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How Do Bald Eagles Mate? The Before & After Of Copulation

For wildlife photographers, bird mating is a common sight. The same goes for bird specialists too. They often roam in the wild and get familiar with the regular life events of birds and the bald Eagles too! 

Like any other bird, the mating sight of the mighty bald eagle is also incredible. However, it’s not a common sight you would get to locate every day.  

Bald Eagles often perform the courtship ritual in the sky, but they don’t mate in the air? Instead, they select a tree branch or prefer their nest to mate. So, How do Bald Eagles Mate? 

This is what our article is about. Today, we will explore this interesting topic and give the birds some privacy 😀 Let’s begin. 

How Do Bald Eagles Mate

Do You Know? 

  • Bald eagles often form lifelong monogamous bonds unless death does them apart. Only when one of the mates dies, the living one look for a partner. 
  • They perform the courtship ritual each year with the same partner to display affection for each other. 
  • Eagles can reuse the same nest for several breeding seasons. They may add layers and improvements & end up with an incredibly large nest over time.
  • Unlike some birds, eagles engage in copulation relatively less. They mainly focus more on parenting and nest maintenance. 
  • The chicks fledge soon after. But they still get proper guidance and support from their Eagle parents as they learn to hunt and become self-dependent. 

How Do Bald Eagles Mate? 

Bald eagles are comparatively more social than other Eagle species. They value partnership and parenthood together and sincerely. 

This is why, in our article today, we chose the bald eagles. In the next part, we will learn how do bald eagles mate. Let’s start. 

The Beginning: Courtship  

The Beginning: Courtship

Bald eagles are monogamous birds. They form long-lasting partnerships and continue until one of them passes out. 

The courtship begins in late winter or early spring. And it surely is a spectacular view to start with. They engage in an extraordinary dance in the sky and often lock their talons. It not only displays affection for each other, but also helps them identify the most suitable partner. 

The Song: 

The bald eagles are loud. They use different sounds during courtship. It includes high-pitched calls and whistles. It serves their intention and solidifies their connection.   

They Build A Home: 

They Build A Home

Now they have each other, they build a nest. Bald eagles usually develop one of the massive nests. It is usually 5 to 6 feet in diameter and 2 to 4 feet tall. 

Unlike most other nests, they usually build a nest that’s cylindrical, flat, or either conical in shape. It generally depends on which tree they select. They usually place the home near the water source. It offers a steady supply of food. 

Both males and females contribute to the nest and bring materials. However, the female bald eagle does the placement more. 

How Do Bald Eagles Mate? 

How Do Bald Eagles Mate

It starts by pressing the cloaca together, also known as the cloaca kiss. The female eagle will hunch down at the start of the mate. They only try one position. In fact, that’s pretty much the only one in other bird species. 

Both bald eagles face the same direction. The male bald eagle will mount on her back. To offer a clear passage, the female bald eagle removes her tail feathers to one side. 

Meantime, the male partner develops the cloaca opening. He will press and twist it around the cloaca of his female partner.  Once they are in place, sperm from the male cloaca will pass to the cloaca of the female partner.  

And, thus mating is complete. 

Generally, bald eagles or any other eagles would have a year-round mating season. It also depends on which time of year they migrate. 

The female usually gets two-week windows for three times during a breeding season. She is fertile during this time and the chances of successful breeding with fertile eggs are more prevalent. 

It’s interesting how the male’s sperm is effective inside the female for 10 days. Sunlight plays an important role here and affects the pituitary gland of the female organ. It secretes a hormone that initiates the ova. 

It doesn’t take long to lay eggs. After successful copulation, the female bald eagle lays eggs between 5 to 10 days. However, she doesn’t lay the eggs all at once. 

They lay eggs at a minimum of two-day intervals. Once she lays the first egg, she will at least take two days to lay the next one. They usually lay 1-3 eggs but not more than this. Meaning, it would take at least 6 days to completely lay the eggs. 

Raising A Family

The female partner is primarily responsible for incubating the eggs, but the male also plays a role. They take turns to protect the eggs and keep them warm. It generally lasts for around 35 days.

The eggs finally latch and the final duty begins. The bald eagle chicks are voracious eaters. But not to worry! Since their parents are marvelous hunters. They collect and ensure a steady diet of fish and other prey. 

Starting from day 1, they introduce raw meat to their babies. During the first few weeks, the male partner collects most of the food. 

As the eaglets grow, they reach a point where they are ready to leave the nest. It is known as fledging. 

The young ones take their first flight when they are around 10 to 12 weeks old. Initial flights are often wobbly, but they quickly gain confidence. Soon they learn to live on their own and start a life circle of their own. 

In Short, 

Here, we have discussed the pre-stage and post-stage of how do bald eagles mate. Since they don’t mate in the air, unless you have them in a reservatory, it will hardly be a view for you. 

Plus, they prefer secrecy like any other birds during mating and intimacy periods. You should respect that too! 

Do you have any more questions? Please let us know in the comment section. Also, don’t forget to share our article with your friends. It will help us grow! 

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