Fireworks, Baby Eagles Don’t Mix Even On The Fourth Of July

Fireworks and baby eagles won’t be getting in each other’s way during the upcoming Fourth of July celebrations in the Seattle, Washington area, according to a heart-warming report in the Seattle TImes.

That’s the result of an agreement announced this week between the organizers of the annual Celebrate Kirkland! Fourth of July event and the members of the local Eastside Audubon Society. Kirkland is a suburban satellite to the east of Seattle.

As bird of prey watchers know, Bald Eagles like to return to the same nest site. It’s the third year in a row that the pair has nested in the same Douglas fir in Kirkland’s Heritage Park in the Seattle area.

This population of Bald Eagles nests in the summer, so the babies birds are still in the nest and not expected to be ready to fly until sometime in August.

To avoid noisy fireworks frightening the baby eagles out of the nest too soon, the barge that launches them will be moved 350 away from last year’s site. And it will produce fireworks that are more colorful, less noisy, and never aimed in the direction of the eagle nest.

A Reuters report added that it wasn’t just baby eagles who would benefit from the less noisy booms.

“That’s good for dogs and old people like me,” longtime Celebrate Kirkland! organizer Penny Sweet said.

In return, on the Fourth the Audubon Society members will have free spotting scopes set up for two hours in the park to give the public a look at the baby eagles.

In 2012, the birders asked that the barge be moved on July 3, which simply wasn’t enough time. Instead, the members had to stand watch around the nest to be ready to retrieve the baby eagle if it tried to fly too soon and fell out.

Fortunately, the bird was fine.

Despite this year’s move, Eastside Audubon Society members will again monitor the baby nest during the fireworks display, just to be sure. There are two baby eagles this year, and they’ve got to watch out for siblings shoving each other if they get too excited.

It sounds like everybody is working together to make sure that viewers of fireworks and baby eagles both have a great Fourth of July.

fireworks baby eagles nest
An adult Bald Eagle lands on the nest.

[Bald Eagle lands at nest photo credit: D. Scott Lipsey via photopin cc]

[fireworks by Jon Sullivan via Wikimedia]