Sharp-eyed visitors to the Oregon Zoo have been noticing some impressive new animals lately. For the past week and a half, a pair of wild bald eagles has been perching among the tall Douglas firs of the zoo’s thickly forested Great Northwest area.
“They’ve been very visible and are making a lot of noise,” said zoo curator Tanya Paul. “They’re acting as though they nested here or somewhere nearby, which is exciting because we haven’t seen eagles nest this close to the zoo before.”
The two wild birds have the distinctive white heads and tails of adult bald eagles, which means they’re at least 4 or 5 years old — and also makes them easy to spot in the treetops or the skies.
Paul says bald eagles form strong pair bonds, and share in the raising of young. She speculates this pair may be caring for a recently fledged juvenile eagle that also has been seen nearby. If so, they could be sticking around through the summer, until their offspring is fully fledged and ready to make its own way in the world.
“These birds are talking a lot,” she said. “And they have definitely perched in places where they can see Jack and Reetah, the two bald eagles in our Eagle Canyon habitat.”
Both Jack and Reetah are rescue birds with injuries that left them unable to survive in the wild. The two can be distinguished from each other by their eyes: Reetah is missing her left eye and Jack is missing his right.
Metro, the regional government that operates the Oregon Zoo, has preserved and restored key habitat for bald eagles and other native animals through its voter-supported natural areas program, which helps provide the healthy ecosystem needed for wildlife to thrive.