LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A Lufkin woman has discovered the magnificence of the US national bird at a Lufkin park.
Allison Maxwell said she took the photos of the bird at the Ellen Trout Park, near the pond.
The eagle pair has at least one eaglet in the nest.
Eagle sightings have picked up around East Texas in recent years, following the federal government's attempts to protect the species over the last 50 years, according to baldeagleinfo.com.
According to Ellen Trout Zoo Director Gordon Henley, the eagles have made Lufkin their winter home since 2007 and lay a nest every year.
"They just showed up one day. We walked out and saw an eagle sitting in a tree."
Zoo employees marvel at their neighbors.
"Nesting here, they've moved kind of away, maybe where other eagles already had territory set up for nesting," said zoo curator Celia Falzone. "And, they found their spot here, and they can fish in our lake."
But they're not all that easy to access.
The couple and their eaglet have nestled themselves high in a tree -- more than 30 feet in the air.
"That's good for them because it gives them privacy and they're able to raise their young there," Henley said.
Zoo officials believe this family is migratory, unlike the eagles at Lake Sam Rayburn that stay year-round.
"So, when you get into the real part of the summer, you don't see them very often, especially right here," Falzone said. "You might see them in some other areas, but right here at the lake, we typically see these guys fall and winter."
And the birds don't have to worry about anyone bothering them.
"They're wild," Henley said. "And, they just live here. And, they're protected by Federal law under the Bald Eagle Protection Act."
The law also says the birds can't be taken into captivity unless they are proven that they wouldn't survive in the wild.
The law was created to protect the birds as they were an endangered species years ago.
Now, they're classified as threatened species.
"They've been able to recover very well," Henley said. "And, the reality of it and another excellent story for how people can protect wildlife and bring it back."
Zoo officials hope the birds will continue to visit for years to come.