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White Rock Lake Bald Eagle Family Prospers

Bald eagle family at White Rock Lake | Image by WFAA
Bald eagle family at White Rock Lake | Image by WFAA

A pair of bald eagles known to nest in the White Rock Lake area has added two new members to the family.

The Dallas Park and Recreation Department’s conservation manager, Brett Johnson, was the first to spot the young eaglets in Lake Highlands Park. The department has been monitoring the nesting sight since March.

“We are excited the bald eagles have two new members,” Johnson announced in a City of Dallas press release.

Dallas Park and Recreation, in a collaborative effort with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, is diligently working to protect the health and safety of the nesting eagles. The bald eagle, the official national symbol of the United States since 1782, is protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Act. It is against the law to disturb or molest the birds or interfere with their nesting, breeding, or feeding.

Two eagles were first spotted building a nest in Lake Highlands Park in the fall of 2021, as previously reported by The Dallas Express. The birds, dubbed “Nick” and “Nora” by a local photographer, created quite a stir in the community, prompting the City of Dallas to put up barriers around the nesting site to protect them. Sadly, in February 2022, a strong wind blew the nest out of the tree and destroyed the egg it contained.

The following autumn, the two eagles returned to the area and built a nest but showed no signs of active nesting or mating behaviors. The nest was soon abandoned, though the birds were spotted in the area throughout the spring of 2023.

“The USFWS is glad to see the eagles have returned and have at least one eaglet observed in the nest. … We continue to coordinate with the City of Dallas to assist to ensure the nest is undisturbed,” Omar Bocanegro with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said in the press release.

Visitors hoping to catch a glimpse of the eagles are urged to remain at least 300 feet away from the birds. Park officials have installed an orange fence around the nesting area to prevent foot traffic from approaching too closely. Visitors are also asked to keep noise levels down and canine friends on a leash.

Park officials nationwide often go to great lengths to protect this bird species, typically found in the continental United States, Mexico, and Canada. In 1963, only 417 known nesting pairs existed in the entirety of the mainland 48 states. Now, the bald eagle population numbers in the hundreds of thousands, an effort the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service calls a “success story.”

According to Johnson, the bald eagle family making a home at White Rock Lake “is a testament to the department’s efforts in preserving and protecting our natural habitats that allow these majestic birds to thrive.”

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