Baby Bald Eagles: All You Need to Know

Baby bald eagles up close

Baby Bald Eagles are some of the most endearing yet fierce little birds you can encounter. These eaglets can grow into the strong, large, and majestic birds of prey we know.

The Bald Eagle is one of the most popular and well-known birds across the country. Their beautiful features, striking presence, and confident disposition are some of the factors that set them apart from other raptors.

If you’re curious to learn about these majestic birds and their transformation from baby Bald Eagles to full-grown adults, this article features everything there is to know.

What Does a Baby Bald Eagle Look Like?

Bald eagle looking after her tiny babies

Baby Bald Eagles typically have egg-shaped heads, deep black eyes, and yellow talons with sharp dark tips. They have thick and fluffy downs, the feathers at the base of the skin under the outer layer of tough feathers.

Baby eagles also have a pronounced egg tooth, which is a unique tip on the beak used to pierce through the eggshell upon hatching. The egg tooth typically only lasts around 5 to 7 days after hatching.

What Color Are Baby Bald Eagles?

Baby Bald Eagles typically have thick downs that may come in grey, white, or brown. Their beaks come in a very light shade of yellow at the base and fade into a dark black toward the tips.

The feet or talons of baby eagles are yellow and remain the same color even after they have reached maturity. Their feathers, on the other hand, change from grey to brown and white on their bodies and heads once they mature.

Baby Bald Eagle Pictures and Videos

This section of the article features several pictures of baby Bald Eagles during their different life stages and videos to give you a better look at what they typically look like.

A Bald Eagle mother looking after its baby eagles:

Bald eagle mother looking after its baby eagles

Baby Bald Eagles in their nest:

Baby bald eagles in their nest

A pair of Bald Eagle parents feeding their nestlings:

A pair of bald eagle parents feeding their nestlings

A Bald Eagle fledgling preparing to take flight:

A juvenile bald eagle in mid take off

A juvenile Bald Eagle in mid-take-off:

A bald eagle fledgling preparing to take flight

The first of two baby Bald Eagles hatching caught on camera:

First Of Two Baby Bald Eagles Hatches On Camera | NBC News

An up-close video of baby Bald Eagles in their nest with their parents:

Highlights of Cute Baby Eaglets From D.C.’s Eagle Cam | National Geographic

Baby Bald Eagles being fed by their mother eagle:

Eagle cam spots baby bald eagles born and fed near Dulles Airport | USA TODAY

A young Bald Eagle taking flight for the first time:

Young Eagle Flies for the First Time | BBC Earth

It is important to keep in mind that these photos and videos were captured at safe distances. When encountering an adult, juvenile, or baby Bald Eagle, always maintain distance for their safety and your own.

What Is a Baby Bald Eagle Called?

Regardless of the species, a baby eagle is called an eaglet or a nestling. Once they leave the nest and become capable of flying, young Bald Eagles are referred to as fledglings.

Six months after the fledgling stage, the young eagles begin to molt, and they are then referred to as juvenile eagles, the stage before eagle adulthood.

What Is a Group of Baby Bald Eagles Called?

Baby bald eagles on their nest

A group of baby Bald Eagles, or any eagle species, can be called eaglets, fledglings, or nestlings. Meanwhile, a group of adult eagles is often referred to as an aerie, soar, or convocation.

How Big Is a Baby Bald Eagle?

Baby eagles are very tiny compared to full-grown Bald Eagles. Baby Bald Eagles are typically only 4 to 5 inches tall after hatching. Regardless of the species and how large a raptor grows, eaglets are only a few inches at birth.

Even the largest eagles in the world, such as the Steller’s Sea Eagle, the Philippine Eagle, and the Harpy Eagle, have eaglets that only measure a few inches after hatching.

How Much Do Baby Bald Eagles Weigh?

Two baby bald eagles side by side

Like other species of eaglets, baby Bald Eagles typically weigh around 0.22 pounds. Although they may weigh three times more than a duckling or a chick, they are still incredibly small and light compared to their adult size.

Baby Bald Eagles are usually lighter than other types of baby eagles. This includes the baby Golden Eagle weighing around 0.23 to 0.25 pounds.

What Do Baby Bald Eagles Eat?

Baby Bald Eagles are typically fed red meat as soon as they are born. Unlike other kinds of birds, Bald Eagle parents only tear the food into smaller pieces and feed them directly to the eaglets instead of regurgitating them.

Initially, the male Bald Eagle parent is mainly responsible for hunting and gathering food for the eaglets. After one to two weeks, the mother Bald Eagle joins to gather more food, especially if prey is scarce.

How Do Bald Eagles Feed Their Babies?

Bald eagle feeding its baby

Parent Bald Eagles hunt or gather the food, tear it into smaller pieces, then feed them directly to the mouths of the baby Bald Eagles using their hooked beaks.

The first baby Bald Eagle to hatch is fed on the first day and immediately gains a size advantage over the succeeding eaglets.

Baby eagles are typically fed around one to eight times a day. The larger baby eagles are usually prioritized during feeding, which gives them a higher chance to survive swiftly during their growth and development.

During the first few days after hatching, the female Bald Eagle feeds the baby eagles with the food brought by the male Bald Eagle. As the eaglets grow, both parents begin foraging for food.

In the first month after hatching, the female Bald Eagle typically brings more food to the nest than the male Bald Eagle. The female eagle still tears the food for the eaglets and assists in feeding them.

During the succeeding months, the baby Bald Eagles learn to tear the food brought by their parents and feed themselves independently.

Do Baby Bald Eagles Have Predators?

