Bald eagle at Lake Hood concerns pilots

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Anchorage, (KTUU) - A few days ago, pilots began noticing a large bald eagle near the end of the gravel runway near Lake Hood and it has them concerned about crossing paths in the air.

“I’m kind of worried about the incident that happened over in Birchwood that killed my ex-boss. He used to work with the FAA and I’m concerned somebody might fly into another one of these guys,” said flight instructor Rick Ruess with Arctic Flyers.

The National Transportation Safety Board determined a Cessna 172 hit an eagle last April before crashing and killing four people. Ruess believes in this case there’s a nest that should be removed.

“I kind of wish they’d do something with the tree that might remove the bird,” Ruess said.

Ruess pointed to a tall tree he estimated stood 200 feet from the runway as where the eagle likes to perch. Channel 2 did not see a nest, but a Turnagain resident in the area said the eagle had taken over a section of woods at the end of the runway.

“With my students anyway, I’m telling them that the eagle is there, to take a good look before they take off. If it is in the nest they might want to delay the takeoff,” said Ruess.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the airport has a permit to remove an eagle nest if it poses a safety risk and it’s on its property but the wooded area was outside the fenced Lake Hood runway.

In any case, the USDA recommends calling its Alaska Migratory Bird Permit office at 286-3693. It says its wildlife hazard mitigation program will begin soon.

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