Eagles at St. Pat’s Park? Enjoy breakfast with them Sunday

Author: Christine Karsten

Watch WNDU broadcast story HERE

St. Joseph County, Ind. -- Did you know that there are eagles at St. Patrick’s County Park? If you didn’t, an event happening there this weekend may spark your interest. It is called Breakfast with the Eagles. From 10 a.m. to 11 on Sunday you can enjoy breakfast and learn about the history of the eagles. It is open to anyone and everyone 10-years-old and older.

If you want to go to this event you have to register by Wednesday.

So, how did these eagles get here? Well, the eagles were discovered when construction was being done on the Notre Dame Linked Experimental Ecosystem Facility or ND-LEEF.

The research facility was constructed back in 2012 but it was in 2014 they learned someone else was trying to take over.

“The crews that were working on it in the fall of 2014 told us that, ‘You know you have bald eagles nesting here?’ And we said, ‘I don’t think so. Those are red-tailed hawks.’” explains ND-LEEF Assistant Director Brett Peters.

Turns out, two eagles had taken over a red-tailed hawks nest and began making it their own. Eventually they had a baby or eaglet last spring.

“It is very exciting,” says St. Joseph County Parks Interpretive Services Manager Leslie Witkowski. “When you are out here working and you see the eagles fly over, it is very cool.”

To monitor these amazing creatures more closely they decided to install a camera, an idea that has become very popular over the years.

“We installed the eagle cam this spring and mounted it on a poll right here next to the pavilion and it is a long range camera so we are able to zoom in on the nest,” says Peters.

Right now, you can watch these eagles online from the comfort of your own home. All you have to do is click on this link.

You can also head to the ND-LEEF site with a set of binoculars and enjoy. If you go to the ND-LEEF site to watch the eagles you have to park in the St. Patrick’s County Park red barn parking lot. After you do that you will walk across the road to the 911 memorial and follow the signs through a trail to the pavilion. That way you disrupt the eagles.

“Just by looking at the behavior and activity of the eagles we do believe eggs were probably laid in early March and with that time frame they would have hatched last week or more recently,” adds Peters.

If you do visit the eagles you are asked to be respectful, follow the signs and keep your distance.

“If the eagles feel like it is a threat to them or they feel like they are not comfortable anymore they will abandon the eggs and they will abandon the live eaglets,” explains Witkowski.

Right now, there is a fundraising campaign going on to get another camera. This camera will be mounted in the tree, looking into the nest. This camera will allow researchers to see what is going on inside the nest, monitor future eggs and watch the growth of the eaglets. To help out, click here.

The hope is that these eagles will stay here forever. 

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