Feb 07 2014

Under Construction

Published by at 7:30 am under Birds of Prey,Nesting & Courtship

As you saw last weekend there are still crowds of bald eagles gathered along North America's rivers waiting for winter to end.  They can't go home and begin courting until the ice breaks up.

Meanwhile Pittsburgh's eagles have a head start on the nesting season because our rivers don't freeze over.  The pair at Hays has already progressed to the finer points of nest construction.  They finished the foundation (large sticks) and the bowl (small sticks) and are now working on the nest lining (soft grasses).  Sometimes they bring a fish and have a snack at the nest.  When the lining is complete, egg-laying won't be far away.

When you watch the Pittsburgh Hays eaglecam you'll notice how different eagles' habits are from peregrines' behavior.  Peregrines don't "build" a nest, they never use sticks or soft grasses, and they almost never eat at the nest unless they have young in it. This difference is driven by their food and habitat needs:  bald eagles eat fish and nest in trees near water, peregrines hunt birds on the wing and nest on cliff ledges.

Bald eagles also nest earlier than peregrines so watch the Pittsburgh Hays eaglecam for live updates.  If you miss the action, browse the archives here.


(bald eaglecam video by PixController, streaming provided by WildEarth)

One response so far

One Response to “Under Construction”

  1. Ken Andrewson 07 Feb 2014 at 9:37 am

    About a week ago in a local park here in NE Ohio I saw two red-tailed hawks on a nest that has been active the past few years. The hawks “snuggled”. That is the best way I can describe their behavior. One hawk flew away after a few minutes. The other one (I’m assuming the female) pulled at some of the sticks on the nest and then sat down in a few positions like it was incubating. So, I think these hawks are getting restless for spring, too.

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