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Potter Park Zoo staff created viewing area to protect wild bald eagle nest

May 7th, 2015


Amy L. Morris, APR

Those wishing to see the nest are encouraged to use the viewing area and maintain a distance so as not to disturb the eagles

LANSING, MI – Potter Park Zoo has created a designated site for the public to get a great view of the wild bald eagle nest located in Potter Park. The nest has garnered much attention in the past few weeks and zoo staff worked in cooperation with the U.S Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) and Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR), along with assistance from Lansing and Ingham Parks and Recreation departments, to create a specific area for those wishing to take a peek at the first active bald eagle nest in Ingham County in over 100 years. 

There were several factors leading to establishment of the viewing site:

  • Demand — dozens of people are stopping daily to check out the nest and maybe catch a glimpse of the eagles.
  • This site, adjacent to the zoo parking lot bordering the Red Cedar River, gives a great sight line to the nest.
  • Security and safety for the eagles – The viewing area is a safe distance from the nest and will not create a disturbance to the nesting pair. It is an area that is patrolled 24/7 by Potter Park Zoo Public Safety officers.

While the vast majority of eagle observers have been as unobtrusive as possible, there have been reports of some incidences of behaviors which can be very disturbing to the eagles and could potentially cause them to abandon their nest.  Making loud noises such as honking of horns, flying drones nearby or getting physically close to the nest site by land or river – these are the kinds of things which can cause problems.  Eagles are protected from disturbance by both federal and state laws. 

“This is an opportunity to celebrate a conservation success story,” said Potter Park Zoo Director Sherrie Graham. “Bald eagles were one of the first species placed on the endangered species list when the Endangered Species Act was passed and now we have our nation’s symbol nesting in downtown Lansing. The recovery of this important species is a shining example of how we can identify the problems causing the decline of a species and use science, education and legal protection to help them recover.”

Eagle watchers who see anyone doing activities that may disturb the eagles should call Potter Park Zoo Public Safety at 517-230-3790.

Potter Park Zoo is located at 1301 S. Pennsylvania Ave. within Potter Park along the Red Cedar River in Lansing, Michigan.  The zoo is open daily year-round, winter hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call (517) 483-4222 or visit