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An Eagle’s Eye View: Protecting the Bald Eagle on a New Build Site

People build homes in incredible landscapes, like Kiawah Island, because they crave interaction with nature. And, at Camens Architectural Group, we’re always seeking the full integration of the outdoors with the indoors, often blurring the edges between the two.

But, sometimes, getting up close and personal with nature comes with some unexpected challenges.

Such is the case in a new custom home we’re designing next door to an interesting neighbor: the Bald Eagle. While all of chief architect Marc Camens’ designs are undeniably unique, this one carries another element of distinction with its location on a lot that’s shared by a Bald Eagle nest tree.

An Eagle’s Eye View

Several lots on Kiawah Island have the honor and privilege of being in close proximity to nesting sites of our national bird, the Bald Eagle, which gives a whole new meaning to an eagle’s eye view.

As part of his multidimensional design approach, Camens always visits each home site early in the design process to personally walk the land, witness the topography, see where the sun hits the earth, and visualize the surrounding views.

In this case, the site visit also included the scoping out of the eagle nest tree to determine just how this special shared neighbor would impact the placement of the designed home. 

Building With the Eagle in Mind

Kiawah Island has established Eagle Nest Buffer Zones to ensure the nearest homes are well-positioned away from the impacted eagle nest trees.

That’s part of the work done by Aaron Givens, Kiawah’s wildlife biologist. He spoke at length with the homeowners and with our team at Camens Architectural Group to ensure all were doing the right thing for the Bald Eagle in this case.

There are a number of compliance standards that can impact building timelines, as special care must be taken to avoid nest disturbance — especially during and around the nesting season.

For example: To protect the nest sites, exterior construction activity is not permitted during eagle nesting season (October 1 thru May 15) — or whenever eagles are present.

In addition, any interior construction activity during the eagle nesting season, or if eagles are present, must abide by a noise abatement program. No excessive or loud noises, exterior motorized equipment, or reverse indicator horns are permitted.

Construction within 50 feet of eagle nest trees is prohibited any time of the year. And exterior lighting and tree uplights must be placed so they do not shine onto the eagle nests.

Taking in Nature

Sharing this project with the Bald Eagle makes for an incredible if not complex process while designing around a whole new element of nature.  

Ultimately, it’s representative of our entire portfolio of custom homes, which all resonate with the natural world that surrounds them in one way or another.