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Standley Lake eagle couple shacks up in new (old) nest, gets mystery holiday visitor

An eagle romance that started with controversy has settled into domestic bliss ... except for some snafus involving wind and an unwanted raccoon.

WESTMINSTER, Colo. — The eagle couple that made multiple headlines last spring for an attempted murder, scorned female, and a hot-and-heavy new romance is very much still on … so on that they’re seeing holiday visitors together and even considering starting a family of their own.

Eagle watchers have seen plenty of action on Standley Lake’s live cameras in recent weeks, and luckily, it’s been chronicled via the regional park’s incredible Facebook page.

Here's a brief recap, if you've been doing something these past few months other than breathlessly follow a love triangle involving some of the most patriotic members of the animal kingdom: 

- Two mother and father eagles with a nest full of eggs and bright future of domestic bliss were attacked by a "floater" eagle on April 6. 

- The mother eagle has not been publicly seen since, and the eggs never hatched. The father eagle, meanwhile, has found new romance with the very woman who tore apart his family. Since she's sticking around, the park named her F420.  In the video above, you'll see her referred to as a "nest wrecker." 

- The father eagle and F420 have been hot-and-heavy ever since, despite concerns that he might return to his "bachelor" ways and test the dating waters. 

In the ensuing months, the two eagles have defied expectations and built a new nest together. But tragedy struck just one day before Christmas Eve, when a windstorm snapped a branch on their new abode ... leaving prospects for future egg laying up in the air, per the Standley Lake Facebook page. 

But hope was not lost! These two eagles who found love in a hopeless place returned to their old nest. 

"Though this home isn't as nice as their last one, it might have to do!" Standley Lake Regional Park wrote on Facebook. 

The plot thickened on Christmas Eve, when a juvenile eagle joined the two paramours at their old nest just in time for the holidays. The park said the three snuggled side-by-side, and it's possible this latest eagle could be either one of their children or just a migratory bird camping out for the night. 

"Either way, F420 appeared to be welcoming," the park said on Facebook.

This gracious hostess and the man she quite literally fought for have remained in their old nest ever since, and wildlife managers are cautiously optimistic that this is where they will lay eggs when the time comes later this year. 

Unfortunately though, it's not all domestic bliss. One eagle-eyed eagle watcher captured video of a "mischievous raccoon" that visited the nest several times over the holidays. 

"While we might feel exasperated wondering what might happen next, it's important to remember that these eagles are formidable creatures and their instincts to protect their territory are strong," a Facebook post from Standley Lake Regional Park reads. "We remain optimistic about the future of egg laying at this nest." 

That's right: in addition to hope after a dismal 2020, 2021 could also bring the arrival of eaglets!

But what will happen next? Follow the Standley Lake Regional Park Facebook page for the latest updates in "How the Nest Turns" -- because if you read this much, you're clearly invested in the eagle saga. 

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