Norfolk Botanical Garden eagles build cozy new nest.
A pair of eagles are hatching another family this nesting season at Norfolk Botanical Garden
Maybe Mom is tired of the floor plan or wants a better view.
Whatever the reason, Dad is determined to keep her happy, so the eagles are building a new nest for the eaglets they will raise this season at Norfolk Botanical Garden. This is the eighth year they have nested together at the gardens in Norfolk.
Last year, the female eagle laid the first of three eggs on Jan. 31, so the pair works daily to get the new quarters in order before their nurturing duties begin.
But, sometimes they slack off, according to the "nuzzle, nuzzle" entry that the Center for Conservation Biology features on its eagle nest blog at http://eaglenest.blogs.wm.edu
"Not much nest building this morning," reads the blog.
"Male brought one small stick, hung around long enough to get a little lovey-dovey from mom, then left. She got tired of waiting for him to return so went after her own stick. After getting that in place, she left about 8am."
To make sure you can see everything that happens in the nest late January through late May, when the eaglets usually fledge, the botanical garden is moving its "live eagle cam" to the new location, and will have it set up for online viewing later this month. The camera was placed in the nest tree, about 15 feet from the nest itself. Biologists were there to direct camera placement, and clean up the equipment; you can see what the camera looks like in photos on the eagle nest blog.
The newly constructed site marks the third nest that the eagles have built within the botanical garden, according to Stephen Living, watchable wildlife biologist for the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries.
"It is normal for eagles to maintain multiple nests within the same territory and to periodically switch between them," says Living.
Why the eagles decided to build another nest is always a guessing game, agrees Reese Lukei, research associate at the Center for Conservation Biology at the College of William and Mary.
"But, some factors likely are damage to a prior nest or nest tree, disturbance from other animals or people, insect infestation, insufficient foraging success or just a change of venue," he says.
"Only the last factor appears to be why the botanical garden eagles have built a new nest."
All of the nest sites are within approximately 220 feet of each other. The new nest is about 5 to 6 feet wide, according to Lukei. The parents continue to bring sticks and bedding material like pine straw, and will add to the nest as needed throughout the breeding season
In December, botanical garden and inland and game fisheries staff set up protective barriers around the nest to protect the breeding ground. Recent eagle nest blog posts mention the pair meeting on the "love branch," nuzzling a lot, for sure.
Watch the nest
•See photos of the eagles building the new nest at the Center for Conservation Biology's eagle nest blog at http://eaglenest.blogs.wm.edu