Ellen Tinsley 0

The Bald Eagles Loblolly and Pitch Need Help to Save Their Family

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The Big Pine Nest bald eagle nest was established during the pandemic winter of 2020 and so there were NO visitors allowed at Jordan Lake State Recreation Area in Apex, NC. The bald eagle parents unwittingly placed their nest too close to a picnic shelter that was closed and free of visitors when they chose their nest tree. The gate that protects the picnic shelter has now been opened to all visitors. Loblolly and Pitch are being harassed on a daily basis by visitors who are not being properly kept away from their nest.

If we can better protect the nest, the State Park has the very real possibility of making this nest into a Bald Eagle Web Cam … but the parent bald eagles need the protection that would be provided by the following:

1) People must stay 660 feet from an active bald eagle nest, according to Federal law; the State Park has set up an inadequate “barrier” of a saw horse and some rope, at a distance of 150 feet from the nest. The US Fish and Wildlife Service says this arrangement is okay - however it is most definitely not within the law’s distancing of 660ft. Nor is this “barrier” stopping people from approaching the nest and even allowing their dogs to run underneath the nest tree

2) Insure proper distancing between visitors and the bald eagles by shutting the gate to Shelter 8 at the main road; this keeps cars at a distance of 1000ft from the nest; this closes the parking loop that contains the nest

3) Open the gate to shelter 2, which is the sister to shelter 8, so that people still have access to that part of the Ebenezer Day-Use Area

4) The US Fish and Wildlife Service says that by shutting the gate to shelter 8 you close the majority of the Ebenezer Day-Use area to use by visitors; this is not true as Shelter 2 covers more area and the hiking trails in the area are accessible via both Shelter 2 and the main recreation area

5) Put signage at the gate to shelter 8 stating: Bald Eagle Breeding Area; please respect the bald eagles and do NOT enter

6) Put signage on the trail that skirts the southern end of shelter 8 parking lot: “Please quietly cross the pavement so you don’t disturb the bald eagle nest”

7) Put signage on the shoreline prohibiting boats, kayaks, etc from getting within 660 ft of nest

8) Explain on the Jordan Lake Recreation Area web page, why shelter 8 is closed. Post a set of Bald Eagle Etiquette Rules and a thank you to visitors for helping protect the Big Pine Nest

9) Give bald eagle lectures at the Exhibit Hall at the Visitor Center for the Jordan Lake Recreation Area

10) By doing these steps the NC State Park Division has the best chance in 7 years to establish the only BALD EAGLE WEB CAM in NC. Just think of being able to watch, in real time, our very own bald eagles raise a family and without any interference from people inadvertently, or hopefully not purposefully, intruding on the nest

In protecting Big Pine Nest by following these steps the NC State Park Division will be fully protecting the bald eagles and teaching the NC Citizens how to help in that protection. No humans will be harmed and neither will any bald eagles. If the nest is not fully protected as outlined above, the bald eagles could abandon the eggs or the chicks or the chicks could fail to fledge and that, regretfully, will not only damage this bald eagle family but will most definitely negate the possibility of a Bald Eagle Web Cam.

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