Bungalower readers recently reached out to us with reports of a bald eagle taking up residence in the center of Ivanhoe Village’s Alden Warehouse district. The cell tower located just behind the now former home of Thirsty Topher is known as a regular roosting spot for ospreys, but rarely bald eagles.
It also happens to be in the center of the upcoming Yard at Ivanhoe Village development. So we looked into it.
When we reached out to the developer of the Yard at Ivanhoe Village project, Inverlad Development, they informed us that they were aware of a roosting osprey pair that had been nesting there for a while. They had already hired an environmental specialist who was monitoring the nest and who would relocate the nest once the birds had moved on from the tower.
The City echoed the developer’s statement and the State’s Fish and Wildlife department had no record of an eagle nest being reported there.
We investigated ourselves but saw no record of an eagle nesting in the tower. The only proof we were given was the following photograph submitted to us by an anonymous neighbor.
We took the liberty of zooming in on the photo for you, but the quality is still less than ideal.
Right when we’d decided to start emailing the readers who had reached out to us about the eagle that they had been wrong and it was in fact an osprey, we were lucky enough to see a mature bald eagle dive into Lake Ivanhoe and fly off with a fish in the direction of the tower.
We sent some of our photos to experts at the Birds of Prey Center and local chapter of the Audubon Society for authentification. Bob Sanders, a field trip leader and instructor for Orange Audubon Society, confirmed that it is indeed an adult bald eagle.
We’ve reached out to Inverlad for a statement regarding the eagle’s presence and how it could affect their construction schedule but have yet to hear back. The development was expected to break ground either this weekend or early next week with the demolition of some of the warehouses on Alden which have already been fenced off.
The bald eagle is protected by both state and federal eagle laws. The Florida eagle rule, F.A.C. 68A-16.002, outlines that it is illegal to disturb or take an eagle in Florida. Disturb means:
To agitate or bother a bald or golden eagle to a degree that causes, or is likely to cause, based on the best scientific information available, 1) injury to an eagle, 2) a decrease in its productivity, by substantially interfering with normal breeding, feeding, or sheltering behavior, or 3) nest abandonment, by substantially interfering with normal breeding, feeding, or sheltering behavior. In addition to immediate impacts, this definition also covers impacts that result from human caused alterations initiated around a previously used nest site during a time when eagles are not present, if, upon the eagle=s return, such alterations agitate or bother an eagle to a degree that injures an eagle or substantially interferes with normal breeding, feeding, or sheltering habits and causes, or is likely to cause, a loss of productivity or nest abandonment.
Lake Formosa, right next door to the tower and the impending development project, is also home to the wood stork, another threatened species. Recently removed from the Endangered Species list, the wood stork has been downgraded to Threatened as its numbers have been slowly increasing.
Most developments must complete an Environmental Assessment before being allowed to break ground, but according to the City of Orlando the subject property is designated as an “Urbanized Disturbed Land” and according to the Public Information Office, “Per the City’s Comprehensive Plan, lands lying within urbanized disturbed areas are exempt from the requirements of requiring Environmental Assessments. The City does not regulate threatened or endangered species, that is the role of the state and federal government.”