The bald eagles that were first spotted last year near White Rock Lake have been causing a stir for the past several weeks.
After leaving the area briefly during the summer, city officials said the eagles are back. And now they are building a second nest, fueling hopes that they will have offspring next spring.
Bird enthusiasts were heartbroken when the bald eagle nest holding eggs fell last year.
Their hopes were rekindled when the pair rebuilt a nest, but city officials who specialize in wildlife thought the birds had a slim chance of having offspring this season. They didn’t know if the pair would even stay in the area.
Now, city officials said they are confident that the birds are back and are here to stay.
Brett Johnson, the urban biologist for the city of Dallas, recently said the pair have started building a nest, once again fueling the excitement of North Texans who are beginning to flock to White Rock Lake to get a glimpse of the bald eagles.
“Previously they were just kind of seeing them in the area and not seeing any nesting activity,” Johnson said earlier this month.
Johnson said the bald eagle pair, known to many as Nick and Nora, are nesting in a tree near Sunset Bay.
“They’ve been working on the nest for several weeks now,” he added.
Johnson said he thinks that the nest near Sunset Bay, on the east side of the lake, is a much better location than the first two nests that the eagles made near the intersection of East Lake Highlands Drive and North Buckner Boulevard.
The first nest, which fell in February because of high winds, was built on a tree along the roadway. The bald eagle pair built a second nest in an area that was more wooded, but they did not produce offspring.
Although the newest nest is farther away from traffic and human activity, Johnson said the tree that it is built on is not the most sturdy.
“I’m not trying to get too excited about it because one of the branches is pretty sketchy,” Johnson said.
Amateur wildlife photographer Chris Giblin first saw the eagles last year.
Giblin, a Royse City resident, said he and many more bird enthusiasts were worried the bald eagles would not return after failing to produce offspring this season.
But Giblin said he has been visiting Sunset Bay almost every weekend since he learned of the new nest.
“It’s pretty exciting for bird enthusiasts and photographers,” he said. “I feel like [the bald eagles] made this area their home.”
Giblin said he has identified the two eagles through photos that he and others have taken and shared on social media.
“There are still markings [on the birds] that help you tell the two apart,” Giblin said. “The male has a little spot on the back of his right wing.”
Giblin feels the same excitement he did last year.
“Every time someone posts a killer shot on social media and I’m at work, I think, ‘Man I need to quit my job and get out there,’” Giblin said.
Johnson said bald eagles can take months to build a nest.
Last season, the city put up fencing around Lake Highlands Park to keep people from disrupting the federally protected birds.
The city does not have plans to put up similar fencing around the nesting area this time, but Johnson added they are considering putting up signs asking people to keep their distance from the bald eagles.
“There are access ways to that nest, unfortunately, and you never know when people with or without ill intentions are going to disturb them,” Giblin said.