Published in The Saratoga Sun by Madeline Weiss – October 21, 2015
Cor’s nest was not his first choice for an Eagle Scout project-originally, the 15-year-old wanted to build a guzzler for wildlife until he learned of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) need for an artificial eagle nest off Hwy 789. Cor’s project required permitting and working with the system in addition to the actual labor of building the nest. “I thought it was cool that we could build them (the eagles) a nest. That’s crazy,” Cor said. The BLM provided building specs and materials for the nest, which Cor assembled on his own.
On Friday, Cor, with his scoutmaster Cordell Hatch, younger brother Jackson and mother Jana, met up with Frank Blomquist and Sandy Taylor of the BLM to install the structure. The nest Cor built will replace a golden eagle nest that is currently limiting operations of a gravel pit. The intent of the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act protects the birds from being disturbed.
According to the Audobon Society, golden eagles typically nest on cliff ledges or large trees. Pairs, who may mate for life, work together to build their nest out of sticks, leaves, grass and moss and defend them. Pairs may have two or more alternate nest sites, and new materials are added each year. Cor’s nest will likely see one to three eggs if it is used.
Basic Energy had Jared Phillips and Ken Carlson bring a wooden pole, approximately 20 feet long, to the site on a truck so the structure could be erected. A base had to be constructed out of sage brush to attract the eagles to the spot and secured to the wooden cradle which sits on top of the nesting structure.
After a generator malfunction interfered with the use of the drill, the nesting center was attached to the pole, then dropped into the hole that was dug when the party arrived to the spot. With the help of Basic Energy’s equipment, the structure was brought to stand straight. Cor, evidently proud of his work, was amazed that he had built something so big, he said. Cor watched with concentration as the pole was brought straight up, then rushed over to help secure it in the ground.
After the erection of the new structure, the old nest was scattered. Cor, with his brother, scoutmaster and Frank, descended into the pit to push the old nest down.
According to Cor, the labor intensive project was important because it “made the eagles a home, and they didn’t have to live in a pit,” adding that it also helps the companies continue working. With this aspect of his Eagle project complete, all Cor has left is paperwork.