Why Do Bald Eagles Build Nests Up High? (How High)

why do bald eagles build nests up high

Have you ever wondered why bald eagles build their nests up so high? If you’ve seen them on or near your property in a nest, you can’t fail to be amazed at how high they build their nests up in trees. 

Why do bald eagles build nests up high? Bald eagles build nests up high to be safe from predators and to give them a good vantage point to see what’s going on around them. Nests up high are also less likely to be disturbed by people or animals.

Bald eagles also like to see everything below them. 

In this blog we’ll discuss why these amazing birds do this, and what the main reason is behind building a nest so high above the ground!

3 reasons: Why bald eagles build nests up high

There are many reasons why bald eagles build nests on top of trees/tall structures:

1. Protection from predators

Bald eagles build their nests in the tallest trees they can find. The higher up they are, the harder it is for predators to attack them from below. Protects them from predators such as foxes, coyotes, and raccoons who may attack or steal eggs or chicks if they can get to them easily. 

why bald eagles build nests high
Bald eagles build nests high to avoid predators of the chicks (https://unsplash.com/photos/MLfe9XFhFwk)

Bald eagles are very large birds, and they have a lot of predators to worry about. So, it’s important for them to make their nests high off the ground that allows them to keep an eye out for predators and other dangers.

2. Protection from weather

Another main reason for nesting high up is to avoid flooding during heavy rains or melting snow which could potentially destroy eggs and chicks living down below!

Bald eagles build nests up high for security from the weather. They build their nests in tall trees, on cliffs, or on building ledges. 

This allows them to be safe from the rain and windy storms such as tornadoes. By building their nests high up, bald eagles can ensure the safety of their eggs and chicks.

Handy Hint: Did you know that eagles can fly so high, they could even fly above a storm!

3. To keep their chick safe 

It is said that the higher up the bald eagle nest is, the better chance of survival for chicks. This may be true because it would make it harder to steal eggs or kill chicks if they were so high in the air.

Bald eagle eggs hatch into chicks that grow very large (upwards of 20 inches tall) before they’re even old enough to fly, and they typically leave the nest when they are about 10 to 12 weeks old. 

At this time, they are still dependent on their parents for food and protection but can start learning how to hunt and fish for themselves. This means that the nests they’re born into must be built on high places and sturdy that are able to hold their weight. This gives the parents a better chance of protecting their young ones. 

So why do bald eagles build their nests so high up? It’s really all about safety for their young one’s nursery.

More about bald eagle nest building

Where do bald eagles build their nests?

It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact location of bald eagles’ nests. Since they are fiercely territorial, there can be only one bird to occupy a single nest. Therefore, you should not expect to see multiple nests in one area. 

Handy Hint: Some people will try to actively encourage bald eagles to build a nest on their property using these methods.

However, if you spot an isolated nest, it might belong to another type of raptor which is less strict about its habitat preferences than the bald eagle.

bald eagle nesting high up
Bald eagles like to build their nests high off the ground (https://pixabay.com/photos/bird-eagle-nest-tree-wild-nature-6655927/)

Bald eagles build their nests at high altitudes. In areas where there are no cliffs or tall trees, they sometimes build nests on artificial structures such as power poles. The height also allows them a better view of their surroundings and potential prey and it is never found far away from water bodies or woodlands. 

These habitats provide all the basic necessities for nesting pairs like fish supplies for feeding chicks and secure locations for protecting them against predators. 

So, if you’re looking for bald eagle nests, keep an eye out for tall trees near water bodies.

How high do eagles build their nests?

Bald eagles build their nests up to 50-125 feet high. off the ground. The height from which an eagle builds its nest varies from region to region. Bald eagles that live in the extreme North, where trees large enough to accommodate an eagle nest are very rare, may build their nest on the ground.

That means a bald eagle’s nest could be as high as 15 to 38 meters off the ground. 

When do bald eagles build their nests?

The bald eagle builds its nest in late winter or early spring. Bald eagles typically build nests in the spring, though they may do so at other times of the year if necessary. 

This time of year is when the eagles’ presence will be most visible as they raise their young. Bald eagles typically have one or two offspring per year. They raise their young in nests.

On average, an eagle will spend about six months building its nest before egg-laying begins. Bald eagles have a two-month incubation period. 

These birds need to build their nests before this period because they need to use them as a shelter during the nesting phase.

Handy Hint: Here’s what you should do if a bald eagle decides to build a nest on your land or property.

The different nests of different Eagles

Different eagle species build their nests in different ways. The size and shape of the nests also vary from species to species.

The bald eagle is one of the most well-known eagle species in North America. Bald eagles typically build their nests out of branches and twigs, and they often incorporate leaves, grasses, and other materials into their nest to help keep them warm and insulated.

Golden eagles are very similar to bald eagles, but they typically build their nests out of heavier materials like mud, gravel, and stones.

Harpy eagles are the largest eagle species in the world, and they build the largest nests of any eagle species. Harpy eagle nests can weigh up to 1,500 pounds and be up to 10 feet wide and 8 feet deep.

The eastern imperial eagle is a rarer species found in southeastern Europe and Central Asia. Imperial eagles build huge nests – some have been documented as being over 6 feet wide and 3 feet deep!

The Spanish imperial eagle is another rarer species, found only in Spain and Morocco. These eagles build their nests out of sticks, grasses, and other materials, and they often decorate the outside of their nests with flowers, fruit, and other items.

Comparison table of nests of different eagles

Eagle speciesNest heightNest locationNest weight
Bald Eagle Nests50 - 125 feet highNorth Americaas much as 1,000 pounds
Golden Eagle Nests0 to 107m off the ground Semi-open habitat(Northern Hemisphere)550 pounds
Harpy Eagle Nests27 to 43m above the groundCentral and South AmericaUp to 1000 pounds
Eastern Imperial Eagle Nests 7 to 26m above the groundSoutheastern Europe and Central Asia450 pounds
Spanish Imperial Eagle Nests 10 to 25m aboveSpain and Morocco450 pounds

Why do bald eagles make their nests near the tops of tall trees?

Bald eagles usually for life, choosing the tops of large trees to build nests, which they typically use and enlarge each year. The main purpose is to make their nests near the tops of tall trees to keep an eye on predators to attack them. They build their nests in tall trees, on cliffs, or on building ledges. This also allows them to be safe from the harsh weather.

Do bald eagles ever nest on the ground?

 Ground-nesting is normal in some treeless regions, such as the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. Directly, building nests on the ground is rare for Bald Eagles, but not unheard of. 

There are reported a few ground nests in forested areas in Florida and Texas and on other islands.

Why do bald eagles build such big nests?

Eagle nests can vary in size greatly.  They are usually about 5-9 feet in diameter, 3-5 feet deep, and composed of large sticks, grass, or corn stalks with thick branches and they should be big enough that hold up to 1,000 pounds of egg weight per square foot of nest space.

Adults sleep in the nest during the breeding season. The feet of eagles feature a unique mechanism that allows them to lock their feet in a fixed posture as they sleep. For that purpose, bald eagles build those big nests that make them more comfortable.

Do bald eagles nest on cliffs?


Bald eagles are majestic and beautiful creatures of nature. They live in North America, Europe, and the Arctic Circle. They are known for their strong hunting skills, but they also love to spend time building nests high up in trees or cliffs near water sources like rivers or lakes.

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Bald eagle nest in header image via https://pixabay.com/photos/nest-bald-eagles-nest-bird-eagle-2643654/

Categorized as Birds