Bald eagles make home in unusual spot at Alameda golf course

A pair of bald eagles have decided on Alameda as their next home.

The birds have been building their nest over the last couple of months in an unlikely spot as the community around them watches in awe. 

The eagles chose a tree above the maintenance shed in the middle of the Corica Park Golf Course.

Rick Lewis, a Bay Area photographer, has been tracking them from the beginning. He said he was surprised they chose a tree next to the maintenance area, where work crews go back and forth on golf carts. But so far the birds seem undisturbed.

"They seem to be completely unfazed by the ground activity" said Lewis as he watched the eagles sitting upright in their nest on Saturday.

Lewis has been watching their nest for the last 60 days or so and has over 1,000 pictures of the majestic creatures. He said the female of the pair has very distinct features: a black dot in the bottom of her right eye and a missing nail. 

"There's a little love pecking going on right now." Lewis said as he watched them above, adding he sees 'incubating posture' from the birds. 

The tree the eagles chose to nest is the middle one pictured here. The nest is in the upper right portion. Photo taken Feb. 25, 2023

Rick Lewis, Umesh Patel, and Vinny Paul watch the eagles in their nest at Alameda's Corica Park Golf Course on Feb. 25, 2023.

KTVU met up with Lewis, as well as Umesh Patel, majority owner of Greenway Golf, the management company for Corica Park Golf Course, and Superintendent Vinny Paul at the course Saturday.

Patel said he is thrilled and honored the eagles chose the golf course as their home.

"Since golf courses exist within natural habitats, it is our responsibility to help preserve this delicate ecosystem through sound environmental practices," said Patel. "The return of these spectacular animals is awe-inspiring to everyone that works here, to everyone that visits Corica Park. It makes us feel like we are doing something right."

And now that the word is out, people around town are looking for the birds as they go about their regular day or play a round of golf. 

Over the last few weeks, groups of people can be found gathered at Island Drive and Robert Davey Junior Drive with binoculars and cameras, tracking the eagles.

Alameda resident Dara Sue was out walking Wednesday morning when she spotted them on the beach. 

"I was so surprised to see them near the water since I’ve been looking for them mostly near the golf course," said Sue. "They were beautiful!"

The first sightings of the pair were a few months ago, according to Lewis. 

Late December, Lewis spotted one of them at Martin Luther King Park harassing ducks, then it flew towards Alameda. He said he walked for hours hoping to spot it again, and a few days later, he saw a pair overhead on Bay Farm Island.

"They flew into a tree, and I realized that they were slowly growing a nest," said Lewis.

Alameda resident Dara Sue spotted the bald eagles during a morning walk on Feb. 23, 2023.

Alameda's male bald eagle incoming with sticks. Photo credit: Rick Lewis

Alameda's bald eagles (female on left). Photo credit: Rick Lewis

Alameda's bald eagles (male on left). Photo credit: Rick Lewis

According to Lewis, a bald eagle's nest can be as large as 8 feet across and 2,000 pounds. The nest in Alameda will likely not be that large, Lewis explained, since the tree would not be able to sustain it. 

"They wouldn't be here unless they were comfortable and had the resources to live," said Lewis.

But even though that particular tree might not be the typical spot for a nest, the golf course is a perfect spot for other reasons. Lewis said it's somewhat lucky because the public won't pass regularly and disturb them. It's also a good location because of the proximity to the airport, he explained, and the fact that drones can't be flown in the area.

In 2021, a drone disrupted an eagles nest in a eucalyptus tree at Fremont's Ardenwood Farm, displacing the birds temporarily, according to officials. Lewis said it was lucky those birds came back to the nest.

Although bald eagles are no longer on the federal endangered species list, they are still on California's endangered list and have other federal protections.

"It still falls under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act," said Doug Bell, the wildlife program manager at the East Bay Regional Park District. Violators can face a fine of up to $100,000 and one year in jail, he said.

If the eagles decide to make Alameda a permanent residence, the city will join a short list of Bay Area locations with bald eagle nests. 

"Fingers crossed we will see eggs and babies at the end of all this," said Lewis.

Sara Sedillo is a reporter for KTVU. Email Sara at