Bald eagles and great horned owls nest early because they need so much time to raise a family. Typical clutch size is two or three eggs, and two days usually separates the laying of each egg. Incubation can last up to 35 days, and the young remain in the nest for up to 10 weeks. After fledging, young bald eagles and great horned owls are cared for by their parents for several months until they become independent. That leaves the juvenile birds just a month or two to perfect their hunting skills before winter arrives.
Seen singly and at a distance, a bald eagle's size is deceptive, but these are huge birds. They stand about 31 inches tall, have a 6.5 ft. wingspan, and weight almost 10 pounds. Great horned owls, on the other hand, are big for an owl, but dwarfed by a bald eagle. Great horned owls stand about 22 inches tall, have a 3.5 ft. wingspan, and weigh just three pounds.
To find more nest cams as the nesting season approaches, search online for "_____ nest cam" and fill in the blank with a species of interest. Cavity-nesting birds are particularly easy to video, so there are many nest cams for bluebirds, barn owls, kestrels, and other cavity-nesters. More that I know will becoming online this spring include great blue herons and red-tailed hawks in New York, ospreys in New Jersey, peregrine falcons in many locations, kestrels in Idaho, bluebirds in Pennsylvania, and loons in Minnesota.
For one of my favorite nest cams, visit www.phoebeallens.com. This camera is trained on an Allen's hummingbird nest in Orange County, California. The nesting season runs from October through May when Phoebe may raise as many as four broods. The nest is located in a rose bush in the host's backyard. The nest cam has been up since 2007, and millions from around the world have watched this nest.
Thanks to web cams, anyone with an Internet connection can observe active bird nests for the next eight months. Enjoy.
Biologist, author and broadcaster Dr. Scott Shalaway can be heard 8 to 10 a.m. Saturdays on 1370 WVLY-AM (Wheeling) or online at www.wvly.net. Or visit his web site www.drshalawaycom or contact him directly at sshala...@aol.com or 2222 Fish Ridge Road, Cameron, WV 26033.