So far, Twin Lakes eagles lay no eggs

Twin Lakes Eagles
Twin Lakes Eagles The Wichita Eagle

Hope and speculation continue to rise as the state's most photographed couple slip in and out of their high-rise house of sticks each day.

Any movement causes the clicks of cameras and appreciative murmurs.

They have been photographed eating, sitting and, well, engaged in their most intimate moments together.

Unruffled, the nesting pair of eagles at Twin Lakes go on about their business while the eagle paparazzi watch.

Each day, they appear undaunted by the thousands of cars whizzing past less than 125 yards away on Amidon near 21st, or the hundreds of ducks and geese calling and swimming near the base of their island tree house.

The eagles sometimes can be spotted from Twin Lakes Shopping Center's west parking lot just off Amidon. In all weather, the photographers are there.

"There are always people stopping to look at the nest," said Paul Griffin, a Wichita birder and photographer. He was one of the first to record the couple when they began building the nest last November.

Since then, as word has spread, it is not uncommon to see half a dozen cameras set up on tripods, aimed at the nest. Hundreds of cars have pulled into the parking lot and slowly driven past.

Wildlife specialists suspect the eagles are young because, as of Sunday, there was no evidence of eggs — or egg sitting.

"All I know is that for every day that passes I continue to wonder if it is going to happen this year," said Bob Gress, director of the Great Plains Nature Center. "It is not uncommon for young birds to go through the actions one year and not quite get their act together. I do know that there are other eagles in the area who are sitting on eggs. These guys keep trying. I keep thinking by now, they should be on eggs."

After the eggs are laid, one adult will almost always be in a prone position on the nest, according to Dan Mulhern, fish and wildlife biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Bob Herrington, one of the regulars at photographing the Twin Lakes eagles, said Sunday he had his doubts whether the couple will be able to produce young this spring.

"They have gone through the motions at least twice that we are aware of and nothing has come of it," Herrington said. "He keeps bringing sticks in and trying to impress her and trying to get her to come into the nest. She doesn't seem to want to go in there."

Mulhern said the majority of nesting eagles in Kansas tend to lay their eggs in February. Some have produced eggs as late as April.

"I'm not ready to give up on this pair," Mulhern said. "But I'd say if we get in to say past St. Patrick's Day, then, I'd begin to wonder about them."

So many people have expressed interest in the eagles that Gress erected a sign in the parking lot last week with information about the national bird.

He said the pair have been good ambassadors.

"You can pen birds up in cages and see them in zoos," he said, "but when you see them doing this in the wild, I think it elevates the whole thing that much better."