Bald eagles around the country are raising young this spring and people watching them, in person or via live-cams, might wonder just how large are those nests?
An answer is provided in a photograph making the rounds via social media, showing a ranger sitting in a replica nest measuring five feet wide and three feet deep. Those are the approximate dimensions of a four-person hot tub.
The photo was originally shared last year by Forest Park Nature Center in Illinois. The Facebook post states that the replica nest is housed at Hueston Woods State Park in Ohio.
But bald eagle nests can be much larger. The Forest Park Nature Center explained that the largest recorded nest “measured 9.5 feet in diameter, 20 feet deep, and weighed almost 6,000 pounds!”
That nest, according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, was constructed by eagles in St. Petersburg, Fla. The lab’s “All About Birds” website states: “Another famous nest — in Vermilion, Ohio — was shaped like a wine glass and weighed almost two metric tons. It was used for 34 years until the tree blew down.”
Nests are typically built in the tallest conifers near their sturdy trunks. While both parents construct a nest, the female is said to perform most of the placement of branches, twigs, and soft materials.
Eaglets, after they fledge, generally spend about four years in “nomadic exploration of vast territories” and can fly hundreds of miles per day. Immature bald eagles born in California, for example, have traveled as far north as Alaska.