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The Woodlands bald eagles expected to return soon

September 12, 2018

Grab the binoculars, residents of The Woodlands: certain feathered and flighted birds are expected to move back into the area in the next two months.

While they’ve lived in the township for nearly 20 years, the township’s famous bald eagles that make their nests high up in trees around The Woodlands have gained considerable fame over the past few years.

There are two nesting pairs of bald eagles in this area. One is by Lake Front Circle near Hughes Landing, and another is in the Bear Branch area, according to Howard Hughes Corp. Environmental Manager Fred LeBlanc.

There is some speculation about whether these bald eagles are the same ones that have always claimed this territory or whether they are grown offspring of the original eagles, but LeBlanc said they have a few different nests they’ve been building up for years.

Yet, things have been pretty quiet in those nests recently. The eagles have most likely been away for the summer in a sort of reverse migration pattern, LeBlanc said.

“They supposedly migrate north to somewhere between here and Canada,” LeBlanc said.

The Woodlands resident Randy Scott, who started the Facebook page “Save The Woodlands Eagles” to document the birds’ activity, has been watching the bald eagles for more than a decade.

Scott said he suspects that the eagles fly up to Arkansas during the summer.

“I’m sure they went and socialized with other eagles. Nobody knows where they go, but (in Arkansas) there’s a large concentration of eagles,” Scott said.

The theory, Scott says, is that the eagles travel in order to meet other eagles and learn how big the world is.

After all, it’s a short trip for them. Scott said they can make the journey to Arkansas in just two days.

However, they’re expected to return in October or November to start rebuilding their vacated nests for nesting season, which is when the eagle pairs mate. The territorial birds lay one or two eggs in December and incubate them for just over a month until they hatch in January.

LeBlanc said that the two pairs of Woodlands eagles have hatched 38 young birds over the course of their residency here, contributing to the continued success of the species.

Chosen in 1782 as the national bird and symbol of the United States, the bald eagle is perceived as a majestic, strong creature.

As previously reported by The Villager, eagles were on the endangered species list from 1963 to 2007, but have since rebounded in what Fish and Wildlife Service officials said was a remarkable recovery.

Usually, the bald eagle pair nesting near Lake Front Circle can be seen from the parking lot of The Woodlands United Methodist Church. Yet, Scott advised onlookers to give the eagles privacy until January or February.

“They get nervous when the eaglets are little, and plus they’re mating. Two years ago I saw a lot of people trying to watch them mate, and I felt that was too much intrusion into their lives,” Scott said. “They do have a family life.”

jane.stueckemann@chron.com

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