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Bald eagles nesting in Palos Township forest preserve

Monday, April 16, 2012
Chicago Sun-Times
by Thomas Finn

In a rare event, a pair of bald eagles has established a nest in a cottonwood tree in the Palos Hills Forest Preserve in Palos Township, according to the Cook County Forest Preserve District and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Officials of the agencies said they believe the eaglets recently hatched. They said it will be several weeks before the eaglets can fly and that the two adult eagles will be hunting in the area to bring them food.

The nest is located about 500 yards north of 131st Street near Tampier Slough, between Wolf and Will-Cook roads.

Bald eagles have been migrating to the Chicago area in greater numbers, and some nests have been spotted in Cook County, but the Palos Township nest is thought to be the first nest within public view in more than a century.

To try to ensure the safety of the eagles, an endangered species, the forest preserve district and Fish and Wildlife Service are restricting public viewing to 131st Street, and forest preserve district police will monitor the site, according to the agencies.

Under federal law, interfering with the nesting of bald eagles is punishable by up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine ($200,000 for organizations), or both, for a first offense. Penalties increase for additional violations, and a second such violation is a felony.

The eagles are expected to remain at the nest during the summer, before migrating south in late autumn, officials said, adding that eagles generally return to the same nesting site each year.

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