Arlington, VA

As has become something of an annual occurrence, an eagle nest has again been spotted in or near Arlington’s Ft. Bennett Park, overlooking the Potomac.

Though we haven’t heard of any eaglet sightings so far, county naturalists believe the behavior of the eagles that have been tending the nest suggests there are, in fact, eggs or hatched chicks inside.

“I too have seen the eagle sitting on what are likely eggs (maybe newborn?) on the nest,” wrote Arlington County Natural Resources Manager Alonso Abugattas. “An eagle sitting on there for extended periods of time that would suggest eggs or newly hatched young.”

“The current nest [is] located in a Sycamore tree between the south-bound and north-bound lanes of the George Washington Parkway,” David Farner, manager of the county parks department’s Conservation and Interpretation Section, told ARLnow. “It’s difficult to tell at this point whether there are eggs or recently hatched chicks or how many. But the behavior of the adults would suggest that they do have eggs or chicks. It’ll be few more weeks before any chicks will be big enough to be seen in the nest.”

ARLnow first reported on an eagle nest in Ft. Bennett Park in 2011. There have been a number of subsequent nestings, including in 2012, 2016, 2017 and 2018, according to news reports and Farner’s recollection.

Other D.C. area eagles have also been in the spotlight this month. At D.C.’s National Arboretum, an eagle pair dubbed Mr. President and First Lady are being watched for signs of egg laying, WTOP reported today, while the pair known as Liberty and Justice had their nesting attempt end in disappointment when a raccoon climbed into their nest and dined on an egg.

Photo courtesy Jim Balick

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A pair of eagles and their eaglets have taken up residence along the GW Parkway, around Arlington’s Ft. Bennett Park northwest of Rosslyn.

Glenn Mai, a local resident who spotted the nest, said it is “viewable from Ft. Bennett Park” and “there are currently three chicks in the nest that can be seen with binoculars and/or a spotting scope.”

Another local spotted the nest late last month and has since posted several photos via Twitter.

This isn’t the first bald eagle sighting in the county, though most of Arlington’s bald eagles aren’t cruising around Clarendon.

Bald eagles, according to Cornell University’s Lab of Ornithology, build nests that are about five to six feet in diameter and two to four feet tall — making the nests the largest among birds. It can take up to three years for a pair of eagles to build a nest.

The Center for Conservation Biology keeps a map of eagle nests, as well as Chesapeake Bay herons, ospreys, and nightjars.

Photos courtesy of GM and MB/Flickr

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