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‘It really is special’: 2 bald eagle chicks at White Rock Lake, Dallas officials confirm

City officials first became aware of the offspring in late March.

After more than two years featuring hope, heartbreak, perseverance and at least three different nests, the bald eagles at White Rock Lake are proud parents to two eaglets, city officials say.

In a news release Tuesday, the Dallas Park and Recreation Department confirmed the two eaglets are hatched and healthy. Brett Johnson, conservation manager for the city of Dallas, said officials became aware of the chicks in late March.

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“Since then, they’ve been growing pretty rapidly,” Johnson said. “It didn’t take long to go from, ‘We suspect there is one,’ to ‘Yep, we can definitely say there are two now.’”

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The bald eagles were first seen in late 2021 nesting by White Rock Lake, near the intersection of East Lake Highlands Drive and North Buckner Boulevard. Many in the city mourned in February 2022, when the bald eagle pair’s nest, along with their unhatched eggs, fell amid strong winds.

The young couple didn’t leave the area; they took over a hawk’s nest just a short distance from the first nest, near Lake Highlands Park. They, however, did not have any offspring that year.

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In October 2022, Johnson told The Dallas Morning News he had “little doubt” that the pair would stay in the area, and in late November 2022, city officials and people who had been regularly photographing the bald eagles reported the birds had built a third nest near Sunset Bay at White Rock Lake.

Around Valentine’s Day, Johnson said he and the city’s urban biologist noticed nesting behavior from the eagles,, near where they had made their second nest.

“We went two years in a row of them not successfully getting there, and you know people like to say ‘Third time is a charm,’” Johnson said. “Now we’re going to see how it works out through storm season into the summer.”

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Parts of the park have been fenced off to keep people at least 300 feet away from the nest location, Johnson said.

Although bald eagles have been removed from the federal list of threatened and endangered species, they are still protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, and the penalties for violating the law include a maximum of one year in prison and a $100,000 fine for individuals and $200,000 for organizations.

A second violation is considered a felony and carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison and fines of $250,000 for individuals and $500,000 for an organization, according to the fish and wildlife service. Bald eagles are also protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

So far, people have been respectful of boundaries, Johnson said.

“Anytime now, if they haven’t already — and I suspect they have — we’ll start seeing them start to get out on the tree limbs a little bit, flex their wings a little bit and they’ll be taking test flights here shortly,” Johnson said.

Since 2021, Royse City resident Chris Giblin, 50, has been photographing the bald eagles at White Rock Lake on the weekends.

Giblin said he had been anxious about the bald eagle chicks, as the pair had previously failed to produce offspring. He’s overjoyed to be able to watch the eaglets “flapping their wings like crazy.”

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The experience of watching the birds grow into parents has been an enlightening and inspirational, Giblin said. He has been sharing his photos and videos of the birds through different social media channels, including X and YouTube.

“You go out there early, even [Buckner Boulevard] is quiet, then you hear the birds, you hear an owl then maybe an eagle cry, all right here in east Dallas,” Giblin said. “I mean, it really is special.”

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