DALLAS, Texas — The secret is out: two bald eagles are nesting near the eastern shores of White Rock Lake, and many people are flocking to the area for a peek and photographs.
It's why the City of Dallas and Councilmember Paula Blackmon are taking extra steps to protect the birds' nest, which rest assured is high off the ground and away from people.
The birds, made up of a male and a female, have been spotted near White Rock Lake since October 2020.
While it's rare to spot a bald eagle in the heart of Dallas, it's not unheard of.
Bald eagles are present year-round throughout Texas as spring and fall migrants, breeders, or winter residents, per Texas Parks and Wildlife.
However, the area the birds chose to set up camp is unusual. WFAA won't disclose the exact address, but the nest is near a busy thoroughfare, two schools, and a hospital.
In other words, there's a lot of activity around the birds that we usually envision flying majestically through a forest.
The nest's location has been a well-kept secret among nature lovers and photographers, but Blackmon said more are figuring it out, and concerns are growing that someone may mess with the birds' nest.
A park near the birds is now closed, temporary fencing is set up near the parking lot of that park, and signs also indicate staying away from the area.
Blackmon said that a chain-link fence is expected to go up this week and that authorities are also stopping by to watch the area.
The eagles are federally protected. The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act prohibits anyone, without a permit issued by the secretary of the interior, from "taking" bald or golden eagles, including their parts*, nests, or eggs per the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The legislation also provides harsh criminal penalties for anyone who takes, possesses, sells, buys, offers to sell, transport, export, or import an eagle alive or dead or any part of a nest or egg.
A first-offense violation can result in a fine of $100,000 ($200,000 for organizations), imprisonment for one year, or both.
The criminal penalties increase for additional offenses, and a second violation is a felony.
Above all, Blackmon is urging those who go to the area to keep their distance and be respectful.
So far, there are no plans to relocate the birds.