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All About Nests

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Bob - great question!  Though I've looked in a few books, I am not finding the direct answer quite yet.  I'm sure Finn and jfrancl will comment on this.  I am finding some other interesting info which makes me believe that perhaps it is "instinct" or an "ancient pattern of behavior" that kicks in when it's  time to build a nest.  As jfrancl stated earlier, Dr. Scott Nielsen in his book, A Season With Eagles, states that, "Bald eagles are compulsive nest builders". Gary Bortolotti in his book, The Bald Eagle, Haunts and Habits of a Wilderness Monarch, states, "Even immatures may be involved in nest building" which concurs with what Pagent said. Scott Weidensaul in Raptors The Birds of Prey, states "As a rule, raptors tend to nest in the same kind of habitat and site in which they themselves were raised."  He also says that "twigs, sticks, and branches are the material of choice for the bulk of the structure."  As far as length of time to build the nest...Golden Eagles may take from 5 days to 2 months whereas an Osprey can have a new nest ready in 2-3 weeks.  In his book he also says that the Bald Eagle makes what are probably the largest nests built by single pairs of birds, and they are the heaviest.  Our Mom & Dad started building N2 approximately mid-October 2012 and were pretty much done within 6 weeks or so I believe.

Bob, Pagent is correct, they commonly do build practice nests.  Juveniles still in the nest will also imprint on the nest they are being raised in.  Nick Fox states that they imprint on nest type, as glog stated, site and habitat and their peak nest imprinting stage begins during the development of their second down.  Once fledged, the eaglets imprint on the surroundings of the nest such as trees, cliffs, man made structures such as white barns! lol.  Fox states that there is a strong correlation between the type of nest a chick is raised in and the type they will choose as adults.  So your questions actually fit into both the All About Nests and Imprinting threads!

As far as how many nests the USDA Forest Service has built and the success of the nests, that would be a great research project for you!

Regarding Bob's question, it comes to my mind that though the eaglets don't see the parents build the nest from start to finish, they do observe the parents bringing in new sticks and nesting materials in their ongoing nestorations.  We have seen eaglets "play" with these materials and imitate what their parents do.  This could be part of the foundation for their learning how to construct a nest.  I suspect that instinct has a lot to do with it, as well as imprinting on their parents and environment.

Agree Faith, I think both instinct and imprinting play a part


--- Quote from: jfrancl on October 26, 2013, 11:55:01 AM ---Bob,  though I don't have data on recorded artificial BE nest construction and  usage success, I do have a link to an artificial nest construction and illustrations from the USDA Forest Service.

--- End quote ---

I have an email in to the author of that pamphlet with questions about the artificial nests but I have not heard back from him yet.  When I do I will post his response.   


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