The eagle family is a good example of an animal unit that works together and builds a really strong foundation for the offspring to benefit from and grow up well nourished and provided for.
Making a Nest Is a Team Effort
It all starts at the nest building stage, where the male and female work together to make a nest that can weigh up to two tons. They mostly gather sticks to make their nest, creating a structure that can be several feet wide and a few feet deep. Year after year, if the nest has proven successful, the eagles will add to it, making it larger and stronger. They usually build their nests in trees or on rocks, far from the ground.
Eagles Usually Mate for Life
Eagles are admirable mating partners, as they stick together for life, in most cases. They are also some of the most long-lived birds, so that lifelong partnership is even more impressive. Usually, the only time that eagles will not stick with the same mate is if one of them dies or if the mate does not come back to the nesting area after a period of time. Once the remaining eagle believes the mate is not returning, they will find a new mate quickly, and they will likely use the same nest. Eagles love their nests and are very attached to where they have built them, so unless there is serious danger at the nest site, they are likely to keep using the same site over and over again. This is true even if their nest fails and needs to be rebuilt.
Eggs Are Obsessively Cared for
Eagles are very protective of their young and care for them very well, even when they are still eggs. The average eagle lays 1-3 eggs at a time and only lays that one set of eggs for the year, unless that brood is lost. The eggs take about 35 days to gestate, and they need to be kept warm the entire time until the day they hatch. The male and female eagles will share responsibilities there. When one goes to hunt, the other will sit on the eggs and keep them warm, providing protection and helping the incubation process along.
Baby Eagles Are Expected to Fend for Themselves
Mother and father eagles will bring food for their eagles, but they don’t feed all the baby eagles the same amount. They bring flesh torn from prey, and they give the larger baby eagles the most food. This allows them to develop into even bigger and stronger eagles.
Learning to fly is done by a process known as branching. The baby eagle will teach itself to fly by stepping out on branches and practicing to retain its balance. If the baby falls as it branches, the parents will catch it and return it to the nest. Baby eagles will learn to fly through a sometimes painful process, going for short flights that can leave them with a few bumps as they learn how to fly. But they imitate and watch their parents and quickly learn how to tuck their legs, soar on the breeze and fly like a pro.