Spectators haven't scared off eagles yet

The eagles are still there.

They've built their nest on an island at Twin Lakes and lined it with soft material.

Though their presence has attracted birders, the eagles have not been scared off.

But you may not see them if you go to look.

"The birds are not hanging around the nest all the time," said Bob Gress, director of the Great Plains Nature Center. "They are away from it more than they are there. It's fairly normal."

It's the first time in memory that a pair of bald eagles have built a nest within Wichita's city limits. Wildlife officials confirmed the existence of the nest and birds shortly before Christmas.

The eagles sometimes can be seen from Twin Lakes shopping center's west parking lot just off Amidon. The birds have a wing span between 6 and 8 feet.

The birds seem to be somewhat comfortable with their nest site, even though it is close to the shopping center, apartment complex and major roads. The site also has what's important to the eagles — trees and water.

"After consultation with other wildlife officials, we decided it would be better for the birds to be exposed to the viewing public now while they can still make up their minds about the location," Gress said. "If there is too much disturbance, there is still time for them to move on to another nest if they find this location too much of a detriment."

It's too soon to know whether the eagles have mated or laid eggs, Gress said, although some birders have reported they have seen the birds mate.

"In spite of everybody looking, the birds are still there," he said. "Does it impact them to have that many people around? I kind of doubt it."

Typically, 75 percent of bald eagle eggs in Kansas are laid in February. Eggs have been produced as early as late December or January.

Other eagles have been observed along the Arkansas River in Wichita and Sedgwick County.

In late January, Gress said, wildlife officials will do a count of eagle nests in the area.

Related stories from Wichita Eagle