November 15, 2014


The national bird is not welcome at the Baltimore Orioles' Birdland.  This, believe it or not, is what's left of the bald eagle nest after it was pulled from the left field lights at Ed Smith Stadium early yesterday morning and unceremoniously dropped in the dumpster.

Before I go further:  yes, the required state and federal permits were obtained to legally destroy the nest.    But, for those of us who have followed these eagles for years, the rationale for issuing the permit is fuzzy at best.

(1) Sarasota County (which owns the property) states it just learned about the nest a few days ago.  The Orioles, who have work crews there every day, must have dropped the ball notifying the County, because I've been observing that nest for the past week and a half, maybe two weeks.  Why would they allow the eagles to continue to build their nest, as egg laying season draws closer, only to destroy it?

(2) State wildlife officials say destroying the nest was for the birds' safety and in their best interest.  But, how is it in their best interest to oust them from their home and place undue stress on them right before egg laying season?  (Note:  a drone with a camera was sent up to the nest and no eggs were seen.  So, that was good news.)  But, will the eagles have enough time in their newly distressed state to build a nest before they lay eggs?

(3) There is a designated process for issuing a nest disruption permit.  That process, from what I understand, includes a time period for public input.  I'm hearing that process was skirted because the state wildlife agency deemed this to be an "extreme" case, and the "eagles had nested there previously". 

(4) Wildlife officials are now blaming the arrival of the eagles at the stadium on the fact that their nest in a nearby cell tower "disappeared".  They say the nest vanished in September and there's an active investigation into what happened.  That's interesting.  Over the summer, I witnessed 2-3 men in the cell tower working near the nest.  The next day, the nest was gone.  Do you think the state has contacted the cell tower company about their investigation?

State wildlife officials hope the eagles will return to their old perch across the street in the cell tower -- and build a new nest, stick by stick, branch by branch.  The last time the County and the Orioles evicted the eagles, the birds did not return to the area immediately.  It took at least one year.  I'll keep my eye to the sky.

The top two photos I pulled from a local TV reporter's Twitter feed.  There was lots of activity about the nest destruction on social media as well as traditional news media.


We are: Clamco said...

Oh my goodness, that is so sad seeing the remains of the nest discarded like that. The poor eagles are going to be so upset. So depressing!

Mersad said...

Yeah, this is depressing. There is no worse creature then man. But maybe it's better for the eagles, for now they can "move" away from the city.

Mersad Donko Photography

Ernie said...

Hmmmm. Sad news. At least the eagles off Whitfield are still there, though barely. Their tree is dead and construction seems to be within ten or twenty feet of their nest. Progress marches on.

Brian King said...

I hate to hear that. I'm lucky to even see an eagle around here. Too bad they didn't remove it much sooner.

(To answer your question, yes, my project is to photograph as many bird species as I can on the same stick in my backyard "studio". Kinda silly, but fun.)

Kay said...

This is quite a commentary about national sport vs. national bird, isn't it?
What a sad commentary, start to finish, including the disappearing cell tower nest.

Jocie Z ROCK said...

Lord what a nightmare!!!!

sassytrash said...

Sad but informative story!

YET AGAIN I scratch my head in wonder of "who the hell is in charge?" of eternally bad decision-making in Sarasota County!