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Area near Deer Flat refuge closed due to bald eagles nesting

AP

Because a pair of bald eagles began nesting along the north shore of Lake Lowell, near the Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, the area around the nest closed Friday.

“Nesting eagles can be sensitive to disturbance,” said Refuge Manager Annette deKnijf in a news release. “Adults will sometimes abandon nests if frequently bothered. Even if they keep nesting, the eagles may leave when people come near. Such disturbance may increase the possibility of chicks dying from exposure or hunger if left alone too long or too often.”

While the area near the nest is closed, there are still great viewing opportunities. The nest can be seen from an observation platform on the hill west of the visitor center.

“Unfortunately the pair that nested near this location last year did not successfully raise young,” said deKnijf. “We ask the public to respect this closed area to help the eagles successfully raise young this year.”

Although eagles and their nests are very large and can be seen with the naked eye from a considerable distance, visitors should bring binoculars or a spotting scope for the best views.

The area will remain closed until the chicks leave the nest, probably in early July.

The closed area will be clearly marked with signs and the closed section of the path will be blocked with temporary flagging. Visitors are also reminded that dogs must be leashed on the refuge. Anyone within the closed area or with dogs off leash can be cited.

For more information, call 208-467-9278 or visit fws.gov/deerflat.

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