Llano eagles will be building a new home

Contributed by Cottonwood Photography
The eagle pair get comfortable in their Llano nest in January, 2014. The photographer, Jess Thompson, has been observing the eagle pair for more than 10 years.

By Emily Hilley-Sierzchula

The well-known eagle pair who had a nest along Texas 29 near the Llano River will be building a new home this fall after their nest collapsed about a month ago because of a combination of a rotted tree trunk, a heavy nest and a windy day, a Texas Parks & Wildlife Department official said Friday, Sept. 5. People have traveled from all over the country to see the eagle’s nest.

“It’s not their first rodeo: this was the third tree I know of they’ve had a nest in,” said Dale Schmidt, TPWD wildlife technician assigned to Llano and San Saba counties. The first nest fell with a limb about ten years ago; the second nest, which was also near the road and river, was abandoned around October 2010.

“It’s just part of being a bald eagle,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt said it would be interesting to watch their arrival in October as they figure out what happened. “It’s devastating to us to lose a house and I’m sure it is for them, but they’ve been through this before,” he said.

Schmidt said the eagle sensation began back in 2004 when the pair picked a tree that made their nest visible from the highway. “People got to watch that nest being built,” Schmidt said. 

One of the people who observed the nest often was Jess Thompson, who has been photographing the pair since 2003. “In those first couple of years there could be 60 cars out there on a Sunday, lining both sides of the road,” Thompson said. “Later on it became commonplace and people didn’t go as much.” He was amazed that traffic and even horns honking didn’t seem to bother the birds. “It’s incredible how birds can adapt,” he said.

Thompson said he met people from Alaska, a state full of eagles, who said this nest was in a great spot. “In Alaska people couldn’t just drive down the road and watch eagles feeding their young,” he said. “It’s quite an experience to watch a bird fledge for the first time.”

For the full story, see Friday's Highlander.

Rate this article: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)