New Eagle Nesting Spots in Northeast Tennessee
Once an endangered species, the bald eagle can now be seen frequently in Tennessee in the early spring. Bird watchers flock to the Reelfoot Lake area of West Tennessee in February, but the first recorded bald eagle sightings in Johnson and Carter counties occurred in 2013.
“To see a bald eagle for the first time is an experience you won’t soon forget,” says Farm Bureau member Paul Steven Schmees. In recent years, the birds have made a temporary habitat in the northeastern part of the state where he lives.
“The Cherokee National Forest and the clean, fresh waters of Watauga Lake teeming with fish are an inviting habitat for the eagle,” Schmees says. “The plentiful conifer trees are a favorite for nesting.”
The eagles arrive in the fall and build large nests called eyries. By late February, they have usually laid one to three eggs. The eaglets hatch in early April, grow to adult size in just six weeks and are ready to take flight after 12 weeks. However, they won’t have their distinctive white-feathered heads and tails for four to five years.