Life History of the Bald Eagle

Bald eagles are predominantly fish eaters, which is why they build their nests and live near water and why they migrate to open water areas like the Upper Delaware region in the winter.

However, when times are tough, they are very opportunistic and will eat birds, small mammals and carrion (dead animals).

Bald eagles normally mate for life, but will secure other mates if one is lost.

Both partners are involved with nest building and feeding the young.

The nest can be almost 6 feet in diameter, 4 feet deep, and can weigh hundreds of pounds. It is added to each year.

Females lay 1-3 eggs and incubate them for 35 days.

The young remain in the nest for 3 months, and are fully grown when they fledge (fly from the nest).

By 5 months, the immature eagle leaves the nesting area.

Migratory immatures often return to the general vicinity (within 200 miles) of birth when they reach maturity and are ready to find a mate and build a nest.

An eagle reaches sexual maturity by about 5 years of age, at which time it acquires its mature plumage.

Last updated: February 26, 2015

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