Bald eagle at St. Patrick’s County Park
In the spring of 2015, two bald eagles took over an existing red-tailed hawk nest at the University of Notre Dame Linked Experimental Ecosystem Facility (ND-LEEF) at St. Patrick’s County Park and fledged one eaglet. Over the past few months, the birds have returned and are again building up a nest for the upcoming season.
Given the overwhelming community interest sparked by the eagles’ arrival, a camera has been installed at ND-LEEF so that enthusiasts can enjoy a live view of the nest without disturbing the pair. To view the eagle cam, visit environmentalchange.nd.edu/programs/nd-leef/eagles.
“We are just thrilled that the eagles have returned this year to their home at ND-LEEF,” said Jennifer Tank, director of the University’s Environmental Change Initiative and the Ludmilla F., Stephen J. and Robert T. Galla Professor of Biological Sciences. “It is great to know that during the off-season, when the science and outreach activity has slowed, that the eagles are thriving alongside the unique beauty of the facility and the surrounding St. Patrick’s County Park.”
County parks leadership echoed that enthusiasm. “The success of the bald eagle nest and the eagle cam are wonderful examples of the great partnership we have with ND-LEEF, furthering our shared goals to be good stewards of the land and to share our appreciation of science and nature with others,” said Evie Kirkwood, director of St. Joseph County Parks. “We appreciate ND-LEEF establishing the eagle cam, so we can share the St. Patrick’s County Park bald eagles with others.”
The eagles at St. Patrick’s Park have been observed as most active at the nest between sunrise and noon. In this region, according to U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, bald eagles typically lay two eggs in late February or early March. The eggs take 35 days to hatch. Because of the angle of the eagle camera, the hatchlings will not be visible in the deep nest until they are roughly five to six weeks old in mid-May.
Eagles are protected by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act with guidelines on minimizing nest disturbance. Therefore, those who are interested in viewing the nest in person are asked to do so from the Morrison Education and Outreach Pavilion located on the north side of ND-LEEF. Parking is available in the St. Patrick’s County Park Red Barn parking lot, and visitors should walk or ski to Morrison Pavilion, entering from the path from the north of the pavilion.