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Bald Eagles of Alaska - Section: 13 Page: 96 - Perspectives on the Breeding Biology of Bald Eagles in Southeast Alaska

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In early spring, breeding activity resumes and eagles spend more time in their territories. I have seen activities such as talon-locking, nest building and copulation in early March, although the majority of the breeding population doesn't exhibit this behavior until late March or early April. Before egg laying, territoriality does not seem to be rigorously enforced. Adults are still floating between food patches and an intruding adult on a pair's nesting territory is often ignored. Nest-building or maintenance is a major activity for eagles before egg laying. Nests are built up by adding sticks or nest lining (moss or grass). Although nest maintenance is carried out throughout the summer, most of the re-building occurs in the spring. Pairs building a completely new nest often dedicate much of their springtime activities to carrying nesting material and working on the new nest. Rates of nest loss (due to windthrow) has been estimated to be about 6 10 annually (Hodges 1982). Thus, most of the nest-building activities observed in the spring are for maintenance or building up of old nests. Bald Eagle nest with commanding view of Southeast Alaska waters. Photo by Scott Gende. The density of nest structures is very high along saltwater shores in Southeast, as territorial pairs often have more than one nest in their territory. I know of one nesting pair that has five nest structures in their territory. This is a far cry from some populations elsewhere in the country, where a lower density of eagles allow for a larger territory (and

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Tag: carried carrying copulation hodges nests territoriality

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