Bald Eagles get new home in Henefer
February 17, 2015
Kent Nichols has a large, cottonwood tree less than 500 yards from his house. The tree sits on his property on the bank of the Weber River, east of Henefer.
About three or four times a week, Nichols can look out his windows and spot a pair of bald eagles in the tree. The eagles have nested in a cottonwood tree on a property that Nichols jointly owns since 2013.
"They are just flat out a beautiful bird," he said.
But two weeks ago, the branch supporting the eagles’ large nest broke.
Bob Richins, a Henefer resident who’s property is less than a mile from the original nest, contacted Rocky Mountain Power and the Division of Wildlife Resources about replacing the nest.
"I really wanted to see the birds survive," Richins said. "If we don’t help them out, who will?"
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On Friday, Rocky Mountain Power and officials from the Division of Wildlife Resources spent more than two hours installing a 45-foot pole, equipped with a nesting platform for the eagles.
The four-by-four foot platform attaches to the power pole and has an estimated life span of approximately 25 years.
"Everybody has really been cooperative and I’m just pleased with the fact that everybody that we contacted was very willing to help out," Richins said. "That was important and that really made it work."
Sherry Liguorie, the environmental manager for Rocky Mountain Power, said the power company has installed numerous nesting platforms throughout the state in the past as part of the company’s "environmental respect policy."
The project costs approximately $3,000 for eequipment and labor, Liguorie said.
"We try to seek out partnerships with agencies to have a positive environmental impact," Liguorie said. "We spend quite a bit of money each year for avian protection and we’ve installed platforms like this in various locations throughout the state.
"We have the equipment to put a pole like that in the ground and doing this ties it right back into our program so we can have a positive effect on the bird population," she added. "Hopefully the eagles will take to the platform and if they do, I’m sure they will be using it for many years."
Bob Walters, the watchable wildlife program coordinator with the Division of Wildlife Resources, said installation of the nests is "not a cheap and inexpensive thing to do."
"It’s not something that you undertake on a whim," Walters said. "We took the initiative to put together this project and it was not a simple thing to do."
Walters said he spent nearly a week crafting the platform with sticks and branches.
"The idea is to make something big and obvious and make it gaudy enough so they can’t miss it," Walters said.
However, there is no guarantee the eagles will take to the nest, Walters said. Since the original nest fell out of the tree, the eagles have nested on Richins property less than a mile away.
The platform is one of 17 bald eagle nests across the state, Walters said.
"The population is growing and they are no longer on the endangered species lists, but it is still a small population," he said. "Every once in a while we get lucky because we know just enough about them that a man-made structure will be good enough."
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