Bald Eagle Information and Guidelines

Bald Eagles at Corica Park Golf Course

Bald Eagles are nesting at Corica Park golf course in Alameda, and we couldn’t be more excited about it! Bald Eagles, a symbol of our nation, were once rare in most parts of the US, including in the San Francisco Bay Area, due to pesticides, habitat destruction and hunting. Fortunately, they have made a tremendous comeback through environmental protections including the banning of DDT. In recent years we have seen Bald Eagle nests in the Bay Area in Milpitas and at Del Valle Regional Park near Livermore. Now a pair are building a nest in Alameda in the midst of our dense urban Bay Area.

Bald Eagle building nest by Rick Lewis

While Bald Eagle populations are expanding, these birds still need the support of conservation efforts, and continue to be protected by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and Migratory Bird Treaty Act. As of January 2023, the Alameda eagles have not yet seemed upset by activity on the ground near the nest but precautions are needed through their nesting period.

As of January 2023, the Bald Eagle pair in Alameda has built two nests, both towards the top of large trees, one on the North Course and one on the South Course. A pair building more than one nest is not uncommon, but they are expected to lay and tend young only in one of the nests. They may switch between alternate nests in different years.

 

Bald Eagles at Corica Park by Rick Lewis

We currently have monitors out at the nesting site on a regular basis. For more information on the Bald Eagles at Corica please contact Golden Gate Audubon’s Friends of Alameda Wildlife Reserve (FAWR) at fawr@goldengateaudubon.org

Guidelines to Keep the Bald Eagles Safe and Happy

No unauthorized admittance to the golf course. Do not enter the golf course for photography or bird watching unless specifically authorized in advance by the course. We expect to offer limited public guided walks; check back later for information.

● If an eagle is on the ground (perhaps seeking nesting material or food), do not move any closer to it.
● If there are barriers in the area of the nesting trees, respect the barriers and do not enter the restricted area without specific permission from course management.
● Do not attempt to climb a nest tree.
● Do not attempt to lure the birds with food or other attractants.
● Eagles, like other raptors, may try to eat anything they see. Trash can harm them, so please pick up after yourself and safely discard any litter that you may see.
● If an eagle is stressed, it may bob its head, make vocal sounds, or leave the nest. If you see any of these signs, please gently and quietly withdraw from the area of the eagles.
● Do not aim balls toward the birds or the nest area.
● Please do not fly drones anywhere around the eagles. Drones are already prohibited at the course because of the nearness of the airport.

General Information on Bald Eagles

Bald eagles build their first nests at five or six years old. By then, they have their adult plumage with a very dark brown body and a white head and tail. Their nests are usually high in tall trees, preferably near a lake, estuary, or other water, where they can hunt for fish. The eagles typically use their nest for multiple years and enlarge it each year. Nests may reach 10 feet across and weigh a half ton.

Bald Eagles in nest at Corica Park by Rick Lewis

In California, the breeding season typically lasts from January through July. The female usually lays two eggs and both adults incubate the eggs for about 35 days. After the eggs hatch, both parents feed the chicks until they fledge at 8 to 14 weeks. The parents continue to feed the fledglings as they teach them to hunt for themselves. The young are on their own a month or so after fledging.

Female eagles may weigh 14 pounds and have a wingspan of eight feet. Male eagles are smaller, weighing as much as 10 pounds and have a wingspan of six feet. Pairs typically mate for life, and they can live for 15 to 25 years in the wild. In addition to fish, bald eagles will also feed on ducks, geese, turtles, rabbits, snakes, other small animals, and carrion.

Bald Eagle with fish by Rick Lewis

Bald Eagle numbers have rebounded magnificently – the US Fish and Wildlife Service estimated that there were more than 71,000 breeding pairs in 2018 – 2019, demonstrating that nature can rebound when contaminants are removed, and habitat is preserved. Lead has and is still poisoning bald eagles throughout the United States when eagles feed on contaminated prey or carcasses, and habitat loss remains challenging for eagles and most birds. We need everyone’s help to protect the eagles and other birds who have made Alameda their home.

January 2023


Other Bald Eagle Information Resources:

Bald Eagle Fact Sheet, from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: https://www.fws.gov/sites/default/files/documents/bald-eagle-fact-sheet.pdf

General information on Bald Eagles: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Bald_Eagle/id

Bald Eagles in California: https://wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Birds/Bald-Eagle