Take a walk on the wild side at Carolina Raptor Center's Raptor Trail.
Catch wonder by the tail with our formal and informal education programs. Children 3 to 93 will delight the science and natural history of 38 raptor species and how they have inspired human invention.
Staff and volunteers at this hidden hospital in the woods treats over 900 injured and orphaned birds a year – more than any other US raptor center. Over 70% are released back into the wild!
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Eagle Chicks hang out in the nest on a sunny afternoon. Photo by Bryan Hochmuth.
There is something of the marvelous in all things of nature. – Aristotle
Bald Eagle Nesting at Carolina Raptor Center
In 2018, the Bald Eagle Aviary is configured so that there are two enclosures. One features an inactive nest with eagles Savannah and Luke, and the other houses two male adults, Derek and Dante.
At Carolina Raptor Center, we had two Bald Eagles that actively nested for many years. Many eagle watchers have been disappointed as our eagle couple did not produce fertile eggs in 2014-2017. Before that time six young were hatched, raised and released back out into the wild through the use of our hack tower. In 2016, the pair sat on two unsuccessful clutches. However, we were incredibly fortunate to be asked by Dan Nicholas Park, the State of North Carolina, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service to foster an eaglet hatched in captivity in Salisbury, NC.
The choice to put in a baby eagle with an established nesting pair was not without risks, but Savannah and Derek proved to be fantastic parents and adopted the young one as their own. This eagle, named “Freedom,” was successfully reared and released back out into the wild. Thanks to program support by Duke Energy and the efforts of Dr. Roland Kays at NC State University, “Freedom” is currently part of a tracking program to study the migration habits of young Bald Eagles. For more information go to www.movebank.org and search for “LifeTrack Bald Eagles – Freedom.”
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).
Follow Savannah Eagle on Facebook at or on Twitter @Savannah_Eagle.
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.
Follow this link to learn about what happens next.
Take a step into the Eagle Aviary if you dare, have a conversation with a Golden Eagle, and tour Marcy’s Eagle Research Observatory. During this 45 minute encounter, participants will get “nose to beak” with some of our Bald and Golden Eagle residents and have an opportunity to take a photograph with one of these majestic creatures. More info and scheduled dates on our Raptor Encounters page.