I have been observing and following a pair of Eagles for the past 6 years who have been nesting in the Tar River swamp. They have consistently produced 2 chicks each year, and i am told by locals that the nest has been there for the last 14 years. Bald Eagles are extremely loyal to their mates as well as to their nest which is refurbished each year. This nest is at the top of a huge old Cypress tree which is located in a backwater swamp area off the Tar River. It is surrounded by water and is about 100 yards from the nearest dry land. This makes photographing the eagles nesting behavior only possible with a long lens. The photographs below were taken with a Canon 7D camera and a 400mm lens using a 1.4 teleconverter. The nest is about 6 feet wide and 3 feet deep, made of sticks and is deeply lined with fine material such as moss and hay found in the area. Some of this fine material is also used to stuff cracks and bind together the sticks. Eagles normally have 1-3 eggs, the average being 2. The eggs are white to pale blue. The male and female incubate them for about 35 days. The chicks grow rapidly and fledge in 10-12 weeks. Both birds hunt and provide food for the family during this time.
The pair have been engaging in mating behavior for the past 3 weeks, including nest repair and building, romantic interludes, and general bonding activity. Both birds find building material, but placement of the material is left pretty much to the female while the male looks on and provides emotional support!. The building work alternates with romantic trysts and rest periods, and, of course hunting for food. This work schedule goes on from daylight to dark. I have tried to capture this activity in pictures during the past 2 weeks. see pics below.