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How Big Is A Bald Eagle Nest?

How Big Is A Bald Eagle Nest? Nest Size & Information

The bald eagle is one of the most fearsome predators in the bird kingdom, but what about its gentler side as a parent? How big is a bald eagle nest, and how many nestlings can it hold?

The Bald Eagle constructs the largest nest in North America. Their nests are can be as big as twelve feet tall and eight feet wide. They could be so big that the weight could even exceed two tons! 

However, this is a more extreme depiction, on average, bald eagle nests are about three feet tall and five feet in diameter. 

But why do bald eagles build such huge nests, and what materials do they use to build them? Let’s discuss all this and more in the article below.

how big is a bald eagle nest


How Big Can Bald Eagle Nests Get?

The world record for Bald Eagle Nest is twenty feet deep, 9.5 feet wide, and was as heavy as three tons. The nest was found in Florida.

Bald Eagles are known to build the largest nests in North America. Sometimes the nests are so huge that the supporting tree collapses under their weight, especially when it is raining heavily. When this happens, bald eagles start to make a nest somewhere else. 

How Big Are Bald Eagles’ Nests?

The average measurement of a bald eagle nest is about three feet tall and five feet wide. Since bald eagles make such large nests they prefer mature trees like white pine and cottonwood to make them on.


how big is a bald eagle nest


How Much Do These Nests Weigh

Because bald eagle nests are so large, they also weigh about one ton one average. Some bald eagle nests in Alaska also weigh two or three tons. This is as heavy as 10-12 humans!

How High Is Their Nest?

As mentioned earlier, bald eagles prefer tall, mature nest trees. According to a study conducted on Bald Eagles in British Columbia, they predominantly preferred Black cottonwood and Douglas fir to build their nests. 

The average nest height in this study was about 90 feet. Bald Eagles prefer to build their nests in live trees instead of dead ones or human-made structures. 


how big is a bald eagle nest


How Long Do They Take To Build The Nest?

It takes a pair of eagles one to three months to build a nest. It takes them more time to build a nest than a ground one.  Nesting season for bald eagles typically starts in Oct and ends in May.

Bald Eagles are territorial and like to return to the same nests that they build earlier. They ‘build’ a new nest by adding a few materials like sticks and plant material to the existing ones. 

What Does The Nest Look Like?

Bald eagles build their nests with large sticks and line them with grass, moss, seaweed, lichens, or plant stalks. Their nests are broad, large, and deep. 

They mostly build their nest in a branch crotch at the top of the tree. They stack sticks and weave them together, which makes it quite bulky. 

Then the bald eagle lines the center of the nest with soft materials such as feathers, grass, twigs, and moss to make it comfortable for the eaglets about to hatch. 


how big is a bald eagle nest


Do Bald Eagles Reuse The Nest?

Yes, bald eagles reuse their nests. This is because they are territorial in nature and it is difficult to keep building a huge nest again and again. 

In such cases when they reuse the nest, the nest keeps growing in size each time they reuse it, and in many cases it becomes so heavy that the tree supporting the nest might also collapse!

Why Are Bald Eagle Nests So Big?

These nests are huge because the eagle pair keeps reusing the original nest. A bald eagle pair would use the same nest for decades and continue adding newer materials to it every year. 

Over time, all that added material keeps increasing the size and weight. Sometimes the nests get so big that their weight collapses the tree supporting them.

The main reason why bald eagles keep reusing their nest is that it is difficult for them to start a completely new one each time.

The collection of material and nest building takes them up to three months, so they cannot keep repeating the same effort.

How Big Is A Bald Eagle Nest
How Big Is A Bald Eagle Nest

Frequently Asked Questions


How Many Eagles Live In A Nest?

Usually, a pair of adult eagles with their one, or two young ones live in one nest. Bald eagle nests are built to size – they are about enough to accommodate a bald eagle family and not much more than that.

Do Bald Eagles Eat Cats?

Yes. Generally, Bald Eagles prefer fish, and that’s why they like to build their nests near a water body. However, bald eagles can eat not only cats and rabbits but also foxes. 
These giant birds use their exceptional eyesight to spot potential prey. Their diving speeds can be as fast as 100mph. Once they catch hold of their prey, they rip it apart with their massive talons and beak.

What Eats A Bald Eagle?

Eagles are at the pinnacle of the food chain and are excellent predators. However, alligators, lions, bears, and even great-horned owls can attack eaglets and sick and weak adult eagles to eat them as prey.

Do eagles build the largest nest?

Yes, they do. Bald eagle nests are known to be among the largest nests in the world.
Want to know more? Read: Bald Eagle Facts

Wrap Up

Bald eagle nests are huge; they are amongst the largest nests in the world. As time goes on, these nests only get bigger as the birds keep adding more material to them.

Bald eagles build these nests because they themselves are huge – and the nest is just about the right size to hold them and their family.

Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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