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Bald Eagles Thriving Near Great Salt Lake

Bald Eagles Thriving Near Great Salt Lake

Posted - May 30, 2003 at 10:02 p.m.



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Jed Boal reporting America's enduring symbol is stretching its wings under unusual circumstances not far from the Great Salt Lake.

A pair of Bald Eagles were homeless after a storm detroyed their nest two years ago. But the family is thriving again with a little help from human friends.

It's just about time to fly for a pair of bald eaglets near the banks of the Jordan River...an unlikely home for the kids.

A couple of years ago Northern Utah nearly lost its only known nesting pair of bald eagles.

Two years ago, 70 mile per hour winds toppled a dead cottonwood tree that was their perch on the Legacy Nature Preserve.

So, in October 2001, the Division of Wildlife Resources along with UDOT put up an artificial tree and nest...the same height in the same place.

Bob Walters/Utah Division of Wildlife Resources: "WE MIMICKED WHAT HAD BEEN THERE SO PRECISELY THAT WE TRICKED THEM. IT WAS GOOD ENOUGH."

Bob Walters of the DWR admits it's ugly, like a fork that went through a disposal. But, the adults raised three eaglets last year and two this year.

The parents first moved into an old heron nest in the dead cottonwood in 1996.

Now, the prolific pair is raising its 18th and 19th eaglets, preparing to fly off like the rest of them.

Bob Walters/Utah Division of Wildlife Resources: "OVER A NUMBER OF DAYS, THEY GET IT. THEY BEGIN TO GO FROM SNAG TO NEST AND BACK OUT, DOWN THE RIVER AND THIS DIRECTION."

These eagles have overlooked several obstacles.

Eagles tend to avoid manmade nests. America's mechanical birds soar overhead, and mankind encroaches on all sides.

The DWR calls it lucky that the birds are going strong...or maybe the American symbol is simply resilient enough to handle a little change.

There are four known nesting pairs in Utah. The state's bald Eagle Recovery Plan aims for 10. The bald eagle remains listed as a threatened species, but no longer endangered.

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