2021 Bald Eagle Nesting Updates

As part of the Bald Eagle Nest Watch program, staff and volunteers have been monitoring an active bald eagle nest found within the 1000 Islands Conservancy Zone. Stay up to date with the highlights and important moments of the nesting season here.

In order to give the eaglets the best chance of survival, it is important to limit disturbance to the nest. The nest is difficult to find and see, and the specific nest location will not be released publicly in order to prevent disturbance to the nest site and property owners bordering the Conservancy Zone. The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (16 U.S.C. 668-668c) prohibits disturbance to the eagles or the nesting site, including coming within 300 feet of an active nest tree, and the use of drones to view a nest. 1000 Islands Conservancy Zone includes 350 acres of protected land with ongoing restoration and educational activities.

1000 Islands has had active nests located in and around the Conservancy Zone since 1988. Learn more about the history of our nesting eagles here.


July 8, 2021

Today’s monitoring session resulted in an empty nest! As expected, the remaining two eaglets have fledged from the nest since the last time we observed the nest.

There were two adults perched in the area of the nest tree. The adults will continue to bring the young eaglets food as the improve their flying skills.

We were able to spot one fledgling near the nest. It is likely that all four fledglings will hang out in the nest area for the next few weeks. This brings the end of our official nest monitoring season. Plans are already underway for the 2022 nest watch season and we hope to keep bringing you more exciting developments!

July 3, 2021

The nest looked a little roomier this morning! An early morning monitoring session revealed what looked like only two eaglets in the nest. We believe that 2 of the eaglets likely fledged since the last monitoring session. We were not able to spot those two in the monitoring area, but will continue to keep an eye out for them as we continue to watch the nest for the last two to fledge in the coming days. Click here for a short video from today’s monitoring session.

June 30, 2021

It’s feeding time! It has been a while since we have seen an adult make a food delivery, but we were able to to watch it happen today. What a bunch of hungry birds! Check out the video here.

June 27, 2021

We have branching! Throughout the majority of the monitoring session this weekend, there was little activity. However, at the end a slight breeze picked up and the eaglets took advantage to work on their skills. You can see two of the eaglets venture out onto one of the branches here. Fledging will likely happen soon!

June 9, 2021

With the eaglets getting so big it is pretty easy to get a visual on all 4 of them during a monitoring session. It makes us all breathe a little easier to know that they are all still doing well. We can’t wait to see what the next few weeks bring!! Today’s video shows quite a bit of activity in the nest.

June 5, 2021

We had good sightings of 2 adults today. Really wishing we could see all 3 adults together again. As we wait for another “triple” sighting, we continue to enjoy watching the eaglets bounce around. Check out today’s video. It seems we all have that one over rambunctious sibling…

June 4, 2021

All four eaglets continue to grow. There has been lots of wing flapping and hop flights over the past week. By our hatching estimations, the eaglets should be around 9 weeks old now. We would expect them to start branching, moving from the nest to a branch to flap their wings and jump off, soon. That will be the final step before fledging. Check out their progress here.

May 24, 2021

Look at those wings! We had some great views of all four eaglets today before they decided to hunker down for a nap. In today’s video, you can see some wing flapping around the 2:20 mark. The eaglet is working on those wing muscles and coordination and get some “hop flight” in as well. Almost like a toddler cruising around furniture before walking on their own, our eaglets are working on their skills for that first flight from the nest.

May 22, 2021

The eaglets are growing very quickly! All four seem to be doing well. Over the past 10 days we have seen self-feeding and wing flapping. All great signs that they are continuing to grow and each day brings us a little closer to them fledging the nest. Here’s is a short video to show how big they are getting. All of that growing must be hard work, as we often see them seemingly napping as well. It’s hard to imagine, but even with four eaglets, there’s plenty of space for them to become virtually invisible in the nest when they are resting. See below for a “nap time” photo.

May 12, 2021

Those eaglets are continuing to thrive! All four eaglets could be seen in the nest today even though there wasn’t much activity during the monitoring session. All still appear to be doing well and we are getting even closer to the 6 week mark! Only one eagle was observed in the nest, but all three adult eagles were in the nest area. Enjoy a couple of small video clips here.

May 7, 2021

There were some great views of at least 2 adults and all 4 eaglets today. Check out some of the video here. They are growing quickly! Based on our estimated April 2 hatch date, these young eagles have reached the 4 week mark. When eaglets successfully reach the age of 6 weeks, their chance of fledging the nest is pretty good.

