Bald Eagle

Florida has one of the densest concentrations of nesting eagles in the lower 48 states, with over 1,000 nesting pairs.  Concentrations of nesting territories are clustered around several significant wetland systems throughout the state. Osceola and Polk counties have the most bald eagle nests in the state of Florida.


Bald eagle nesting season in Florida runs from October to May.


Bald eagles are highly social outside of the nesting season, but are extremely territorial when nesting.


Bald eagles preferred trees are live pine, cypress, mangrove trees. They will choose the tallest tree. If needed they will use a communication tower, transmission towers, and raptor nesting platforms, and even very rarely on the ground.  Bald eagles in Florida strongly prefer living native pines to all other substrates.  Nearly all bald eagle nests in Florida are built within 1.8 miles of water.


Bald eagle nests are spaced apart to ensure sufficient food resources for nestlings and to raise young with minimal disturbance from other eagles.  Eagle pairs often build more than one nest, which allows them to move to an alternate nest while remaining in their territory.


Most clutches of eggs in Florida are laid between December and early January.  Average clutch size throughout the bald eagle's range is 1-3 eggs with most nests containing two eggs. Incubation lasts about 35 days.  Nestlings in Florida fledge, or become able to fly from the nest, at around 11 weeks of age and remain with their parents near the nest for an additional 4-11 weeks.


Most of Florida’s adult bald eagles stay in Florida year round. Most of Florida’s sub-adult eagles migrate north out of Florida.


Bald eagles are opportunistic feeders. Primary prey of eagles in Florida includes various fish and waterfowl species. Most prey is captured from the surface of the water but eagles will chase osprey for fish. Bald eagles will also scavenge for food at landfills and for road kill.




Interesting Facts:

Humans remain the most important source of mortality for the bald eagle!


The bald eagle was removed from the endangered species list in 2007.


It is still illegal to harass, or own any part (even so much as a feather) of a bald eagle under The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and The Migratory Bird Treaty Act.


Bald Eagles occasionally hunt cooperatively, with one individual flushing prey towards another.


Record Lifespan for a bald eagle in the wild is 28 years.


Bald eagles are capable of breeding in their fourth year, while still in sub-adult plumage, or the coat of feathers worn by young eagles not quite fully developed.


The sexes are indistinguishable by their plumage, or feathers, but females are as much as 25 percent larger than males.


A group of eagles has many collective nouns, including an "aerie", "convocation", "jubilee", "soar", and "tower" of eagles.


The bald eagle is the national emblem of the United States.



Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Cornell Lab of Ornithology

US Fish and Wildlife Service


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