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Interpretive Program

We are lucky to have a prodigious pair of bald eagles that call our state park (Folsom Lake SRA) their home. Mama and Papa, as our docents affectionately call them, have been actively monitored since 2017, and FOLFAN has been part of that effort! Given the popularity of the bald eagles, FOLFAN has broadened what started as a docent program into an interpretive program so that we can offer educational outreach to the public, teaching people of all ages about the eagles and helping those who want to see the eagles make informed decisions about how best to do so in a safe and respectful manner. The goal is to ensure the birds are not harmed or harassed, and that they continue to use their nest and raise healthy young. Our interpretive program includes:

  • Bald Eagle Guide: An informative overview of eagle biology, behavior, and development. The guide can be downloaded here.
  • Eagle Nest Cam: Our nest cam has become an invaluable tool for observation and learning! The camera is operational from approximately mid-November (during nest re-building) through July (until the fledglings leave the natal area). The live video can be found here. You may also be interested in viewing recorded videos on our YouTube channel. If so, go to YouTube, search for FOLFAN, and select the tab and videos you wish to view.
  • Bald Eagle Docent Program: This program includes two sub-components:
    1. Monitoring and park visitor engagement (from February trough July), and
    2. Designing and operating educational and interpretive material and programs. This will include an informational kiosk in the general area of the nest tree, a prominant bald eagle display (once we have a visitor/welcome center), and outreach and educational material for children, such as coloring books, junior ranger booklets, and a mobile exhibit to take to schools and community events.

About monitoring the bald eagles
The US Bureau of Reclamation, in compliance with their permit from US Fish and Wildlife Service, has an official monitor who watches the eagles and their nest throughout the nesting season – from nest reconstruction and courting beginning in November, to egg laying in February, through fledglings leaving the area in July. The monitor observes the behavior of the adults, as well as the developmental stages of the young and reports back to the Bureau. In support of this requirement, FOLFAN has a group of Bald Eagle Docents who provide support to the Bureau’s monitor from hatch (usually mid-March) through the fledglings leaving the area (usually mid-July). Until the fledge, our docents are stationed at the designated viewing area, approximately 400 feet from the nest. At that location, spotting scopes are set up so that visitors can see the adults and young “up close” without standing near the nest. Our docents answer questions about bald eagles and assist with gathering observational information about the eagles throughout the nesting season. Our docents have a brief training session before each season, with continuing education throughout the season. But most knowledge comes from volunteering at the viewing area and listening to our experienced docents answer questions (and asking your own questions!). Two- to three-hour docent shifts are typically offered three or four times a week, but there are no requirements for how often a docent must volunteer. Docents are free to sign up for shifts as frequently as their schedules allow. Once the fledge has occurred, and until the young leave the area, our docents join the Bureau’s monitor in walking various trails to observe the eagles at their favorite perches in and around the nest tree.

Next Steps

  • Learn about bald eagles! Start by reading our Bald Eagle Guide and observing our local bald eagles through our Eagle Nest Cam.
  • Become a bald eagle docent! Whether you come to the program with existing knowledge about eagles, or you want to learn, send an email to Eric Webb | EricW@folfan.org
  • Support the Bald Eagle Interpretive Program! You can do this by becoming a FOLFAN member today, or by making a donation to support our interpretivew program, or both!
  • If you are a photographer who would like to share your photos of the eagles on this
    website, please send an email to Eric Buell | EricB@folfan.org