May 5, 2021

Although it’s a short video from today, it looks like we can once again observe four individual eaglets in the nest!

May 4, 2021

 Photo courtesy of Jenni Klemp

During today’s monitoring session, one eagle was perched in a tree near the nest. One eaglet popped its head up after a few minutes of observation. Eventually, two adults came to the nest and started feeding at least 3 young. Signs of the eaglets self-feeding were observed. That’s an important step in their growth and development.

May 2, 2021

Photo courtesy of Jeni Marciniak

With the increased excitement over the nest, we are trying to monitor more often. Only 2 adults and 3 eaglets were spotted during this monitoring session. That doesn’t mean that there are only three there as it can be rather difficult to get a thorough look inside the nest when monitoring from a distance.

May 1, 2021 – How many adults??

The excitement continues at the 1000 Islands bald eagle nest. Our monitoring session on Saturday caught not one, not two, but THREE adults on the nest at the same time. Occurrences like this are uncommon, but not unheard of. There is a great article from Audubon that made the rounds a couple of years ago about a trio of adult eagles co-parenting in a single nest in Illinois.

For this particular nest we immediately start wondering if there are two females that perhaps shared in egg laying, adding up to four eaglets, or are their two males? We aren’t quite sure just yet, but we will continue to look for signs that will help us determine the sex of the adults. Unfortunately, male and female bald eagles look almost identical. Females tend to be a little larger, have a more robust beak and a more defined brow. All things that are difficult to determine while observing at a safe distance. Video that confirmed the trio of adults gives a first impression that the third eagle landing on the nest appears to be a little smaller than the other two. We will continue to observe and try to determine the make-up of this trio. No mater what, we are all more hopeful that three adults will be able to keep up with feeding four eaglets.

April 30, 2021 – Feeding Time

We finally lucked out and were able to watch a feeding session. Watch a video of it here. One of the adults returned to the nest with food for the eaglets. They all feasted for about 20 minutes. It great to see everyone still looking healthy. It is a big job to keep all four eaglets fed. Thankfully, there should be plenty of fish in the river to sustain them as long as the adults are successful hunters and scavengers. Gizzard shad are a favorite food source.

April 28, 2021 – Anxiously watching

With the excitement of four eaglets in the nest we are trying to increase the time spent monitoring. Staff got out to do two monitoring sessions today in hopes of getting a glimpse of all four eaglets as well as watching for feeding to see how well all four of them are eating. Our first monitoring session just missed what looked like the tail end of some feeding. No feeding observed in the second session either, but we were able to get some good video. There isn’t a point where you can clearly see all four heads at once, but if you watch carefully starting at about 1:14 you can see what looks to be 4 individual heads pop up for a moment. Hopefully one of our monitoring sessions will catch some feeding action to give us a better indication of how all of the eaglets are doing.

April 24, 2021 – Confirmed Quads

After another monitoring session and reviewing video of the nest, we have been able to confirm that there are four chicks in the nest! This is an extremely rare occurrence for bald eagles. To our knowledge, there have only been 3 other documented nests with 4 chicks in the United States. We will be watching closely to see how they do.

April 23, 2021 – View of Chicks

Two eaglets were visibly eating and active, but the 3rd eaglet was smaller and off to the side. One adult was spending more time feeding the first two eaglets, then the second adult came to the nest and the first adult flew to perch in a nearby tree. Exciting to see 3!

April 11, 2021 – Feeding

Two adult eagles in the area either in the nest tree or soaring overhead. Video shows the adults feeding into the nest. This is a great confirmation of hatching. No visual on the eaglets just yet.

April 2, 2021 – Brooding

Initially seemed that the adult on the nest was just incubating but she/he moved several times during the hour. At the end of my hour, the other adult came to the nest and both birds spent about 1 minute looking into the nest. No feeding evidence was seen but with all the movement in the nest I thought an egg may be hatching.

February 28, 2021 – Incubation

Incubation is noticed for the first time. Adult eagle is in the nest when monitoring session started and then second eagle flew in and took over incubation duties.

February 3, 2021 – Start of Monitoring Season

Many juveniles in the area. Spotted 2 adult eagles during the monitoring session, but they did not interact. One adult perched in the nest tree for a short time at the end of the monitoring session. No nesting or breeding activity noticed.