Bald eagles are fascinating, but a concern at Belle Terre

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Editor and Publisher

LAPLACE – You don’t have to live in St. John Parish long to know that we are truly in the midst of the Louisiana swampland.

Signs of the outdoors are all around, with wildlife cited frequently, including from golfers at local courses who enjoy showing their friends the occasional alligators in the ponds where they play golf.

But Belle Terre Country Club Owner Tim Duhe has reported a somewhat unusual situation at his club which has been occurring lately, and while fascinating to see, has brought about a slight warning from the country club director.

With the Belle Terre Country Club course situated near some beautiful swampland and thick trees on the north side, there apparently has been several bald eagles which have found the ducks at the course an easy meal.

“We have been sitting in the clubhouse and seen these eagles swoop down right at the ponds outside, snatch up ducks, and take off,” he said. “At first we were just amazed, but now I think we need to at least warn people.”

Duhe said that his club pro recently saw a couple running across the course, and when he went out to see what was going on, was informed that an eagle had picked up their small dog and carried it off.

“These are beautiful birds, but people need to just be aware that they are right around us and they are quite powerful. They could carry off a small dog as we’ve seen, and they definitely have been enjoying some of the many ducks we have around here,” he said.

Duhe said that the golf course is a great “swooping zone” for the majestic birds, and he said you can see the eagles flying around almost any day, especially around dusk.

“The first time we saw it, the eagle came down and grabbed a big white duck, and then we saw it eating it out on the ninth green,” he said. “Another time the eagle actually landed inside our fenced in pool area.”

Duhe said that nothing can be done about the eagles since they are protected as endangered birds, so all he can do is warn people about them.

“They are beautiful birds, but they are flying pitbulls,” he said. “Their claw is as big as your fist.”

Duhe said the eagles are hardly the only wildlife he deals with at Belle Terre, which at times can be a problem. He said they recently had to remove a 10-foot alligator from a front pond, and pulled 13 gators out of the ponds last year since they were big enough to be a concern.