Raptors - Sounds Wild
Eagle Nest


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Eagle Nest

On a rainy southeast Alaska afternoon, I've taken some friends to see an eagle nest near my house in Juneau. The nest is 75 feet up in a broken-top spruce tree and has been used every year for the past 15 years. Since it's on a slope, we hike uphill from it and look down into it. On this afternoon in early August, a raven-size chick is sitting on the edge of the nest, with an adult perched on a branch nearby. The big chick can't fly but stretches and flaps its wings every few minutes. The adult breaks into its chirping call and is answered by its mate returning to the nest with food. I've assumed the same pair of eagles has used the nest for years, but I have no way of knowing. But every spring a pair of adults raises a brood of eaglets here.

The female sits on eggs in April and May, periodically fussing with the nesting material, and around early June she starts perching on the side of the nest, indicating the eggs have likely hatched. Soon the dark chicks are visible and by mid-July they are often sitting on the edge of the nest. About this time one or two disappear. I've can't recall the pair ever fledging more than one chick, because eagle chicks will often kill their smaller siblings. In late August the giant brown chick - now the size of an adult - will fledge and the nest will be empty until next spring.