Bald eagles make themselves at home in Viera


A bald eagle rests on a branch near its nest in Viera.


A massive bald eagle’s nest in an old pine tree is a familiar site to many Viera residents who walk or cycle across the Viera Boulevard overpass.

The nest, situated in a large pine tree to the northeast of Viera Boulevard and I-95, has been an important consideration in the planning of the new diverging diamond interchange (DDI). Per U.S. Fish and Wildlife regulations, a consultant is monitoring the site to ensure the nest and its inhabitants, a pair of bald eagles, are protected during construction of the DDI.

“Eagles will return to their nests year after year (if conditions are favorable),” said local birding expert Jim Eager.

An ongoing 330-feet buffer must be maintained between the bald eagle’s nest and construction. Additionally, construction activity closer than 660 feet to the nest is limited to outside the nesting season.

"Bald eagle nesting season is from Oct. 1 through May 15, Eager said. “I would guess within a couple of weeks they (the adult eagles) will be getting ready to lay eggs," Eager said.

Bald eagles mate for life and can live 20 to 30 years. The much-loved birds are protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (Eagle Act). The Eagle Act prohibits anyone from taking or disturbing bald eagles and their nests.

Bald eagles will constantly add to their nests if undisturbed, Eager said, adding that some nests have weighed more than a ton