Three eagle nests spotted in the District for first time in 70 years

Eagle nest spotted at the Metropolitan Police Department training facility. Photo credit: Dan Rauch, Fish & Wildlife Biologist, District Department of the Environment
Eagle nest spotted at the Metropolitan Police Department training facility. Photo credit: Dan Rauch, Fish & Wildlife Biologist, District Department of the Environment.
Eagle nest spotted at the Metropolitan Police Department training facility. Photo credit: Dan Rauch, Fish & Wildlife Biologist, District Department of the Environment
Eagle nest spotted at the Metropolitan Police Department training facility. Photo credit: Dan Rauch, Fish & Wildlife Biologist, District Department of the Environment.
Nest at St. Elizabeth’s (from Tuesday). Photo credit: Dan Rauch, Fish & Wildlife Biologist, District Department of the Environment.
Nest at St. Elizabeth’s (from Tuesday). Photo credit: Dan Rauch, Fish & Wildlife Biologist, District Department of the Environment.
Nest at St. Elizabeth’s (from Tuesday). Photo credit: Dan Rauch, Fish & Wildlife Biologist, District Department of the Environment.
Nest at St. Elizabeth’s (from Tuesday). Photo credit: Dan Rauch, Fish & Wildlife Biologist, District Department of the Environment.
Nest at the National Arboretum. Photo credit: Dan Rauch, Fish & Wildlife Biologist, District Department of the Environment.
Nest at the National Arboretum. Photo credit: Dan Rauch, Fish & Wildlife Biologist, District Department of the Environment.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service flyover photo.  Credit:  Craig Koppie, U.S. Fish and Wildlife
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service flyover photo. Credit: Craig Koppie, U.S. Fish and Wildlife
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Eagle nest spotted at the Metropolitan Police Department training facility. Photo credit: Dan Rauch, Fish & Wildlife Biologist, District Department of the Environment
Eagle nest spotted at the Metropolitan Police Department training facility. Photo credit: Dan Rauch, Fish & Wildlife Biologist, District Department of the Environment
Nest at St. Elizabeth’s (from Tuesday). Photo credit: Dan Rauch, Fish & Wildlife Biologist, District Department of the Environment.
Nest at St. Elizabeth’s (from Tuesday). Photo credit: Dan Rauch, Fish & Wildlife Biologist, District Department of the Environment.
Nest at the National Arboretum. Photo credit: Dan Rauch, Fish & Wildlife Biologist, District Department of the Environment.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service flyover photo.  Credit:  Craig Koppie, U.S. Fish and Wildlife

WASHINGTON — Three eagle nests have now been spotted in the District and experts believe they all contain eaglets.

“Having three nesting pairs of eagles is pretty spectacular,” said Tommy Wells, director of the District Department of the Environment.

A U.S. Fish and Wildlife team flew over the nest on Friday hoping to catch a glimpse of the eaglets, but Wells said the eagles were on top of the nest. It isn’t an easy task, getting a glimpse in the nest from the sky. “You have to time your flyover in such a way that you actually see them (the eaglets) during one of these exercise periods or feeding periods,” he said.

The adult eagles have been seen bringing food to the nests, which is a good sign. The hope that each nest contains one to three young eagles.

Wells says a cleaner Anacostia River may be bringing the birds back into town, after 70 years without a nest in the District. “I am not saying the river is clean, but we have certainly made progress,” Wells said.

The first nest was spotted back in January at the National Arboretum, then one near the Metropolitan Police Department. In recent days, another active nest was spotted near the St. Elizabeth’s campus.

Wells says it could be another few weeks before the young eagles are seen popping up around the nest and eventually testing their ability to fly.

The eagle — the national bird — was once at risk of extinction, Wells noted. “To have this kind of rebound in Washington D.C. is really exciting,” he said.

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