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The Villages
Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Brownwood Birders prompt cleaning of favorite Eagles nest in The Villages

For many years there have been pairs of  Bald Eagles nesting high on the electrical lines that line the walking trail and Briarwood executive golf course.  It is just above the paved walking trail, and 8th tee box of the executive golf course.   

Each year in the spring as the nest is being rebuilt by the resident Bald Eagles, golfers, walkers, joggers, local birders, and passengers in golf carts look high above in anticipation of the arrival of little Eaglets.  The pair of Bald Eagles will fly in and out of the nest with Spanish Moss, branches and sticks rebuilding the nest for the new year.  The female will sit on the eggs until they hatch as the male brings in food to her.

This past spring the Bald Eagles hatched two Eaglets. They were a beautiful sight for all the passerby’s, photographers and Birders.  A few weeks after the two Eaglets hatched, one disappeared.  Everyone waited in anticipation of the other little Eaglet head to pop back up again without success.

Two Bald Eaglets from last year.
Two Bald Eaglets from last year.

After the disappearance of one Eaglet, some members of the Brownwood Birders noticed that some landscaping mess was mixed in with the sticks and Spanish moss making up the nest.  It was assumed that when the adult eagles had swooped down to collect moss and sticks to build the nest, they may have picked up the mesh and brought it to the nest be mistake.

A Bald Eagle brings in some moss and sticks for the nest.
A Bald Eagle brings in some moss and sticks for the nest.

There was concern that this landscaping mesh had somehow been involved in the demise of one of the Bald Eaglets in the nest. So, members of the Brownwood Birders, and Alice Horst, who is a member of the Brownwood Birders, and a nest monitor for this particular nest with the Audubon society, started things in motion to have the nest cleaned.

Because the Bald Eagles are protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird treaty act, Duke Energy, who is the owner of these power lines was called in to clean out the nest. This is only done for Bald Eagle nests as they are protected.  You will see many Osprey nests also along the power lines through The Villages.

Duke Energy workers picked out pieces of plastic mesh from the nest.
Duke Energy workers picked out pieces of plastic mesh from the nest.

Duke Energy showed up on Thursday morning with a large bucket truck. Tonya Corder, an Environmental Specialist with Duke Energy, directed operations from the ground. They first took the bucket up to the nest to inspect.  They returned to the ground and reported to Corder what they had seen, which included some landscaping mesh tangled in the bedding.  They were instructed to return to the nest to clean it out.  Once up at the nest the second time you could see them picking portions of the mesh from the nesting material with long poles from the bucket.  Once cleaned they returned to the ground and informed Corder the nest was cleaned.  

“The material was disintegrating as the workers were removing it from the nest,” Corder said. “They removed as much as possible, and the rest should just disintegrate on its own”.  

The nest is now ready for its local resident Eagles to safely return, rebuild, and hatch a couple more Eaglets. 

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