By Capt. Jason SweeneyJuly 21, 2017
CAMP ROBERTS, Calif. - Golden and bald eagles are not uncommon sights at Camp Roberts, a California National Guard training base on California's Central Coast. The majestic birds of prey can sometimes be seen soaring over training areas, roads and the Nacimiento River, which runs year-round through the camp.
During a drill weekend in July, a bald eagle flew in, perched on a telephone pole and oversaw the first formation of the garrison's headquarters and headquarters company, boosting morale and adding a patriotic atmosphere to the morning.
Camp Roberts is currently home to three nesting eagle pairs, which raised six eaglets over the 2017 season.
"The Nacimiento River is a constant water source and is a main attraction for the eagles," California Military Department Wildlife Biologist Michael Moore said. "These birds select an area they like and they like Camp Roberts."
Two of the nesting pairs are bald eagles, named Ron and Nancy and George and Martha. The third nesting pair are golden eagles that go by Kurt and Goldie. Two more golden eagles, a pair named Boris and Natasha, have been seen on the East Garrison, but a nest hasn't been located.
Biologists from the Camp Roberts Environmental Office keep an eye on the eagles and their nests over the nesting months. Both eagle species receive federal protection under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and are considered "fully protected birds" under California law.
According to Moore, the Cal Guard is legally obligated to ensure that activities on the camp do not adversely affect reproduction, foraging, roosting, or other behaviors of the eagles. Reducing the risks posed to eagles from training activities at Camp Roberts is a primary focus on the installation that reflects the importance of properly managing special status species in a manner that ensures continuation of the military mission.
Eagle monitoring and eagle buffer zones during the nesting months from January through August are used to minimize threats to the birds. Soldiers conducting training near nesting sites are briefed on the eagles and given maps that include the buffer zones.
Plans are in the works for an eagle cam to live stream from the eagle nests next year.