Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco County officials consider building replacement nest for eagles

HOLIDAY — The bald eagles have flown north for the summer, but they're expected back in the fall. However, the pair will arrive to find their 800-pound nest gone, along with the dead pine tree that once supported it.

During their absence, county officials and representatives of Progress Energy are trying to figure out a way to offer them a new home near the original one on the utility's property off Anclote Road.

"It's a shame the nest came down," said David Bruzek, lead environmental specialist for Progress Energy. "But the silver lining is it came down outside of nesting season when we didn't have any eggs in there."

The nest, thought to have sheltered the same pair for seven years, had evolved into a tourist attraction. Motorists would sometimes park along the side of the road to catch a glimpse of the birds and their young.

County and utility officials say they and others have been mulling over whether to build a home on a platform or a nest in another nearby tree in case the eagles return. Though the birds tend to return to the same places, there's no guarantee.

"We're looking at various possibilities to providing an alternative nest," Bruzek said. Now the best bet is building a nest of natural materials in an existing tree.

A platform was considered but Bruzek said he feared an artificial structure might create an imprint and limit the younger birds to rely only on artificial nests.

Officials also want to make sure any tree that is used is healthy and won't immediately suffer the fate of the previous one.

Progress Energy officials also want to make sure they're balancing the needs of the birds and their enthusiasts with the needs of the nearby power plant. And they want to make sure no laws are violated.

"You're not supposed to have any activity within a 330 (foot) radius of an eagles' nest," Bruzek said. Whether building a new nest for the birds counts as activity also will need to be determined. Bruzek plan to get any plans okayed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Birders and other experts say the nest, between the entrances to Anclote Gulf Park and Anclote River Park, was highly unusual because of its visibility to the public: Eagles' nests are usually either hidden from view on private property or else located deep in the woods.

Bruzek said the adult pair, if they have survived, will likely return to the area.

"If we build a nest out of natural materials, they might choose to enhance that and do the breeding cycle in that one."

However, the distractions of the highway and the fact that the original nest is gone may send the birds looking elsewhere. Eagles typically build nests deep in the woods. But some have adapted as more forests are cleared and replaced with shopping malls and tract homes.

"The urbanized birds are much more tolerant," Bruzek said.

As for the cost of building a new home, Bruzek doesn't expect to have to spend too much.

"I'm sure we'll have lots of volunteer help," he said.

Indeed, Pasco County officials, who have promoted the county as an alternative to beaches and theme parks, would love for the birds to return.

"There's a lot of enthusiasm for doing something in that area," former communications specialist Amy Ellis told Tourist Development Council members last week before resigning to begin a similar job with the Tampa Bay Regional Transportation Authority. "We've looked at an education kiosk, a webcam so people could observe the birds. There was a lot of excitement when these birds had their offspring."

Pasco County officials consider building replacement nest for eagles 07/30/10 [Last modified: Friday, July 30, 2010 9:03pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. New World Brewery is closing. Where will all its concerts go now?

    Blogs

    Ever since it was announced that New World Brewery was closing its beloved Ybor City location and relocating to a spot farther north, there’s been an outpouring of nostalgia from artists, promoters and fans throughout the Tampa Bay music scene.

    Allison Weiss performed at New World Brewery in 2015.
  2. Farewell, New World Brewery: 11 Tampa music scene regulars toast a beloved venue

    Blogs

    It's hard to put into words what New World Brewery has meant to the Tampa music scene over the past 22 years.

    Matt Burke and Have Gun, Will Travel, shown performing at New World Brewery in 2009. Burke credits the venue with shaping how the band wanted to develop.
  3. Betsy DeVos rescinds Obama-era rules on campus sexual assault

    Blogs

    Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has said over and over again that sexual assault on campus is an issue she wants to get right.

    Education Secretary Betsy DeVos
  4. In dollars: How valuable are Florida's university football programs?

    Business

    The University of Florida football program is valued in a new study at $682 million, making it the most valuable university team in the state but still worth far less than several college programs topping $1 billion. Four years ago, UF's program was valued at just under $600 million.

    The University of Florida football program is valued at  $682 million, making it the most valuable by far in the Sunshine State. Pictured are UF cheerleaders leading the crowd in a Gator cheer on Clearwater Beach last December during the Outback Bowl Beach Day on Clearwater Beach. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
  5. After 22 years, it's last call for beloved Ybor venue New World Brewery

    Music & Concerts

    YBOR CITY — Steve Bird spreads his tools across a patio table. He has awnings to unbolt and paraphernalia to unpry, from the busted Bop City neon by the stage to the Simpsons "El Duffo o Muerte" mural in the courtyard. He'll uproot a fountain and dismantle a roof and attempt to keep his bar intact. The …

    Various decor and memorabilia fill the walls and shelves at New World Brewery in Ybor City.
Long time music venue and hangout New World Brewery in Ybor City will be closing it's doors and moving locations. Patrons enjoy one of the last events before New World Brewery changes its location to Busch Blvd in Tampa.  [Photo Luis Santana | Times]