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Apr 16, 2012




The five million residents of Cook County, Illinois have some new neighbors – a family of American Bald Eagles nesting in a cottonwood tree on Forest Preserve District of Cook County property in Southwest Suburban Palos Township. Officials from the Forest Preserve District and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have confirmed that a female bald eagle has been incubating eggs in the nest, and the eaglets are believed to have recently hatched.


While American Bald Eagles have been migrating through the Chicagoland area in larger numbers in recent years, and a number of bald eagle’s nests have been found in the County in the past, this is believed to be the first hatching site that the public has had visual access to in more than a century.


It will be several weeks before the fledglings begin to learn to fly and venture outside of the nest. In the meantime, the adult eagles will be hunting in the area to bring the hungry eaglets food.


If the nest is successful, the eagles are expected to remain in the nest for the summer season, eventually migrating further south in late autumn. Eagles generally return to the same nesting site year after year


“To have these American Bald Eagles, our county’s national symbol, choose to nest and lay eggs here in Cook County is incredible news for our local residents, and indeed for our nation as a whole,” said Forest Preserve District of Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle.


“The presence of the eagles is also a testament to the success that the Forest Preserve District of Cook County has had in fulfilling its mission of protecting and preserving our County’s natural lands. The fact that these eagles have returned to the area to nest demonstrates a healthy, diverse ecosystem in this area, and will have a positive impact on all of our wildlife,” Preckwinkle continued.


The Forest Preserve District of Cook County and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are taking steps to ensure the safety of this endangered species. Access to members of the public wishing to view the nest will be limited to approximately 500 yards in order to avoid disturbing the eagles. Forest Preserve District police will also be monitoring the site to ensure that all local, state and federal laws are followed.


According to the federal Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, interfering with the nesting of bald eagles may result in a fine of $100,000 ($200,000 for organizations), imprisonment for one year, or both, for a first offense. Penalties increase substantially for additional offenses, and a second violation of this Act is a felony.


The Forest Preserve District of Cook County will provide updates on the eagle through its website, Interested patrons are also encouraged to become fans of the District on Facebook and Twitter (@fpdcc). Plans for public information and viewing are also being considered for future years.


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About the Forest Preserve District of Cook County

Established in 1914, the Forest Preserve District of Cook County is the oldest and largest forest preserve system in the nation, maintaining more than 68,000 acres of open land for the education, pleasure and recreation of the public. The District strives to protect and restore the county’s diverse ecosystems, so all our unique native plants and animals can live and thrive. Each year, more than 40 million people use these lands and facilities to enjoy or study nature, bicycle, hike, fish, cross-country ski, picnic, golf, canoe, or simply relax in a large preserve that leaves urban life behind. For more information on the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, visit



Visit two of the treasures of the Forest Preserves of Cook County