Aside from human beings, baby Bald Eagles have very few predators or natural enemies. One factor contributing to their low predator count is their mother eagle’s protection.

Since female Bald Eagles are larger than males and several other raptors, they can efficiently protect their baby eagles. Defending and protecting baby eagles is the main responsibility of a female Bald Eagle.

When left unprotected, baby Bald Eagles are usually preyed upon by crows, hawks, gulls, owls, and other eagles. Occasionally, low nests may be attacked by land animals such as raccoons and black bears.

What Do Bald Eagle Eggs Look Like?

Bald eagle eggs in the wild

Unlike other bird eggs, Bald Eagle eggs are white with a pale tan hue and often have small brown spots and patches randomly scattered around the exterior of the shell.

Baby eagle eggs grow up to 2.7 to 3 inches, similar to the size of a tennis ball or baseball. Other large raptors, such as the California Condor and Philippine Eagle, also have very small eggs despite their large adult sizes.

How Many Eggs Do Bald Eagles Lay?

Generally, Bald Eagles lay two eggs. Nonetheless, other pairs may lay up to three eggs, while on rare occasions, some Bald Eagle pairs only lay one egg.

A pair of Bald Eagles typically lay a single clutch of eggs every nesting season. However, if, for some reason, one of the eggs or the entire clutch is lost early in the season, the pair may lay another clutch.

Eagle pairs in northern areas with colder weather usually experience difficulty in laying another clutch if the first one was lost. Their breeding season is narrowed due to the cold weather, which can lower eaglet survival.

How Long Does It Take Bald Eagle Eggs to Hatch?

Bald eagle hatching

Baby Bald Eagles typically have long incubation periods. This process usually takes 35 days, after which the first egg hatches. The rest of the eggs typically hatch at the same time.

The difference in time for when an egg will hatch is due to the female immediately incubating the first egg as soon as it is laid, giving that particular egg a head start in embryo formation.

Generally, female Bald Eagles lay a full clutch within 3 to 6 days. Hence, all the eggs hatch approximately within the same time. In some cases, female Bald Eagles may lay eggs on successive days, making the interval larger.

Baby eagles typically crack their shells open independently without assistance from either Bald Eagle parent.

When Do Bald Eagles Lay Eggs?

Bald eagle pairs typically copulate during the final stages of nest construction. The first egg is usually laid around 5 to 10 days after copulation, and it takes at least two days before another egg is laid.

If the female Bald Eagle lays three eggs, the entire clutch is typically laid around five to six days.

Can Baby Bald Eagles Fly?

Baby bald eagle attempting to fly

The ability of a baby Bald Eagle to fly primarily depends on its age. A baby eagle that has just hatched or is simply a few days old is not yet capable of flying, especially on its own.

When Can Baby Bald Eagles Fly?

Generally, baby Bald Eagles typically learn how to fly independently at around 10 to 14 weeks old.

The parent Bald Eagles usually encourage the young Bald Eagles to fly and leave the nest, but they won’t become fully independent for another 2 to 3 months and longer for other bird species.

When Do Baby Bald Eagles Leave Their Nests?

Bald eagle leaving its nest

Baby Bald Eagles usually fledge and leave the nest at around 10 to 14 weeks. However, this does not mean they truly leave the nest for good and no longer return.

Although baby eagles are somewhat independent of their Bald Eagle parents as early as 3 to 4 months after hatching, several young Bald Eagles stay with their parents until the next winter or spring.

Do Baby Bald Eagles Kill Their Siblings?

Unfortunately, baby Bald Eagles do tend to be very aggressive toward each other and may kill each other in the process. Some baby eagles engage in fights for food or space, while others choose to grow together.

When food is abundant, baby Bald Eagles typically get along well since there is no need to fight over portions. On the other hand, when food is scarce, baby eagles most likely fight for survival to avoid starvation.

How Long Do Baby Bald Eagles Stay With Their Parents?

Baby bald eagle beside its parent

It has been observed among Bald Eagles across North America that baby eagles fledge the nest between 10 and 14 weeks after hatching.

The length of time before baby Bald Eagles fledge their nest is often influenced by the time of hatching, availability of food, and sex.

Generally, the first baby eagle to hatch develops faster and typically leaves the nest soonest. Various observations also show that male baby Bald Eagles leave the nest sooner than females.

How Long Does It Take for a Baby Bald Eagle to Reach Maturity?

Baby Bald Eagles typically grow quickly. Once they have reached full skeletal maturity at around 10 to 14 weeks, baby Bald Eagles are prepared to leave the nest.

Other birds may take longer to fully develop into adulthood, which usually takes around 4 to 6 months.

A year after hatching, baby Bald Eagles are referred to as juveniles, the stage before adulthood. They continue to develop muscle mass for over a year. Other birds, such as the White-tailed Eagle, can take up to eight years.

How Many Baby Bald Eagles Survive to Adulthood?

A group of bald eagle almost into adulthood

Bald eagles typically lay around 2 to 3 eggs at a time, and studies have shown that only half of the baby eagles typically survive to adulthood. This may vary depending on the environment and supply of food available.

I once had the chance to work with a group of researchers who focused on studying how female Bald Eagles care for their young.

One of their major observations was that first-born eaglets tend to live up to adulthood, with a good chance of reaching their average lifespan of 20 to 30 years.

This is because they are fed sooner, tend to be larger, and are given priority when feeding. This is particularly the case when food is scarce.

If you’ve had an encounter with a baby eagle, we’d love to hear all about your experience in the comments below! All questions regarding the baby Bald Eagle are also welcome.

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