Age of a Bald Eagle Nest

Bald Eagle Biology

Bald Eagle Nest: Probably pushing 100 years old -- PLUS!

Between 1963 and 1967 a bald eagle nest in my Barkley Sound Vancouver Island study area was annually used and produced 1 or 2 young each year. This leaning cedar tree was probably in excess of 300 years of age. The nest was very old from many years of constant use. I had climbed to the nest in the 1960's and my notes state it was a very old nest, “well weathered and lived in”.Size, 6 feet 2 inches across and about 2.5 feet deep. The nest had probably been occupied the previous 30 - 50 years.

This nest was one of 136 occupied territories in that part of Barkley Sound that I studied.

Another Visit in 2003

In July of 2003 my wife, daughter and I were kayaking in Barkley Sound and as we rounded the southern end of this same Island I stated how in the early days my favorite nest was suspended over the water in a leaning cedar tree. We rounded the bend and there was the same leaning cedar – with two large full grown young standing in the nest.

As an update to the above. Barkley Sound was largely logged prior to the 1950's and by the 1970's was designated part of the West Coast Regional National Park. During my study period in the mid 1960's we never saw more than 1 kayak or canoe party per summer and perhaps 3 to 5 pleasure boats. Commercial salmon trollers and shrimp trawlers were constantly working the Imperial Eagle Channel. Today the adjacent area houses numerous trailer parks and campsites, boat launch ramps and an incredible armada of kayaks, canoes and pleasure boats. And the area seemed to have as many bald eagles as it did 40 years ago. Not all is lost.

A question comes to mind: Will a tree sustain an eagles nest for two or three hundred years? Certainly the trees can live twice that long. And how many different adult eagles nested in this single location?

David Hancock

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