Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content Bald eagles choose Fountain school campus for nest

KASSONDRA CLOOS Updated: March 22, 2013 at 12:00 am

A pair of bald eagles has nested at Fountain Valley School of Colorado, where residents of the private campus are eagerly waiting to see if eaglets appear.

The eagles settled in a tree over a pond on the school’s campus and have been there since Thanksgiving, according to one teacher who’s been paying close attention.

Mark Dillon is an art teacher who has lived on the boarding school’s campus for about 30 years. Dillon’s house is close to the eagles’ perch and he and his wife have watched them since they started building a nest.

“The first thing we do in the morning is get up and see what’s going on with the eagles,” Dillon said.

Bald eagles typically lay eggs in early Februrary, according to Diana Miller, director of the Nature and Raptor Center in Pueblo. Dillon said at least one eagle has stayed with the nest at all times for the past several weeks, indicating there may be eggs in the nest.

Miller said it usually takes about 35 days for eggs to hatch.

“If there’s an egg or two, the birds would be sitting on the nest nonstop,” she said. “Bald eagle pairs do take turns, so the female would sit for a few hours and the male would come in and trade with her.”

Fountain Valley School has been home to dozens of bird species over the years, said Jeanne Olive, a communication director at the school. One faculty member has counted more than 150 species of birds on the campus.

Dillon said he has seen bald eagles more frequently during the past few years, but he’s really enjoying having a front-row seat to this eagle family’s action. He can watch them from his couch, he said. He’s happy they’ve found his campus to be a satisfactory place to live.

“The first thing I thought of when they showed up, I was just really proud of the fact that they found Fountain Valley to be a safe place and a nice place to raise their family,” he said.

Bald eagles aren’t endangered or threatened anymore, Miller said, but they’re protected because of the symbolism they have for the United States. It’s against the law to harm, possess or kill them, she said, and none of their parts, including feathers, can be sold.

Bald eagles mate for life, and Dillon hopes Fountain Valley’s pair is there to stay.

“I’m just going to savor watching them do this thing for years to come,” he said.

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