Hanover Bald Eagle Blog #3
December 21, 2018
HANOVER BALD EAGLE BLOG
pre-nesting behavior in bald eagles
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We love seeing Liberty and Freedom on the nest! Even after losing a small section of the nest due to suspected squirrel inhabitants, both Liberty and Freedom have continued rearranging materials. During nest construction, bald eagles interlock sticks to ensure the nest remains strong throughout the season. Nest building typically begins 1-3 months prior to laying, with both males and females participating. We can see this ourselves, as both Liberty and Freedom have both been active architects this week!
Choice of nesting material can vary by region, based on what is available. For example, in the Pacific Northwest, it’s not uncommon for nests to contain kelp and driftwood. Site choices also vary; in the South, most bald eagle nests are strategically placed to receive shade.
Even with a pre-existing nest, there are many housekeeping details for these expecting parents to consider. Is the nest strong enough to support the nestlings? Is it sheltered from the elements? Safe enough to keep the young safe from ground-dwelling predators like snakes? Easy to fly into? Good visibility? Naturally, with all these considerations, new parents can make mistakes. Therefore, it’s not uncommon for young eagles (2-4 years old) to create “practice nests,” even before they are physically ready to breed. As they say, better safe than sorry!
We do not yet know whether males or females select the nest site, but as far as we can tell, both Liberty and Freedom are committed to making this site their home for the season, and so far they’ve done an impressive construction job already! Let’s see what the next week brings.
Thank you Hawk Mountain for this week's blog entry!
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