New photos of the nest taken this Spring
BEFORE it fell , by Robert C. Main
About 8:00 pm on Saturday April 24th Moriah Gonzales noticed
that the Eagle nest she regularly would observe (just west of Tulsa
along the Arkansas River, across from the Sunoco Refinery) had fallen
down. The Cottonwood it was in had probably been weakened by the past
several days of intense storms.
Gary and Kathy Siftar, TAS members and wildlife rehabbers from
Broken Arrow. They immediately got their flashlights, went to the site
and found the tree with a downed nest and two live young fledglings
about two months old. They also found a dead one that had been
partially eaten by a predator. Gary contacted Steve Sherrod, executive
director of the
Sutton Avian Research Center (the folks who carried out the
Eagle restoration program in the 1980s.) He agreed to come down and
build a new nest, which happened on April 28th, with help of a number of
people, including Kevin Stubbs of the Fish and Wildlife Service. The
Siftars then returned the birds and they were placed on the new nest
platform. Placing them here would protect them from predators, but it
was not known if the parents would still return to care for their young.
This project also generated much media coverage, by
radio, television and a page one article with photos in the Tulsa World.
Gary had also contacted TAS and Dave Edwards of our
Eagle Committee set up a schedule for our members to monitor the nest,
to be sure the young eagles remain on the nest, and to see if the
parents would return and care for them. If they fell out they must be
located and picked up or a predator could also get them.
The adults Eagles were soon spotted in the area, but not
observed on the new nest. Some turtle shells were observed on the ground
below the nest, suggesting the parent might be feeding the young eagles,
but we did not know for sure. Afraid they might not be being fed, Kevin
Stubbs provided some food on Sunday May 2nd. On Monday, May 3rd I (John
Kennington) stopped by on my way into work and observed one of the
adults on the nest, interacting with the young eagles. This had actually
been the first visit I was able to make to the nest!
This was a big relief, and we felt our efforts would now
On Friday, May 7th, Alan Jenkins from the Sutton Center
visited the site and found the young were perched on a branch about 20
feet from the platform and above it. From their position they had an
unobstructed flight path to where ever they wanted to fly. In other
words they had "branched" and he considered them to be fully and
On Sunday, May 9th John Fisher checked on the "kids" and
spotted one of the birds on a limb about 10 feet above the platform. It
then flew back down to one of the limbs next to the platform. The other
bird was sitting near the top of the big Cottonwood immediately to the
west of the clearing.
So it appears we have a success story and have saved two
Photo by Robert C. Main of the nest taken March 14, 2004, before the
Another by Robert C. Main of the nest taken April 3, 2004.
The nest tree is the one just to the left of the big tree in the center.
The new nest platform is barely visible just above the tops of the lower