2014 Eagle Cam FAQs

Where is the nest?  The nest is in central Minnesota, USA on the edge of the Crow River.

Can I get more information about the nest?  The nest is approximately 75 feet in the air in a cottonwood tree.  Cottonwood tree's are very common for eagles to use as nesting habitat.  Our nest is approximately 7 X 6 feet in diameter and about 7 feet deep.  Each year eagles tend to add about 1 foot of nesting twigs, branches and debris for material and continue to grow the nest every year.

How did you get a camera in the tree?  When the eagles were away, we used a large lift truck to get us into the nesting tree without causing any destruction.  Then we mounted the camera and are using solar power to keep it running.

How much does a typical nest weigh?  Hundreds of pounds -- some record nests have weighed over 1000 pounds!

How big is an eagle nest?  Nests are refurbished each spring before the eggs are laid, but other material may be added after eggs are laid and even when the chicks are still in the nest. Nests therefore grow through the years. Most nests are about four feet wide and three feet’ or more deep. Nests can get so large that they often bring down the tree they are built in -- a record nest made it to twelve feet wide and fifteen feet tall and weighed over 1000 pounds!

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What do eagles eat?  Eagles will mainly eat fish, but will also hunt for their food such as rabbits, squirrels, snakes, frogs and other small creatures.  When forced, or during hard times, eagles are also excellent scavengers eating any dead animal it can find.

How far do eagles travel?  They stay around the nest, usually within several square miles of the nest sight. During the non-breeding season, they may travel from Canada to the Midwest US along the Mississippi.

When do the eagles lay their eggs?  Eagles in this particular part of Minnesota tend to lay their eggs some time around early March.

How long will they incubate the eggs after they lay them? Typically about 35 days after each egg has been laid.  Sometimes eggs may be laid a day or two apart resulting in one chick being the dominant chick of the hatch.

How many days are there between the laying of eggs?  The average time between egg laying can range from 2 - 4 days, and they will hatch out that many days apart if all goes well.

How many eggs do eagles usually have in one season?  The number of eggs can be from one to four, but most of the time the hen lays two eggs.

How long will the eaglets be in the nest after they are born?  Several weeks actually.  Eaglets will grow rapidly over a short amount of time and soon be the same size as the parents.  They will leave the nest typically during mid- to late summer and return to the nest until they finally are forced to move away from their parents.

How long do eagles live?  Eagles have lived in captivity for 48 years under ideal conditions; in the wild, this age may be cut in half.

Where do eagles typically nest?  Eagles usually build a nest about one-third of the way from the top of a “super-canopy” tree and near a lake or river. While most of Minnesota’s eagles nest in the northern part of the state, there are several active nests in the central and southern parts.  The number continues to grow with the rapid growth of the Bald Eagle population.

How can you tell the eagles are female?  While eagles can weight 7 - 17 lbs., the females weight 25% - 30% more than the males. The bald eagle females in this region typically weigh about 10-12 lbs.

How big are eagles?  Adult-sized eagles, depending on sex and age, will have a wingspan of six to eight feet. Females have larger wingspans than males and weigh approximately 30% more. First year birds have larger wingspans than older birds of the same sex because of their longer, “practice” feathers, which  make learning to fly easier. Eagles will weigh between 8-14 lbs. with a body length of 30” to 43”.

How long do they live?  Only about 50% first-year birds live. Studies have shown that only one in ten eagles make it to five years of age (adulthood). For those that do make it, their lifespan in the wild is usually between 20 – 30 years. Those in captivity can live 50+ years.

How fast can they fly?  Bald Eagles, flapping their wings, can sustain flight at about 35 miles per hour. When in a dive, eagles have been clocked at 100+ miles/hour. But truly, these birds are built to soar. The Bald Eagle takes full advantage of the thermals. They will ride one thermal to gain altitude, and then glide to another. Working with these natural columns of hot air, eagles conserve a great deal of energy.

Why do we have a camera on an eagle nest?  To give anybody and everybody a chance to enjoy mother nature in a completely un-interupted form.  To learn about America's national emblem and to watch what makes them so spectacular.  For classroom use in schools, for wildlife organizations and for personal enjoyment for those that care about our natural world.