Baby eagles nearly derail Kirkland Fourth of July celebration

KIRKLAND, Wash. -- Budget cuts have put many Fourth of July fireworks shows on the chopping block, but it wasn't money that threatened to snuff the fuse on Kirkand's annual show.

Instead, the show was nearly derailed by a pair of baby eagles.

Lake Washington is rich with different species of birds, and none are considered more majestic than the bald eagle. Two of the birds, thought to be about eight weeks old, were recently found near where the city launches its Fourth of July fireworks each year.

The Eastside Audubon Society stepped in to keep the gunpowder away from the eaglets.

"If the young eagles in the nest are frightened before they're ready to fly, one or both of them could end up on the ground before it's time," said Mary Brisson of the Audubon Society.

Brisson went right to the top and contacted Penny Sweet, who organizes the city's Independence Day celebration.

Sweet admits that learning about the eagles just two weeks before the celebration wasn't easy. She had to consult with the fireworks company that rents the barge to launch the fireworks from the water.

In the end, a compromise was reached that everyone seems to be happy with.

"We're moving the barge about 350 yards down the lake," Sweet said.

In addition to reducing the stress on the baby birds, the move will also reduce noise for nearby homeowners and create a better view for the estimated 10,000 people who watch the show.

"It'll actually broaden the show for the whole audience," Sweet said. "I think it's going to be a win win for everybody."

Members of the Eastside Audubon Society will be at Heritage Park on the fourth to monitor the eagles.