Carolina Rapter Center
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Eagle Nesting

Eagle Nesting

Bald Eagle Nesting at Carolina Raptor Center

The Eagle Aviary at Carolina Raptor Center will be closed starting Monday, November 9, 2015 and will remain closed until nesting season is over. Please watch nesting season on the WCNC Eagle Cam.


As soon as eggs hatch, tours of Marcy's Eagle Research Observatory are available on Saturdays and Sundays at 1:30 pm for a cost of $25 per person. Up to 6 people may register for the tour. Tour includes a presentation on Eagle Nesting at Carolina Raptor Center and time inside Marcy's Eagle Research Observatory -- just feet from nesting eagles and ultimately, the eaglets. Please note: Children under 8 are NOT allowed in the Eagle Research Observatory. Please call  our Visitor's Center at 704-875-6521 x107 if you would like to reserve your space. Weekday tours at 1:30 pm are available upon request.

Click here for more information on Eagle Nesting Seasons in 2006-2012.
Click here for the Eagle Nesting Blog on Tumblr.
Follow Savannah Eagle on Facebook at or on Twitter @Savannah_Eagle.


American bald eagles had never hatched at Carolina Raptor Center (CRC) prior to 2006. Since that time, five eaglets have been hatched in captivity at CRC and reintroduced to the wild. Prior to 2006, in 1989 and 1990, Golden eagle chicks were hatched here. One of them was successfully released as part of a hacking (reintroduction) project in the mountains of Georgia. As far as we know, CRC has produced the only captive-hatched bald eagles and golden eagles in North Carolina!

Eagles sit on the nest for approximately 35 days after eggs are laid. Of the two parents, the female spends the most time on the nest keeping the eggs warm, with the male taking short stints incubating to give the female time to eat and stretch her legs. In order for incubation to continue, the parents must bond with the eggs. The adults are most likely to abandon the eggs early on during incubation; therefore, we keep all disturbances to the nest site to an absolute minimum during the incubation period (around 35 days).

At Carolina Raptor Center, we allow the parents to raise their eaglets in the aviary to ensure that the young birds will properly imprint on their own species. Though parent rearing is usually the best option, sometimes it can be necessary to interfere if the eaglets appear ill or are not getting fed regularly by the parent birds. Eaglets, and other raptors, that are orphaned or captive bred can still be raised by humans and be released back into the wild. This can involve raising the young within sight of an adult bird of their species and/or feeding the babies using puppets that mimic their parents feeding them. Our rehabilitation department releases over a hundred orphaned raptors a year back into the wild that were either hand reared or fostered by some of our resident birds. Visual contact with visitors and caretakers at CRC is minimized to prevent stress on the parent birds; too much human contact can sometimes cause the birds to abandon their nest in the wild.

At around six weeks of age, the eaglets of CRC are moved from their enclosure and relocated to an artificial nest called a hack tower located off the property. The parent birds remain in the aviary on our display trail. The eaglets are fed through a food chute until they are old enough to start making flights, typically around 10-12 weeks of age.

The doors to the tower are opened when the eaglets are 8-10 weeks old. Though the young eaglets may leave at this point if they are ready to fly, many of the birds can be observed perching on the outside of the tower flapping their wings off and on for several days prior to taking their first big flight. Our staff continues to put food inside the tower as long as the eaglets continue to return to their artificial “nest.” This enables the birds to practice their hunting skills but not go hungry if they fail at their first few attempts. When the birds are comfortable hunting and being on their own, they stop returning to the hack tower.

Bald eagles are becoming more plentiful in North Carolina. More than 100 active nests are monitored by biologists every year now and that number keeps growing. The best places to see bald eagles in North Carolina include Jordan Lake near Raleigh, Badin Lake near Albemarle and Lake Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge in the eastern part of the state. Locally, eagles can be seen at many locations on the Catawba River system, including Lake Norman, Lake Wylie, and even Mountain Island Lake (in Charlotte’s backyard).











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