Bald eagles and their nests protected in Florida
Monday, March 07, 2011
Media contact: Gabriella B. Ferraro, 772-215-9459
A pair of nesting bald eagles in downtown Naples has raised
questions about the protections in place now that bald eagles are
no longer listed as endangered. The species that came back from the
brink of extinction to more than 1,200 nesting pairs in Florida in
2007 is protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the Bald and
Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Florida Fish and Wildlife
Conservation Commission's (FWC) bald eagle rule.
The FWC also administers the state's Bald Eagle Management Plan,
which lays out the recommendations and permitting guidelines for
activity near an active bald eagle nest. The goal of the plan is to
maintain a stable or increasing population of bald eagles in
Florida in perpetuity.
The pair in downtown Naples came to the attention of the FWC
when it received reports of construction going on near the eagle
nest. FWC officials visited the site and discovered two eaglets in
"When I went to visit the site, the construction managers had
already suspended work. The adult eagles were at the nest, and the
eaglets appeared healthy," said Michelle van Deventer, the FWC's
Bald Eagle Management Plan coordinator. "This is an unusual
situation, but as the populations of both eagles and humans grow,
there will likely be more incidents of people and eagles living in
close proximity. This is an opportunity to create awareness
of state and federal laws that protect the bald eagle, and teach
people how they can help eagles survive in urban environments."
The FWC recommends a protective buffer of 660 feet or less from
nests. Exterior construction and site-work within 330 feet of a
nest should be avoided during the nesting season from Oct. 1 to May
15 or when eagles are present. Noise and disruption from a
construction site can cause the birds to abandon a nest or result
in eaglets prematurely jumping from the nest.
Eagles nesting in populated areas are not likely to be disturbed
by routine use of roads and homes. Therefore, in most cases,
existing activities can continue with little risk. However,
new or irregular activities may need to be adjusted or rescheduled
to minimize disturbance to nesting eagles.
For more information, go to MyFWC.com/Eagle or e-mail van Deventer at
Eagle_Plan@MyFWC.com. The eagle website also provides a database to
locate documented bald eagle nests and view their locations.
Residents can help conserve bald eagles in Florida by following
state guidelines when conducting a project. Any potential
violations of wildlife laws may be reported to the FWC's Wildlife
Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922).