Feb 07 2014
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.