The Bald Eagle Nesting Preferences
Bald eagles like to nest in areas near rivers, huge lakes, seacoasts and other large bodies of open water. They prefer habitats where warm fishes are
abundant. According to studies, bald eagles opt for bodies of water measuring more than 11 kilometers in circumference while lakes bigger than 10 square kilometers are good for breeding eagles.
For nesting and perching, bald eagles need mature and sturdy coniferous or hardwood trees where they can build their large nests. Trees, however, should provide good visibility, an open structure and should be near their prey. An eagle’s nest is usually made of twigs, soft mosses, grasses and feathers. However, new nesting materials are added each year notably as the breeding season nears. The average size of an eagle’s nest is five feet wide and two feet deep. In some cases, though, the nest can get bigger to more than 10 feet wide and heavier at several tons. Should their nests be destroyed due to natural causes, the bald eagles build a new one just near the old nest.
Bald eagles are not choosy as to the height or type of tree so long as there are plenty of big trees surrounding a particular body of water they prefer to be near to. The forests they use for nesting requires a canopy cover of 20 to 60 percent and near a body of water.
The bald eagle’s natural habitat spans most part of North America and northern Mexico. This bird can live in different habitats from the bays and forests to even the deserts. It can be considered a migratory bird but it can also stay put in its breeding area particularly during the winter. If water is abundant in its area, a bald eagle can stay there the whole year but otherwise, it migrates to the south or to the coastal areas during the winter to get food.
Bald eagles gather together in specific locations every winter. Some two thousand of them spend the winter from November until February in Squamish, British Columbia near Vancouver and Whistler in Canada. They would just sit along the banks of Squamish and Cheakamus Rivers where salmons abound. In the U.S., Missouri is the preferred nesting area of bald eagles during the winter season. Being home to the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, there is an abundance of fish in the area for the birds’ food. And what’s great with the rivers there is that their water does not turn to ice during winter time because of the river dams. This makes feeding easy for the eagles that stay there.