Mar 17, 2021 - News

Bald eagles abandon Gray's Lake nest in Des Moines

Eagles at Gray's Lake Park on April 23, 2016. Photo courtesy of Doug Lambert of Des Moines

The longtime bald eagles' nest along the Raccoon River near Gray’s Lake is again empty, DSM parks and recreation spokesperson Jennifer Fletcher told Axios this week.

Why it matters: It was well-situated to give trail users a good yet safe view of eaglets from across the river. Park officials even set up a placard with information and held educational events there.

Flashback: There were concerns a few years ago that construction of a nearby $4 million pedestrian bridge could disrupt the nest.

  • Construction was scheduled around prime nesting season to not disturb the birds, but they never returned after its November 2019 completion.

There could be multiple reasons why they relocated:

  • The nesting tree had been struck by lightning, which could have ... ruffled some feathers.
  • There were multiple flooding events in recent years that pushed homeless camps closer to the site.
  • Eagles just naturally relocate nests sometimes. Even that ultra-famous couple that were part of the "Decorah Eagle Cam" moved recently.

This story first appeared in the Axios Des Moines newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.


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