March 24, 2011 —
With the first sign of spring comes time for year-round resident birds to repair nests or build new ones in preparation for a new breeding season. For our resident eagles, that work has already begun over the course of the winter, and as of the beginning of March, a few pairs have already started to incubate eggs. Once incubation has started, the adults will share this duty until the eggs hatch about 35 days later. Rearing the young takes another 12 weeks or so until they are ready to fledge.
Eagles typically use the same nests year after year, but the rigors of this past winter’s weather have caused some trees or nests to blow down. When this happens, the eagle pair will try to find another large super-canopy tree where they can build their nest (eyrie) 90 feet or so off the ground. Most of the nest trees in the Upper Delaware corridor are of the species Eastern white pine.
If you see a nest, please give it wide berth. Eagles are protected by state and federal laws, and they are most sensitive to disturbance during this time. There are a few organizations that enable people to view nesting eagles from a safe distance. Among them is the Bashakill Area Association at www.thebashakill.org/events.htm .