In September 2013, Berry’s original bald eagle couple was once again seen on the Berry College campus in the vicinity of the nest in a tall pine tree situated between the main entrance and the parking lot of the Steven J. Cage Athletic and Recreation Center. Although a young "sub adult," approximately three years old, was spotted in the nest, the couple soon chased it away and reclaimed their home.
The couple has been busy repairing and adding to the nest. One of them occasionally roosts all night in the nest and at other times they have been seen fishing in nearby lakes. The female currently exhibits signs of trauma to her feet with missing talons on her right foot but sporting a more severe injury to her left foot. She is able to hunt and fly successfully with her mate as well as prepare the nest for eggs.
During the season last year, there were documented sightings on campus of the original pair, their two eaglets and at least four juvenile eagles.
Berry College’s original bald eagle parents began making the nest in March 2012, an unusual time for nest-building in the life-cycle of eagles.
Eagles have been reported in the vicinity of the campus for the past two to three years, but this is the first documented nest in the modern history of Floyd County, according to an article in the Rome News-Tribune. The birds attracted the attention of photographers and others statewide. Students and faculty flocked to the site to catch a glimpse of the majestic couple. The eagles were seen carrying sticks to build their nest, but to the disappointment of many, they had nested too late to produce offspring. By April they were gone – but not for long.
In October 2012, the eagles returned to the nest, and in November they were seen mating. Two eggs hatched by January 2013. The eaglets and their parents continued to impress scores of watchers, all fascinated with the sight of eagle parents bringing food to the nest and, later, the wing-flapping of the eaglets in preparation for flight. Both of Berry's eaglets fledged (flew) during the last week of April. Eaglet 1 flew on April 22 and Eaglet 2 flew on April 28. Eaglet 1 is believed to have hatched a week or so before his/her sibling and so the difference in their maturity is understandable.
Please check the Berry College Eagles Facebook page for regular updates this year. Bald eagles mate for life, and we are hopeful that we will enjoy their presence at Berry for many years to come. We will also be watching to see what happens if the original couple returns to find their nest occupied by another eagle!
Georgia Power donated a truck and manpower to install a small camera with a direct view of the nest. The camera was donated by Sony and the wireless transmission and equipment were donated by Fluid Mesh Networks.
General Facts About Bald Eagles
- 2007 - The Department of Interior took the American bald eagle off the endangered species list.
- The bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) is a member of the sea and fish eagle group.
- Juvenile bald eagles are a mixture of brown and white. They reach full maturity in four to five years.
- Size - The female bald eagle is 35 to 37 inches, slightly larger than the male.
- Wingspan ranges from 72 to 90 inches.
- Bald eagles can fly to an altitude of 10,000 feet. During level flight, they can achieve speeds of about 30 to 35 mph.
- Bald eagles weigh from 10 to 14 pounds.
- Diet - Mainly fish, but they will take advantage of carrion (dead and decaying flesh).
- Hunting area varies from 1,700 to 10,000 acres. Home ranges are smaller where food is present in great quantity.
- Because an eagle lives up to 30 years in the wild, it has many years in which to produce offspring.
- Bald eagles build their nests in large trees near rivers or coasts. A typical nest is around 5 feet in diameter. Eagles often use the same nest year after year. Over the years, some nests become enormous, as much as 9 feet in diameter, weighing two tons.
- Eagles lay from one to three eggs. Parenting duties are shared by both male and female during the 35 days of incubation, but it is the female who spends most of her time on the nest.
- The young birds grow rapidly, adding one pound to their body weight every four or five days. At six weeks, the eaglets are very nearly as large as their parents.
- An eaglet can take its first flight some 10 to 13 weeks after hatching and approximately 40 percent of young eagles do not survive it.
- All eagles are renowned for their excellent eyesight.
- Fidelity - Once paired, bald eagles remain together until one dies.
- The bald eagle became the National emblem in 1782 when the great seal of the United States was adopted.
Sources: www.baldeagleinfo.com and