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KCBS Cover Story: Rare Peninsula Bald Eagles Draw Flocks Of Visitors

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A bald eagle tends to its chick. (US EPA)

File image of a bald eagle tending to its chick. (US EPA)

DougSovern20100908_KCBS_0208r Doug Sovern
Doug began his career as a copy boy at the New York Times, and then...
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SAN MATEO (KCBS) – Bay Area bird lovers are flocking to Crystal Springs Reservoir in San Mateo County, to see the Peninsula’s first nesting bald eagles in almost a century.

The pair is nesting in a tall Douglas fir on the shore of the reservoir. Visitors can see them from Skyline Boulevard, just off Black Mountain Road.

“It’s very exciting for us,” said Julie Mabel of Foster City. “You have to be patient though; you have to have the patience of a fisherman.”

Mabel and her husband Burt, are among those bringing their binoculars and telescopes to zoom in on the mother eagle, tending her nest.

“I did see her get up and kind of wiggle around, over the eggs I presume,” said Mabel.

The male is there, too, both with bright white heads and seven-foot wingspans.

Larry Caughlan, who used to rehabilitate injured wild eagles at the San Francisco Zoo said bald eagles may be common elsewhere, but not here.

“The last sighting of a bald eagle nest in San Mateo County was in 1915 in La Honda,” said Caughlan.

KCBS’ Doug Sovern Reports:

Caughlan has been watching these two visit Crystal Springs for the last couple of years, and figured the mild winter convinced them it was a good place to settle down.

Caughlan calls himself the “Eagle Whisperer” and has done yoga to heal hurt eagles, as videos on YouTube would attest to. Having these raptors nest at his favorite lake is the most exciting thing that’s ever happened to him, he said.

Caughlan can’t wait for those eggs to hatch. Eagles don’t leave their nest until they’re fully grown.

“These are going to be seven-foot winged chicks standing on that nest going, ‘Aw wow! I can’t wait to figure out how to fly,'” said Caughlan. “So they’re going to stand on that nest for quite awhile flapping their wings.”

The Audubon Society has volunteers on site on weekend mornings to help visitors spot, and appreciate, the San Mateo Eagles. The chicks could be born, any day now.

“That day that they fly I want to be here,” said Caughlan. “That would be something.”

Editor’s note: Finding the spot to view the nest may involve some effort, according to reporter Doug Sovern’s directions: “They should go to the Black Mountain Road exit off 280, go west to Skyline, turn left (south), and pull over in the gravel turnout on the right along the lake, just before the Kiewit Construction driveway (which is across the road). Look across the lake to the dead tree, they’re in the fir next to it. They should hope for someone who knows where they are to show up or already be there.”

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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