GRAND LAKE — A bald eagle nest located in a popular area near the Pensacola Dam has prompted Grand River Dam Authorities to close access to the area.

New activity was spotted in an established bald eagle nest which is in an area below the Pensacola Dam main spillway.

“This is the same nest that was established in 2020 and the nesting pair has been raising a baby bald eagle at this location each year since,” said Justin Alberty, GRDA spokesperson. “The GRDA Ecosystems and Watershed Management Department has been monitoring the area and recently confirmed activity in the nest again this year.”

The portion of the spillway area closed is a popular off-roading destination. The restricted area is approximately three-quarters of a mile south of the main spillway.

“Nesting area/no trespassing” signage designates the closure in that area as well as yellow perimeter tape and or orange fence barriers, he said.

For individuals interested in viewing the eagle activity below the dam, GRDA recommends doing so from the designated “Eagle Pass” area, located on the west side of the spillway channel.

Bald eagles will hunt small fish, often snatching them off the surface of the water or even stealing them from other birds. The best time to watch the birds feeding is early in the morning, Alberty said.

“We’re asking for the same type of great cooperation the public has shown in previous years, by giving the nest a wide berth and obeying the signage,” said Alberty. “In the past, that cooperation has been a big help in protecting the nest and allowing for shared usage between visitors and wildlife.”

Disturbing a nest is a violation of the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, which could result in a criminal fine of $100,000. Federal guidelines recommend closing access around nests to allow for a buffer zone of 330 to 660 feet between the nest and public access.