Bald Eagles are territorial birds and most pairs return to the same nest site each year. It has been documented that there have been pairs that have used the same nest up to 35 years. For three seasons Mom & Dad successfully raised 7 eaglets in their first nest. Unfortunately, due to the bad weather and harsh winds after their third clutch fledged, their first nest basically fell apart sometime in the summer of 2020.
In September 2020 Mom & Dad found a new location close by to build their new nest. Nesting activity typically begins 30-90 days before the female lays eggs, but our eagles had a whole nest to build so they started in September 2020. They started building the structure together with large sticks as the base. We are not sure exactly as to all of the material that they used but nests are typically lined with sod, grass, moss, plant stalks, lichens or seaweed. We have watched them even bring pinecones in as a filler as well. Mom does most of the placement or directs Dad to the spot that needs some filling. Some photographers have watched the pair go quite a distance to find that perfect filling. It is quite amazing to watch them fly by a tree and without stopping just grab that perfect twig or filling and return with it back to their nest. From a distance we could sometimes watch them weave together sticks like craftsmen to fill in the cracks with malleable material such as grass and moss. Preparing for their eggs, Mom and Dad used softer grass-like material or feathers to form a soft cup-like center of the nest. This is where Mom laid her first egg on February 14, 2021. This part of the nest where she laid the eggs is called the bole.
Most nest sites typically include at least one perch with a clear view of the water, where they typically hunt. However, we notice that the Bald Eagles of Centerport often use their old nest site as a perch to oversee their territory since it is a bit taller. Throughout the year Mom & Dad will continue to renovate and rearrange their new nest based on the tree growth and any wind or storm damage.
EAGLE NEST FACTS: A Bald eagle's large nest is called an aerie. A typical nest will range from 1.8 to 3 meters (6-10 feet) in diameter and about 1.8 to 3 meters (6 to 10 feet) high. The nest cavity, where the eggs are laid, will be about 30 to 40 centimeters (12 to 16 inches) in diameter and about 10 centimeters (4 inches) deep.A bald eagle's nest is the largest of any bird in North America. The nest can be up to 13 feet deep, 8.2 feet wide and 1.1 tons in weight. In forested areas, bald eagles often select the tallest trees with limbs strong enough to support a nest that can weigh more than 1,000 pounds.