Nature has become a big hit at Chattanooga area golf course
Several years ago people began noticing an addition to the wildlife often seen at Bear Trace Golf Course. Two bald eagles could be spotted flying over the course where they built a nest.
Several years ago people began noticing an addition to the wildlife often seen at Bear Trace Golf Course. Two bald eagles could be spotted flying over the course where they built a nest. They started building their home here in late 2010. Ever since, they've become a big part of Bear Trace and a big part of the community.
"Having the eagles here is a good tribute to everything that we do here at the golf course environmentally. We try to split our time 50% between golf course maintenance, 50% between environmental stewardship," says course superintendent Paul Carter.
The course is operated by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), so Carter and his staff are involved in other projects such as installing mallard duck nesting tubes and wood duck boxes, and expanding native grasses. However, the eagles have attracted the most attention from golfers.
"The first thing they ask isn't where the driving range or number one tee is, it's where's the eagle's nest," adds Carter. He says the eagles feeling safe raising their young here is a "stamp of approval" on the work the staff does.
Collin Self hits the links often at Bear Trace and has seen the eagles a few times.
"A lot of people probably come just to see the wildlife, and especially the eagle's nest. It's pretty cool," says Self.
The adult eagles, Elliott and Eloise, were named by Carter's daughter. They built their nest 110 feet up a pine tree near the 10th green and 12 eaglets have hatched in the past seven years.
Through community support, Carter installed a camera in the tree in 2011 to capture the sights and sounds of the eagles up close. The eagle cam has become a big hit and, according to Carter, is the first one at a golf course in the U.S. In 2017 the web site received more than a million individual hits from 68 countries.
"I guess when you watch them for that long and you see them raise their family and go through the struggles and trials of life, you start to put emotions with them," says Carter.
This proved true after Eloise died from an injury to one of her wings in mid-January. It's mating season, so Elliott has found a new partner, Eliza. Well, actually she found him for a second time. Eliza forced Eloise away from the nest for a while in 2016 and has swooped back in to reclaim her spot.
The cause of Eloise's death is under investigation. Carter expects two eaglets to be hatched this year and says Eliza will probably lay the eggs during the first week of February.
Shortly after this story aired Carter informed Channel 3 that another new female has come to the nest. Information on a blue band on her foot indicates she was banded in New York state in March of 2013. Carter isn't sure where Eliza is.
Stay updated and watch the eagles live! | Harrison Bay Eagle Cam