DALLAS - Bird lovers could only watch in shock after high winds knocked down a bald eagle's nest from a tree near White Rock Lake in east Dallas.
The nesting pair was seen flying around the area Tuesday and returning to the tree where their nest once was. The spot has become a popular bird watchers’ hangout over the last several months.
Brett Johnson, an urban biologist for the city of Dallas, confirmed a gust of wind caused the nest to come tumbling down. He said it was just too large for the limb it was on. Johnson said he and a city forester had been concerned the flimsy limb holding up the nest would collapse, as the tree was old.
"The limb that was under the nest failed. That was a concern that we've had for a while," Johnson said.
There was at least one egg that did not survive the fall. It was in the early stages of incubation, Johnson said.
Overnight, a state game warden removed the fallen nest so that it wouldn’t be picked apart for souvenirs.
Last week, a FOX 4 viewer shared pictures of the birds. They have called White Rock Lake their home since last year.
Wildlife experts said they took over a nest in that was abandoned and kept adding onto it.
"There was an old red-tailed hawk nest that was up there, and they just kind of took it over in October and started building off of it," Johnson said.
People have been watching them in the park near Lake Highlands Drive and Buckner Boulevard for several weeks.
The park was recently blocked off with barricades and fencing to protect the nest.
Johnson said he's fascinated by how well the eagles were adjusting to the park, given the road there and the number of people that were in the general area.
Residents, turned amateur bird watchers, stopped to gawk at a pair of bald eagles recently left nest-less.
"We get the chance to observe them. I think it highlights the animal kingdom. I think we need more of that," local bird watcher Joan Layden said. "We can also respect nature and maybe we'll respect it more watching them like this."
"It's not something you can see every day, so we're very sad what happened with their nest," local bird watcher Jennifer Mosquera said.
The city of Dallas put up a fence in the area to keep people at a distance. They'll keep the fence up for the time being to give the eagles a chance to decide what to do next.
A makeshift memorial began forming Wednesday along the edge of a fence that surrounds the area.
"I had just taken a shot of the nest and I looked up and immediately I just saw the eagles flying erratically. And I took a couple of shots of the trunk because I didn't know what happened and I looked back up for the nest and it was just gone. So when I moved closer I could tell. I could see where it had fallen. And for hours, until past sunset last night the eagles were just flying around frantically," said Heavenly Dew, a local bird watcher.
The experts said they will watch the eagles over the next few weeks and let nature take its course. They could rebuild or simply move somewhere else.
The eagles were seen flying around the area with branches in their talons Wednesday morning, but Johnson said it’s unclear what the eagles will do next.
"It's fairly late in the season for them to start trying to build a completely new nest," he explained.