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Posted In: Birding

Update: RVA bald eagle population expanding?

Andy Thompson

February 19, 2015 1:24pm

Two weeks ago, I posted pictures taken by a reader of a bald eagle seen in Bryan Park. Not only did that reader snap a couple of shots of the bird in Young’s Pond, but she said it swooped into her backyard nearby to nab a squirrel that was raiding her bird feeder. That’s a pretty handy predator to have around (assuming you don’t like squirrels at your bird feeder).

After writing about the Bryan Park eagle, I decided to take the kids and dogs out to Bryan Park to look for the bird. We didn’t have any luck, but I did receive a number of emails from readers who had seen it.

Liz Metzfield sent in the picture below. “I looped around and parked about 20 feet from him,” she wrote. “I didn’t get out of my car cause I didn’t want to spook him, but he didn’t seem to care at all about all the cars driving by.”

Liz Metzfield took this picture on Lakeside Ave. just two weeks ago.

Liz Metzfield took this picture on Lakeside Ave. just two weeks ago.

Given that the pic was taken on Lakeside Avenue, I’m assuming it’s the same bird that the original reader saw in nearby Bryan Park.

Then local architect Guylaine DesRosiers wrote to say that she and her husband first saw a couple of bald eagles “flying around Bellevue neighborhood while (we) were decorating our Christmas tree outside…We actually saw them flying in circle in the area north of Azalea Avenue and East of Chamberlayne Ave.”

So, if you find yourself in the Bryan Park/Bellevue/Lakeside area, keep your eyes on the sky. One or two bald eagles could be up their looking for a meal.

And in related news, another reader, Lauren Phipps, wrote that “another pair of eagles are working on building a new nest near Stony Point. The nest is within the city limits on the southeast bank of Bosher’s Dam,” she wrote, adding that “I believe they have another, older nest on the north bank just above the dam but they appear to be getting ready to move.”

(The above video was taken by Phipps from her nearby office.)

So, it’s possible (but not officially confirmed) we could have gone from having one nesting pair on Williams Island, to now having three nesting pairs of bald eagles in city limits. Very cool.


About Andy Thompson

I was the Outdoors Columnist at the Times-Dispatch from 2007 to 2013, writing twice a week about mountain biking, fishing, hunting, paddling and much more. I live a 1/4 mile from the James River, close enough to see bald eagles soaring over my house on their way to find a meal. Pretty cool, eh?