California Army National Guard Environmental Programs biologists chose this particular nest as it’s been used by bald eagles since at least 2003. Environmental Programs staff have employed a nest- monitoring program to document annual breeding activity and nest success since it’s discovery in 2003.
This nest and eagle pair are referred to as P-8 due to its location within the P-8 Training Area, however, the base staff affectionately refer to this nesting pair as “Ron and Nancy” in tribute to the former President and First Lady, President Ronald and Nancy Reagan. The massive nest is situated in a California sycamore tree adjacent to the Nacimiento River at Camp Roberts Training Base.
o The P-8 eagles generally start nest maintenance in late December/early January
o Egg laying usually occurs around late January/ early February
o Egg incubation period is generally about 35 days
o Hatching usually occurs in April
o Fledging gets started in late June
o Fledging occurs over a period of time (it takes practice to become proficient at flying); fledglings will hang around for approximately 6-8 weeks after leaving the nest and the parents will continue to provide for them
o The P-8 eagles predominantly eat fish from the Nacimiento River, but have been observed eating dead California ground squirrels (Otospermophilus beecheyi) as well.
o Incidental observation over the last 15 years appears to indicate that bald eagles at Camp Roberts are resident breeders. The P-8 pair reside at Camp Roberts all year long. o The Camp Roberts installation has become an import part of bald eagle conservation in Central California.
o Breeding bald eagles were extirpated in central California in the early 20th century, until Ventana Wildlife Society restored a breeding population, beginning with releases in 1986 of eagles bred elsewhere.
o Camp Roberts enlisted the aid of Ventana Wildlife Society to prepare a Bald Eagle Management Plan for installation shortly after a pair of bald eagles was discovered attempting to nest on the installation in 2003.
o Camp Roberts base staff actively work to protect eagles and their habitat. An indicator that we are doing a good job is that we have two resident pairs of nesting bald eagles and two pairs of resident golden eagles (one confirmed nesting, the other suspected to be nesting, however, the nest site is yet to be located).
o As a military installation, Camp Roberts is honored to support the perpetuation of our national symbol, and in doing so, both the public and the military mission benefits. A major benefit lays in the ability of our biologists to monitor and collect important data such as egg-laying times, chick development, fledging success, and more.
o Regarding the P-8 pair: in the time they have been nesting at Camp Roberts there have been only two years that they didn’t successfully breed. They normally produce two fledglings a year.