Bald Eagle nest protection?

I have been following a bald eagle nest on a high voltage tower in Hillsborough for the past 3-4 years.  I understand that this eagle pair have raised young there for 5-8 years.

Recently I noticed that the power company was doing some major work on the line.  When I drove by yesterday, the entire tower had been demolished, and thus this active nest was destroyed (during the off breeding season).  I wonder about the legality of this?

I am sure that this established pair will build a new nest (somewhere), though whether they can complete a new one in time for the 2021 breeding season is probably questionable.


If they applied for and received a permit, likely since it involved power lines and they can claim it was necessary, then they are in the clear.


https://www.eagles.org/take-action/habitat-protection/


tomcat said:

I have been following a bald eagle nest on a high voltage tower in Hillsborough for the past 3-4 years.  I understand that this eagle pair have raised young there for 5-8 years.

Recently I noticed that the power company was doing some major work on the line.  When I drove by yesterday, the entire tower had been demolished, and thus this active nest was destroyed (during the off breeding season).  I wonder about the legality of this?

I am sure that this established pair will build a new nest (somewhere), though whether they can complete a new one in time for the 2021 breeding season is probably questionable.

I would be surprised if the birds can't make a new nest in time to breed.  I know they add to them each year, but it would not be very strong (from an evolutionary point of view) if they have to wait a whole year after starting a nest to start breeding.


The existing nest was huge (with 6-8 years of improvements).  

The breeding season in NJ is January, but I do not know how early the birds arrive from their off season travels prior to that.  I saw one article stating that they tend to stay in the nest area, but we never see them there from late July through December.

I know that young bireds rarely manage to breed the first season, when they first start to build a nest, thus my concerns (if this pair do not discover that the nest is gone till late December).


They stay in the area but they do not use nests until mating season. They will build another nest in some tree somewhere, or maybe on another utility tower or (less likely) a bridge.

A tree would be the safest choice.


They are not migratory. Adolescent Eagles will fly, sometimes 200 miles in a day to scope out future nesting sites and winter reading sites. Adults fly to search for food.


Yesterday I finally saw the eagles again, sitting in trees alongside the river, approx. 1/2 mile from where their nest used to be.  I only had my cell phone with me to take photos.


It sounds like they'll be fine. Before humans came along and started building power lines trees could fall in a storm. They're probably thinking "well, that happened. Time to build a new nest."

I am an environmentalist but I think if the power line needed to be rebuilt that probably takes precedence over preserving a nest in the non-breeding season.. Newer electrical infrastructure is part of the key to improved efficiency and lowering our environmental impact.

More info here about eagle nests. They may already have started on one elsewhere in their territory.

https://www.nationaleaglecenter.org/eagle-nesting-young/


Update:   The power company finished the new tower in December, and mounted a platform on the top cross-beam.  In mid February I saw the eagles on the new platform once or twice (due to sides, it is not possible to see whether there has been any nest building).

Last week another observer confirmed that they are nesting and have laid eggs.  They are probably a little behind the nest over at Duke Farms though (3 eggs laid in January, 2 have hatched).


After a few near misses (eagles, but no camera, or camera, but no eagles), today I managed to get a few shots of the eagles using the new nesting platform.

It took a while before they accepted the platform and built the new nest, so they are probably a few weeks behind other eagle nests.




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