Eagles & Sticks – It’s Nest Building Time!

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The beginning of Bald Eagle mating season also means it’s construction time on building or renovating their nest from last year.

These photos are from the past month of the Eagles that live across the cove from our property.  I cannot see the nest, but I know what ‘clump’ of loblolly pine trees it is in.

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Bald Eagle carrying nesting material

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Bald Eagle doing a fly-by to give me a closer shot, thanks!

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Another day, this time with a long stick.  If this is the same male as the last photos, he was probably told to up his game on stick size, eh?  😉

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Bald Eagle carrying a long stick

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And then there was the time, when one of them came up from behind, flying over and out in front of me, not only startling me but giving me a chance at these cool shots.

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Bald Eagle passing over and out in front of me

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Bald Eagle making the turn to head to the nest

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Bald Eagle climbing high over the trees to the tall loblolly pines where the nest is hidden

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Bald Eagles mate for life and build some of the largest nests in the world in tall trees near rivers, bays, and wetland areas.  About 60% of Eagle nests in the Chesapeake Bay region are located in mature loblolly pine trees at 80-110 feet above the ground.  Nests are made of sticks but also contain grass, pine needles, and sometimes pieces of cornstalks.  Eagles add to their nests each year, and after many years of successful nest building, their homes may grow to around 10 feet in diameter, 12 feet deep, with a weight of up to 2 tons.

Shot from a distance and heavily cropped, here’s one of the largest Eagle’s nests I’ve photographed, about 11 years ago on the Wye River on the Eastern Shore Maryland.  Yes, they do get big!

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Eagle nest 2010

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56 thoughts on “Eagles & Sticks – It’s Nest Building Time!

  1. Wow, Donna, this is really exciting! I am happy to see Bald Eagles now and again but to have a such a great opportunity to watch their nest and comings and goings is simply amazing.

  2. Amazing story of Eagles and so awesome photography 👌🌷🙏
    Eagles we call Divine birds 🦅 In Malaysia Langkawi island can see
    So many eagles ,we travelling boat in the sea and we keep chicken
    Skins and throw sea, so many eagles come and pick , there many big
    Eagles can see , mind blowing view 👍🏻🙏♥️😊

  3. Amazing! They seem to like getting their picture taken! I love the nest picture! I have never seen one in person before. Or maybe I have either way I do have a hard time spotting things! Thank you for sharing!

    • Thank you, Simon! Now if I could just see the nest. 😉 We driven over to the other side of the cove, looks like the trees are part of a big piece of property. I just can’t imagine having an Eagle nest on my property, I’d be in bird heaven for sure!

    • Wow, I’ve never heard of Eagle nests being handed down to their offspring. I’ve read Eagles are not able to recognize their offspring once they’ve completely fledged and left to go out on their own, like most other birds. Not true?

      • That is not true Donna. Eagles get the adage “Eagle Eye” for a reason. Yes,they can recognize their offspring. I always like to describe as the offspring (no matter how old) have a all time welcome pass to come around mum and dad. It doesn’t mean they will be welcome and they may get chased off If they are nesting but at least they won’t be attacked/killed.
        Any unrelated Eagle that tries to come into another eagles territory and perches is asking for death.
        Offspring can do this and they may even be allowed to eat once dad and mum are full. If dad is eating a fish and is full,he will fly off and allow the offspring to chow down.
        Eagles nests can weight many tons,but sooner or later they all come crashing down. Usually from a huge windstorm event.
        Romeo and Juliette have moved twice. Original nest had a rotten structure limb. It failed and so the nest slumped and eventually fell. They built a temporary nest for one year and then relocated to Beck island .Where they have a much higher nest.

    • Thank you, Sharon! I thought of you this morning when I read my e-bird alert of a Snowy Owl hanging out on a jetty on the Chester River (tributary of Chesapeake Bay) little over an hour from me. It’s over a mile from any public land to try to photography, teasing birders all day long yesterday.

  4. Wow! That is a huge nest and to imagine it might weigh as much as 2 tons, like having a car up in the tree. Those loblolly pines must be very strong with a stable root system. I love the pictures of the eagle with the twiggy branch flying over you — amazing!

  5. Gorgeous shots, Donna! How exciting to see them in action. We’re hoping our local eagle family continues to build in my friend’s backyard so we can all watch the process via Facebook. That nest got so hot last June with the huge heatwave that the eaglet fledged early and was rescued by a local raptor rescue org. There is a chance that the family may set up a new nest due to this heat issue. Thanks for sharing yours!

    • Thank you, Terri! It’ll be awesome to see the daily goings of an Eagle’s nest, fingers crossed they continue their home in your neighbor’s backyard. Oh my goodness, so glad to hear an eaglet was rescued! I don’t know how our large summer population of Osprey survive our July/August heat with their nest in wide open sun in a crowded nest. I feel for them every summer.

  6. Oh/ lucky you to have located an eagle’s nest! I managed to catch sight of a bald eagle flying over the river maybe ten years ago (before I moved down here). At first I thought the eagle was carrying a large snake. The branch he carried was longer than his wing span. Pretty impressive, so luckily I had enough sense and a spot to pull over and discovered where the construction was happening. Gave me a chance to observe several successful hatches… and fledges. These last years we’ve gone by the spot where the nest is, but the nest looks abandoned now. Perhaps too close to the road and too many folks figuring out where it was. 🥴

    • Thank you, Gunta! Eagles are so entertaining and of course beautiful. I’ve seen them carry big ole branches too, and with that load, you know for sure it is going straight ‘home’ to get rid of it, lol. I know of an abandoned Eagles nest too, it’s odd not another Eagle doesn’t take it over.

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