home apparently trying to figure out what to do next.

On Saturday morning, one of the eagles even swooped at the three-foot black plastic cone wired into their nest late last month. The cone was placed in an attempt by the state Department of Transportation to push the eagles to nest elsewhere before work starts on the Dana to Downtown project this summer.

"I don't know if it was trying to land on it or attack it," said Brad Dupre, a Shasta Lake man who caught the scene with his camera.

He said he had been out looking for wildlife to photograph when he spotted the eagles.

The pair of eagles, which have been darlings of downtown Redding since they first built a nest near where Highway 44 crosses the Sacramento River in 2005, successfully raised eaglets in 2006 and last summer, said Craig Martz, an environmental scientist with the state Department of Fish and Game.

Even with the cone and Thursday's removal of sticks placed in a cottonwood 10 feet from the coned nest, the eagles seem to be staying close, he said.

"It sounds like they are pretty set on this location," Martz said.

Biologists will continue to monitor the eagles and any more nest starts will be taken down, he said. A new nest, built by workers on contract with Caltrans under DFG's guidance, awaits them 3 ½ miles downstream.

Martz said he saw a pair of eagles perched in a tree near the alternative nest. He believes it is the pair from Turtle Bay.

"I've known they've seen it, but they are pretty imprinted on the Turtle Bay site at this point," Martz said.

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