Radnor Lake Nature Center in Nashville Opens Eagle Aviary


Radnor Lake’s Aviary Education Center will have a Grand Opening Celebration on American Eagle Day, June 20, 2019.

If you live in the Nashville area, you probably know about the treasure that is Radnor Lake— a 1,402 acre Class II Natural Area. Four unpaved trails wander through the woods surrounding the lake, where hikers can enjoy wilderness native to Middle Tennessee, including river otters, beavers, mink, muskrat, bobcat, coyote and the white-tailed deer. Find out more about Radnor Lake!

Now, visitors can see the three new eagles at Radnor Lake State Park’s Barbara J. Mapp Aviary Education Center, which are finally ready to meet the public.

After months of park staff working to acclimate the eagles to their new environment, Radnor is hosting a free open house on June 20, American Eagle Day, where bird lovers can get at least a glimpse of the majestic creatures. Download the aviary brochure with map showing location.


“One of the long term goals has been to have captive Bald Eagles (that could not be released back into the wild due to their injuries) in the aviary where visitors could interact with them,” Radnor Park manager Steve Ward said. “The eagle is the top dog in the bird world,” he said, explaining they are the largest bird of prey in the southeast. “The eagles’ presence the past few years is an example of a better environmental balance at Radnor. The natural area’s ecosystem is the best it’s been in my lifetime, thanks to the efforts of many since 1973 to protect Radnor Lake,” Ward said.


Meet the Birds

Two eagles currently at the Radnor Lake Aviary came from the American Eagle Foundation.

“Talbot,” a partially flighted male Bald Eagle had a broken femur and arthritis. He came to Radnor in October from the American Eagle Foundation’s Eagle Mountain Sanctuary at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge and weighed 7 pounds, 6 ounces, Laura Sterbens from AEF is shown delivering Talbot to the flighted eagle aviary where he shares a home with a Bald Eagle from the Catalina Islands.

An immature female eagle was delivered to the Radnor Lake Aviary from the American Eagle Foundation in November 2016 and is shown here with Laura Sterbens. This eagle is gloved trained and Steve Ward at the Radnor Lake Aviary works with her every day.

Two eagles came from the Catalina Islands

A partially flighted female Bald Eagle came to the Radnor Lake Aviary from Catalina Island in California in December 2018. She has a shoulder and leg injury and weighs 10 pounds and is thought to be 22 or 23 years old.

The staff at Radnor Aviary is thrilled to welcome a Golden Eagle, also from Catalina Island. She is 14 years old, weighs 9 pounds 2 ounces, and is 14 years old. She is blind in her left eye.

The two Bald Eagles are housed in the park’s new $110,000 flighted aviary, a 38-foot-tall netted enclosure that gives the birds freedom of movement and protects them from other predatory wildlife within the natural area.

The Golden Eagle has its own enclosure, similar to the ones that serve as home to an immature Bald Eagle, a Great Horned Owl, a Black Vulture and a Red-Tailed Hawk.

What is American Eagle Day?

American Eagle Day is held on June 20th of each year, and every state in the union (except Alaska) has issued Proclamations to recognize and celebrate the comeback of our nation’s living symbol, the majestic Bald Eagle. It is also a good time to encourage people to do all they can to conserve and protect our environment and the creatures who share it with us.

To learn more about American Eagle Day in 2020, please visit

AEF Has Partnered With Radnor Lake For Many Years

The American Eagle Foundation’s Eagle Mountain Sanctuary at Dollywood is home to the largest collection of non-releasable Bald Eagles in the United States. Our mission is to provide the best care possible for eagles that cannot survive on their own in the wild due to a permanent disability. At times this means finding them a forever home at another facility in the country that can dedicate time and provide optimal care for these majestic creatures.

Several years ago, Steve Ward (Manager of the Radnor Lake State Natural Area of Nashville, TN), invited the American Eagle Foundation to partner with Radnor Lake to update their Bald Eagle display and to finalize the design of Radnor’s Bald Eagle aviary. Prior to this partnership, Steve had toured AEF’s facilities to get ideas for the Radnor Lake aviary. This interest was spurred by occasional signtings of Bald Eagles on the 80-acre lake surrounded by over 1,300 acres of adjacent State land that could potentially attract nesting.

AEF Eagle Consultant and retired TN Endangered Wildlife Coordinator Bob Hatcher provided the basic material and recent updates of the 3-year old eagle display. The display focuses on the chain of events leading up to Bald Eagle recovery efforts in Tennessee and milestones since. Hatcher and AEF provided on-site consultation concerning completion of the eagle aviary, and AEF agreed to transfer two non-releasable educational Bald Eagles to Radnor Lake after the aviary was completed.

Eagle Education Project

Top photo: panoramic view of Aviary Center at Radnor Lake;
Below (Left): Charley Hankla, Lester Turner (Friends of Radnor Lake); Al Cecere, Spencer Williams (American Eagle Foundation); Norm and Debby Miede (Barbara J. Mapp Foundation)
Below (Right): Charley Hankla (Friends of Radnor Lake) and AEF Consultant Bob Hatcher


Be Sure To Visit the Radnor Lake Aviary

The AEF congratulates Radnor Lake for this major accomplishment and the role they are playing in Bald Eagle conservation and environmental awareness.

Celebrate American Eagle Day this year by visiting the Radnor Lake State Park’s Barbara J. Mapp Aviary Education Center.