A Tennessee golf club is home to two nesting bald eagles
Pair named Elliott and Eloise recently joined by two eaglets
Eagle Cam set up in 2012 has been viewed by nearly one million worldwide
Course has been recipient of several environmental awards
Eagles may be thin on the ground for most golfers at the Bear Trace course at Harrison Bay. But up in the treetops, it’s a different matter.
Bald eagles Elliott and Eloise have been par for the course at the Tennessee club for the past three and a half years, scoring highly with both local and global audiences thanks to a camera installed by their nest in a pine tree behind the 10th green.
“The eagles came in and started building a nest in December 2010,” explains golf course superintendent Paul Carter.
“The first year they had two eaglets and both fledged successfully. We were just watching them from the ground not really knowing what was going on until about mid-May when two black heads popped up out of the nest.”
The discovery prompted Carter to install an Eagle Cam which has been live since early 2012. This year, the pair – who were given their names by Carter’s daughter – welcomed two more eaglets who go by the more functional names of HB5 and HB6.
Bald eagles were once on the U.S. endangered species list, but numbers of the nation’s symbol have risen since the government banned the pesticide DDT – which contaminated the birds’ food sources.
The wingspans of the female eagles, which are larger than the males, can be up to eight feet.
“Tennessee has had some good success with its eagle population, but this is the only one on a golf course that I know of. We are trying to show that golf courses can be a sustainable habitat for wildlife,” Carter told CNN ahead of Earth Day – an initiative started in 1970 aimed at improving the world’s environment, and marked globally this year on April 22.
Bear Trace’s round-the-clock live feed has received almost a million views to date. The virtual presence has also helped business at the club.
“I’ve been in the pro shop several times and people come in and ask which hole Eagle Cam is on,” Carter says. “We’ve definitely had a considerable amount of play off it.”
The project is one of many environmentally-minded measures Carter and his colleagues have tended to in recent years.
“It’s not just about how we mow the grass or what fertilizer we’re putting down. We have an education center which has environmental information, awards and pictures of the course,” he says.
Carter, who also writes about environmental improvements on a blog and gives talks, was recently recognized for his green leadership.