About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Eagles reuse their nests

I live on Hood Canal in Seabeck, WA. The photo I attached was taken on our beach June 1, 2014. We have a breeding pair of eagles that remain here on the property all year. Last year they had two babies and I could swear they are still here or at least nearby. They will be a year January 2015.

We are on a migratory hunting route for Bald Eagles, hence the photo. My question is will our eagle pair use the same nest each year? I see their droppings and a piece of the nest fell so I could see what it is made of (very interesting) some folks down the road think that they are nesting in one of their trees. I still here them almost daily here but could they be moving their nesting location after all of these years?

Our pair are territorial when all the eagles show up in Spring. Our eagles do not let other eagles hunt from our trees, so they have to go to other people’s trees at night. I was just curious. I have many great photos of the eagles here, in case you are interested.   Ky

If an eagle's nest was successful they will probably reuse their nest. It just becomes larger each year as the eagles return to breed and add new nesting materials to shore up the old nest. Eventually, some nests reach sizes of more than 10 feet wide and can weigh several tons.

Both sexes bring materials to the nest, but the female is usually in charge. They weave together sticks and fill in the cracks with softer material such as grass, moss, or other soft plant materials. The inside of the nest is lined first with lichen or a fine woody material, then with downy feathers and sometimes sprigs of greenery.

Female Bald Eagles seem to be the ones who choose the territory and the nesting tree. Bald eagles mate for life, but when one dies, the survivor will not hesitate to accept a new mate. If the female that nested in your tree died, the male could have found a new mate and moved next door.

After fledging, young eagles stay near the nest for six to nine weeks practicing their ability to fly and hunt. Juveniles have to learn how to hunt by watching the parents and practicing. During this time, they seem to spend more time looking at prey than they do actually attacking it.

Until the first winter after they fledge, young eagles live near the nest are often still fed by their parents, but have little other interaction. Although a young eagle has the instincts to hunt, it lacks the skills. Eventually, they begin to soar, spot prey and hopefully survive and thrive for many years. 

Related Articles:
Bald Eagle Information http://t.co/o4ugzs2
Nesting Eagles http://t.co/vpj99ZV
Terrified Geese Have Eyes on the Sky http://t.co/pqsWQqE
Amazing moment bald eagle chases down and catches a starling in mid-air http://t.co/U3CT5Sh
Michigan DNRE asking drivers to watch out for bald eagles http://t.co/A9R33zI
A closer look at the National Bird of the USA http://goo.gl/tfpR9Y