Live Bald Eagle Cam
ND-LEEF at St. Patrick's County Park–South Bend, Indiana
- Eagles nest building
- Eagles lays not 1...2...but 3 eggs
- Parents fights off returning juvenile
- Eaglet breaks out of egg
- Eaglets feeding
- Eaglet practices flying
- Inside the Nest: Life as a Eaglet
- Learning to Fly: Eagles at ND-LEEF
- ND Research Explores: ND-LEEF
In the spring of 2015, a bald eagle pair took over a red-tailed hawk nest at the Notre Dame Linked Experimental Ecosystem Facility (ND-LEEF) at St. Patrick's County Park and fledged one eaglet. The eagles at ND-LEEF, as well as a pair from Potato Creek State Park, were the first successful bald eagle nests ever recorded in St. Joseph County. The ND-LEEF eagles have since returned and fledged eaglets in 2016 (one eaglet), 2017 (two eaglets), 2018 (two eaglets), and 2019 (three eaglets).
IN-NEST EAGLE CAM
The in-nest eagle camera provides a rare perspective into the day-to-day life of the bald eagles. Installed in 2017, the live camera was mounted above ND-LEEF's bald eagle nest, allowing viewers to watch as the nest is built, as the eggs are being laid and incubated, and as the eaglets hatch and reach the fledging stage!
WHY NEST AT ND-LEEF
The successful nesting of the eagles at ND-LEEF over the past several years is a clear example of how the University of Notre Dame integrates scientific research with care for the environment. The quiet, natural setting and the proximity to the St. Joseph River are key factors that likely attracted the eagles to ND-LEEF. And although eagles are no longer endangered, it is still important to understand their food and habitat needs in a variety of areas so wildlife managers can ensure their continued resurgence across the United States.
Eggs laid in the nest at ND-LEEF.
Each egg averages about 3 inches long by 2 inches wide and weigh about 4 ounces.
Both male and female eagles take turns incubating the eggs, maintaining egg temperature near 100°F.
~5 weeks after eggs laid.
After an incubation period of 35 days, the eaglets peck a small pip hole through their egg shell.
5½ weeks after egg laid.
The eggs hatch.
First 3 weeks out of the egg.
For a few weeks, one parent always remains in the nest, tearing prey into pieces and feeding directly to the eaglets.
4 weeks old.
The eaglets transition from grey fluff to patches of brown feathers, and start to peck at food dropped in the nest.
End of April
5 weeks old.
The eaglets begin to stand and move around the nest.
10 to 12 weeks old.
The eaglets take their first flight, or "fledge," and develop skills for flying and hunting.
In late summer, the eaglets depart from the nest permanently. They are usually nomadic for the first four years of their lives.
5 years old
Bald eagles take five years to mature, and it isn't until they reach maturity that they develop their signature white head and tail feathers.
- Latin name for bald eagles is Haliaeetus leucocephalis – “white-headed sea eagle”
- Named the national bird of the United States since 1782
- Form monogamous, long-term pair bonds, returning to the same nest for several years
- Perch, roost and nest in tall trees with large rivers and other bodies of water nearby
- See fish underwater from 1.5 – 2 miles away
- Can live up to 38 years in the wild
- Males weigh 8 to 9 pounds; while females weigh 10 to 14 pounds
- Develop signature white head and tail at 4-5 years old
- Fly up to 40 mph during normal flight, but can reach speeds of 100 when diving for prey
VISITING THE NEST
Eagles are protected by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act with guidelines on minimizing nest disturbance. Therefore, people interested in viewing the nest must do so from the Morrison Education and Outreach Pavilion located on the north side of ND-LEEF. Please park your vehicles in the St. Patrick's County Park Red Barn parking lot and walk to the Morrison Family Pavilion, entering from the path from the north of the pavilion. VIEW MAP
ND-LEEF began the construction of two new watersheds in the fall of 2019. Once finished, this project will double its capacity, allow the facility to host additional researchers, and support more education and outreach.
The new watersheds were shifted about 300 feet east of where they were initially planned to minimize any disturbance made to the nesting locations of bald eagles that return to ND-LEEF each spring.
Following federal guidelines, construction has been paused during breeding season, in order to allow the eagles to lay their eggs and fledge their young without being disturbed. The construction is expected to resume in August, with completion in Fall 2020.
The arrival of the bald eagle pair at ND-LEEF continues to grow community engagement and education opportunities. For instance, the public is invited to view and learn about the eagles through events such as Breakfast with Eagles and ND-LEEF’s annual Science Sunday. These events enable participants the opportunity to climb in a life-size bald eagle nest, try on fabric eagle wings and observe the nest via binoculars or spotting scope, and more!