Time to Tidy Up: Eagles Getting Busy

There’s a job for every season, and the eagles know that better than anyone. They can tell that the days are getting longer (so can I!) and they are suddenly busy with some important nest renovations.

I’ve checked out two nests this past week, and both pairs of bald eagles are hustling about, making sure that their nests will be sound and comfortable for the coming eaglets.

One of the nests is on one of my favorite backroads in all of Montana – heck, maybe in all the world:


The nest sits high up in a gnarled and twisted Ponderosa pine.    It’s a brilliant spot for an eagle:  not far from the Missouri River, but also near fields that are bursting with ground squirrels in the spring and summer.    Last weekend the eagles were busy checking it out and bringing new sticks to shore up the walls.


January 18, 2014




The eagle in the pictures above was busy, busy, busy.  It’s mate, however, was more concerned with keeping an eye on me from another tree:


I have high hopes for this pair.  Last year they raised three eaglets, which is pretty unusual.  I think they’re great parents.     And they were handsome young’uns, too, don’t you think?



The second nest is right next to the Missouri, also in a pretty special spot:


These guys actually alternate between a couple of nests:  last year they surprised me by going back to a dilapidated old nest that seemed in danger of sliding off the branch.  This year, though, it looks like they have decided to move up in the world, and they’re fixing up a much nicer looking home:


They also were hustling around this past weekend.  One partner flew back and forth with new sticks, while the second one fussily worked at getting the stick in just the right spot.    It’s hard not to make the interior designer the female, but I’m resisting…



January 25, 2014

This pair had a couple of eaglets last year, and they were pretty entertaining to watch:


I’ll keep you posted on this year’s developments!

About westerner54

Hello. I'm Cindy, and I love to hike, bike and explore the outdoors - particularly the western U.S.
This entry was posted in Birding, Montana, Nature, Outdoors, Wildlife and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Time to Tidy Up: Eagles Getting Busy

  1. avian101 says:

    Terrific captures Cindy, I wish I could be there! 🙂

  2. Mind Margins says:

    Can’t wait to get more updates on the eaglets when they’ve hatched. I watched one of the eagle nest cams a few years ago and it was fascinating to watch the parents feed the babies and watch them grow.

  3. Mandy says:

    Awesome. I’m really enjoying your blog. You have an intriguing way with words and images.

  4. Lyle Krahn says:

    What a blast to be able to watch those nests. You are most fortunate.

  5. oopsjohn says:

    Wonderful that you have access to those nests! I often see osprey when looking for nest building material fly straight at a tree and break sticks off with a resounding ‘crack.’ Too lazy to swoop down to the ground for fallen ones, I guess. Have you seen eagles doing that sort of thing?

  6. Janet says:

    I am looking forward to what goes on with this eagle family. Great photos!

  7. Ingrid says:

    Wow, how fun to see these guys ready the nest for little ones. I’m always fascinated by the color or lack there of regarding the youngens. In the 30 days that I have been in south Texas I’ve seen the young whooping crane start loosing his rust color and start to get whiter each day. This interest in birding has snuck up on me and can be quite addictive. I look forward to following the tale of the eagles!

  8. LuAnn says:

    What amazing shots you have captured! We really miss Montana and are reliving some happy memories through your posts. 🙂

  9. rjwerning says:

    I just came across your blog while searching for off the beaten path sort of hikes out west, glad I found your page! I did a 2+ week camping trip out west last summer, and have a 3 week trip planned for this one. Would you mind sharing what road is “one of my favorite backroads in all of Montana”? Thanks! Rich – Waukesha, WI

    • westerner54 says:

      Sure, Rich. It’s a gravel road that runs from Craig, Montana to Highway 287. I think it’s called Seven Mile Road locally. From Craig you head west, under the interstate, and you’ll be on the road. Keep your eyes peeled for the eagles (or me watching them)!

      • rjwerning says:

        Great, thanks! I’ve found it on google maps. Looks like a nice route if we head up to Glacier Natl Park, but not sure we’ll make it that far north this trip. Have a couple day back woods hike planned in Bridger Teton Natl park already.

  10. Those are some sweet eagle shots. My husband noted recently that the eagle’s nest he watched along his commute to work here in southeastern Minnesota is gone. Seems a recent blizzard with heavy, wet snow caused the limb in which the next was built to break off the tree. It will be interesting to see if the eagles rebuild in the area.

    • westerner54 says:

      That will be interesting, for sure. The nests are so big, it seems it would be a huge effort to rebuild it. Have to do a bit of research and see what eagles typically do in this type of situation!

  11. Pingback: A Tale of Two Eagle Nests | Off the Beaten Path: Hikes, Backpacks, and Travels

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