The nest on the old platform in 2013 with an eaglet seen at the right.
This is the third year that a breeding pair of Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucephalus) has nested on the Osprey platform located on Lake Timacau Road. Their occupation of the platform took place after a dramatic aerial fight with the Osprey who, along with his mate, had been occupying.
According to Charlotte Hope who works with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, she has never known Bald Eagles to use an Osprey platform for nesting. It was her opinion that this pair of eagles was either a new couple or pushed by the need to lay eggs to take whatever nesting site was available. Thinking Dewees had something quite out of the ordinary occurring, research revealed there are several other areas in the United States that have been providing various types of platforms for eagles . A few of these are Sanibel-Captiva, Florida, San Jacinto Mountains, California and Marley Creek, New Jersey.
As this platform had been struck by lightening at least two times, it was rather precariously perched on the piling and becoming more unstable. Lori Sheridan-Wilson, Dewees Island Environmental Program Director, began making contacts to see what to do and when to do repairs as there was an eaglet in the nest.
With a great deal of orchestration, Lori had a platform made after consultation with a man in Florida who had built platforms, a piling delivered and site preparations done so that all would be done in one fell swoop. As the eaglet had fledged, all was set to go on October 2, 2013. The old piling was replaced with a new 55 foot piling that was too narrow at the top to accomodate the new platform; therefore a 5 foot section was removed.
What nesting material was on the old platform was carefully placed on the new one. Unlike an Osprey platform, the new one has supports in the middle for greater stability. A lightening rod was considered but advised against. The project began at 8:30 a.m. with Lori and staff off island on the 3:30 p.m. ferry.
The pair is now nesting with an unknown number of eggs having been laid or possibly eaglets having hatched. The nest is very deep so when our camera is up and running we may or may not be able to see any activity in the nest. Currently, the eagles are often seen sitting on the edge of the nest looking down.