Get a Bird's Eye View—Eagle Nest Watching at Smith Rock State Park
March 26, 2018
It's that time of the year again when we watch the watchers. The eagle nest watchers that is. We now have an update on both the bald and golden eagles. Smith Rock is unique in that both species share a relatively small area each year to breed.
The golden eagles' nest is a bit of a challenge to spot. While golden eagle activity has been going on since January, watchers Interpretative Ranger David Vick and Park Volunteer Naturalist Steve Lay could not find the nest they were using. Perched high on the walls of the Monument Area, they finally spotted it this week on the formation called “Little Three Fingered Jack”. Ranger David has not seen it used in the 30 years he has been observing. They suspect that there was a nest there previously and they never noticed it, as It is pretty inconspicuous. And since they don’t know when she laid eggs, they have no clue about a hatching date. Typically golden eagles in the park hatch in early April.
Watching the balds is another story. You can literally walk up to the rim edge of the Bivy Campground and see the eagles on the nest in a giant ponderosa off of the Canyon Trail in the river canyon below. Both amateurs, as well as world-famous wildlife photographers, have come to Smith Rock on a yearly basis to get amazing shots.
Ranger David looked at the nest on March 24 and saw the adults switch places, although he did not see the eggs or any juveniles. In the past the bald eagles in the park have hatched around the last week of March.