Orv and Willa, the two adult bald eagles that made a home in Carillon Historical Park earlier this year, have returned to their nest.
Jim Weller, founder of Eastwood Eagle Watchers, said the pair returned the first day of fall.
“It’s all triggered by the length of the days. It was like someone flipped a switch,” Weller said. “All of a sudden Orv and Willa were side by side right with each other and in and out of the park.”
Weller has kept watch and photographed the pair as they’ve spent hours rebuilding and expanding their nest perched above Wright Hall.
It’s rare for eagles to choose a public space to nest and there were no guarantees the bonded pair would return to the park.
“I was happy they came back. That’s what they are supposed to do but they are wild creatures and they can do whatever they want,” Weller said. “They’re an eagle. Who’s going to argue with them?”
Earlier in the year eagle enthusiasts kept an eye on the pair who hatched two eaglets in April. One eaglet disappeared in June but visitors to the park were able to watch the remaining eaglet, dubbed Flyer, as he exercised and strengthened his wings in preparation for his first flight.
Devastating news came on July 22, five-days after Flyer fledged from the nest. The eaglet flew into a delivery truck while attempting to cross Interstate 75 and died.
Orv and Willa kept vigil for two weeks along the banks of the Great Miami River, the last place they saw their baby.
“Mom and Dad would come back and stay in the trees around there and just sit and wait for it to come flying in. It was really sad to watch,” Weller said.
“They have no idea what happened to it but now they’re back and the instincts have kicked in to start the whole process over again. The mourning period is behind them.”
Orv has been flying sticks through the park to Willa who has been organizing the nest, “sort of setting up house,” Weller said. “They were tapping their beaks together, sort of eagle kissing. They were showing affection toward each other.”
Weller said as time goes on, the pair will be seen more frequently in the park. Activity will pick up later in the fall and winter and as the leaves fall off the trees, it will be easier to observe the pair. He expects eggs will be in the nest in February.
“It’s exciting to see them come back, and to come back healthy, vibrant and close together,” Weller said.