Nature’s renewal unfolds

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Nesting eagles in Oconto appear to be waiting for eggs to hatch

Times Herald Photo by Warren Bluhm

Marie Rose and Dick Doeren, of Oconto, have been making the eagle’s nest near Breakwater Park part of their daily nature ride.

Photo by Dick Doeren

This bald eagle and its mate have taken up nesting on property owned by the Oconto Sportsman’s Club near Breakwater Park.

Few sights in nature are as exhilarating as a bald eagle soaring through the sky. For the past year, visitors to Oconto’s Breakwater Park have had an opportunity to see it every day.

In spring 2016, a pair of eagles built a nest in a tree in a swampy area on property owned by the Oconto Sportsman’s Club, not really accessible but very much viewable for people with a good pair of binoculars or a telephoto lens, like Dick Doeren and Marie Rose have.

The two nature lovers weren’t the first to spot to the nest, but they have led the effort to let area residents know what a rare treat is available, especially now that the eagles appear to be getting ready to greet young eaglets into the world.

“We come every day as nature lovers,” Doeren said. “A lot of people come and look.”

Doeren, a former alderman who has owned the Lumber Mill Gallery Framery and Local History Center for 20 years, has compiled a book of photos, with facts about this particular nest and eagles in general, that’s available for perusal at the nearby Dockside Restaurant. The loose-leaf book contains a lot of photos but also a great deal of background about eagles, which had almost vanished from Wisconsin before making a dramatic comeback in the last two decades.

Doeren started the “Oconto’s Eagle Nest” Facebook page to share what he knows and draw the community’s attention to what’s happening.

“It’s kind of unique. There are not a lot of places where you can see something like this unfold every day,” he said.

The site of the nest — a tall tree overlooking a watery, grassy area near where the Oconto River enters the bay of Green Bay — is an ideal site for the eagles, Doeren said.

“They built here because of the availability of food,” he said. “There are rats, muskrats, ducks, geese, fish — it’s right there for them.”

As noted on the Facebook page, construction of the nest continued into last fall, and the eagles made it 2 feet larger in January and February. They finished nest housekeeping in March, and it soon became clear they were tending to eggs.

The original estimate was that eaglets could appear as soon as last weekend, but that time has come and gone with the adult birds still in waiting mode.

As the big day approaches, people can expect to see more activity around the nest, signs the little ones are coming.

“We might be able to see their little heads pop up,” Rose said.

Doeren and Rose enjoy living close to nature and take a ride every day to see what they can see — sandhill cranes, egrets, geese, ducks and deer.

“This is our time of year,” Doeren said.

“The whole world is coming to life,” Rose said, completing the thought.