Berry Eagle FAQ

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BERRY EAGLE HISTORY

The eagles were first spotted on the main campus in March 2012 by a Berry student who reported their presence to his professor. It was an unusual time for eagles to nest and there has been speculation that they may have had a nest elsewhere possibly lost to a storm.

Eagles have been reported in the vicinity of the campus for the past few years, but the Berry nest is the first documented nest in the modern history of Floyd County.

During the summer, college officials set up an Approach Camera in the parking lot, and in the fall of 2012, the eagles returned and began demonstrating nesting behavior. Eggs were produced in late December or early January eggs and two eaglets successfully fledged in the spring. 

The college added a camera to the tree (Camera 1) for direct viewing into the nest. During the 2013-14 season, the college set up a Berry Eagles Facebook page, and the eagles captured national and international attention from viewers and media outlets. Millions of viewers watched the eagles daily. Berry added a third camera (Camera 2) to the nest tree in 2014.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

BERRY NEST: The nest is located on the main campus of Berry College adjacent to the parking lot of the Steven Cage Athletic and Recreation Center and is available for viewing. The Cage Center is home to sporting events, concerts and other activities. Apparently our eagles like to be near the action!

GENDER: The male eagle is smaller and has a sleek white head. The female eagle is larger with a head of ruffled white feathers. 

INJURY: The female eagle returned to the nest in 2013 with an injured left leg/foot. We do not know how it happened and it does not hamper her although she will show evidence of her injury for the rest of her life.

NIGHT VIEW: Berry is pleased to provide live video feeds of the bald eagle nesting area. The nest cameras use infrared at night that is not visible to the eagles. It may look like you are seeing a light, but you are not. The tree looks completely dark at night.

CAMERA/TECH SUPPORT: For more info about the types of cameras and technical issues click on “nest cam information” beneath the live feed on the berry.edu/eaglecam page.

SOUND: The second nest camera has sound.

NAMES: Berry has chosen not to name the eagles because they are wild creatures and we do not want to personalize them.

EGG STATS:

  • In 2013, two eggs hatched (B1 and B2.) B1 fledged on April 22 and B2 fledged on April 28.
  • In 2014, two eggs were laid, but only one (B3) hatched on Feb. 22. B3 fledged on May 22, 2014.
  • In 2015, eggs were laid on Jan. 6 and 9 with hatching on Feb. 13 and 15. B4 fledged on May 10, 2014, and B5 fledged on May 12, 2015.
  • In 2016, eggs were laid Jan. 7 and 10 and hatched Feb. 14 and 15. B6 and B7 fledged May 8 and 9, 2016. 
  • In 2017, eggs were laid Jan. 3 and 7 and hatched Feb. 11 and 13.  B8 and B9 fledged on May 5, 2017 and May 10, 2017.
  • In 2018, eggs were laid Jan. 3 and 6 and hatched Feb. 12 and 13. On Feb. 22, 2018, one of the two eaglets wandered over to the edge of the nest and fell out of the 100-foot-tall pine tree. It did not survive the fall. The remaining eaglet fledged on May 9.
  • In 2019, eggs were laid Jan. 8 and 11 and hatched Feb. 19 and 21. The eaglets died shortly thereafter. No cause was determined.

STADIUM: Before the eagles, Berry officials had planned to build a stadium in the area. Once the eagles arrived, the stadium site was moved to the south.  In May 2014, Berry officials announced that the stadium would be relocated even further south out of respect for the eagles and their habitat.

DIET: The eagles enjoy eating fish, coot (waterfowl) and squirrel. The nest is conveniently located near the Oostanaula River, the renamed Eagle Lake at Berry and Garden Lakes in Rome, Ga.

HELP: If an eaglet falls out of the nest or any of the eagles become injured, college officials are required to contact authorities regarding the federal rules for handling bald eagles. No personnel are permitted in the restricted area during nesting season. Any intervention or care for eagles will be determined by federal authorities.

General Bald Eagle facts

  • The U.S. Department of Interior took the American bald eagle off the endangered species list in 2007.
  • 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.
  • 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 on average 10 to 14 pounds.
  • The eagles’ diet is mainly fish, but they will take advantage of carrion.
  • 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 between one and 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 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.
  • 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 www.allaboutbirds.org

nest visitor ETIQUETTE

(via the Decorah Eagles web site)

  • For those of you visiting nests, remember, bald eagles are protected by Federal law in the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Protection Treaty.  
  • Don't honk, play loud music, shout or make any other loud noises.
  • Do not feed the eagles. This includes leaving food on the ground. These birds are wild animals and should not become dependent on humans
  • Keep the area free from litter.
  • If an eagle is on the ground, do not approach it. Also, when it flies away, do not attempt to follow it.
  • Stay aware of your surroundings. If the eagle is near a road, check for traffic before moving.
  • Take binoculars and/or camera with you whenever visiting a nest. That equipment will afford you the best view.

 

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