HARRAH, Okla. (KFOR) – While OG&E crews performed their normal duties during the coronavirus pandemic, officials say they also kept a close eye on some special creatures.
Officials say a pair of American bald eagles share a nest in a tree near OG&E’s power plant in Harrah.
In the past, the electric company has worked with Sutton Avian Research Center to observe the birds and their nest.
As COVID-19 spread across the globe, the property banned all visitors, including those researchers.
As a result, the research center trained OG&E Senior Envirochemist Jason Childress and Plant Chemist Bill Baack to record and share their observations of the eagles with the center.
“Jason and Bill essentially became an extension of our bald eagle survey team,” said Lena Larsson, executive director with the Sutton Center. “Citizen scientists are critical to our mission of bald eagle protection and monitoring, so training Jason and Bill to be our eyes on the ground was perfect.”
In February, Childress saw the female bird sitting on the nest for long periods of time.
“Based on feedback from the Sutton Center, we knew that she had laid at least one egg, or as many as three eggs,” Childress said.
As severe winter weather and dangerously low temperatures moved across the state, researchers were concerned that the eggs might not survive.
In late May, Childress and his team spotted three eagle chicks in the nest.
“That was an exciting moment for everyone,” said Childress. “We couldn’t believe that the eggs made it through that cold weather. It was a great example of the resilience of nature and for me it brought new meaning to our company’s motto: we energize life.”
In the last few weeks, the young birds have learned to fly and have left their nest.
“Jason and his team did a fantastic job, and we are grateful that they were able to make observations when we couldn’t access the property,” said Larsson. “Many thanks to OG&E for taking on this project and for embracing the importance of bald eagle conservation.”