Eagles flying high at refuge: Eleven nests are active this spring
by Joni Astrup
There are 11 active bald eagle nests this spring at Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge near Zimmerman. That’s a record, according to Betsy Beneke, the refuge’s visitor services manager.
Two of the nests are along the Prairie’s Edge Wildlife Drive. One is at Bergerson Pool and one at Stickney Pool.
“The Stickney nest is very close to the road, and we ask visitors to stay in their vehicles while viewing this nest, to minimize disturbance to the birds,” Beneke said. The eaglets hatched about the third week of April. However, they may not become visible for another few weeks, because the nest is deep and the young aren’t big enough yet, she said.
The seven-mile Wildlife Drive opened to the public for the season on April 23. It is open during daylight hours, seven days a week, through fall. The entrance is located 1.2 miles north of Orrock, on Sherburne County Road 5.
Bald eagles have been nesting at the refuge since 1983, when there was one active nest. Two eaglets “fledged” or left the nest that year.
The number of active nests has climbed gradually over the years. Between 1983 and 2010, a total of 164 eaglets fledged from nests on the refuge. The largest number — 15 — fledged in 2006. Last year seven eaglets fledged.
For more information about the refuge, go to www.fws.gov/midwest/sherburne/