Bald Eagle
Bald Eagles

Bald eagles have a wingspan of 6 to 7 1/2 feet. The sexes are alike, with the female being slightly larger. Bald eagles sit 3 to 3 1/2 feet tall and weigh 8 to 15 pounds. Their eyes are 5 to 6 times more powerful than human’s. Their primary food is fish, and they will nearly always be seen near water. They also eat waterfowl, particularly the sick or injured, and occasionally carrion.

Bald eagles nest from November through April, depending on the latitude. It is believed that eagles mate for life. They frequently return to the same nest site year after year. The stick nests can reach sizes of over 7 feet across, 12 feet deep, and weigh over two tons. Nesting is a very critical time for bald eagles, so do not attempt to approach any nest.

The female lays one to three eggs. Incubation lasts 35-40 days, and the young’s first flight is about 75 days after hatching. Young bald eagles do not obtain the characteristic white head and tail of the adult until they are 4 to 5 years old. Until then, they can be identified in flight by a white diagonal strip under the wing and a spot in the “wingpit.” The belly, head, and tail will go through various mottled stages before reaching the adult markings. The white tail is generally the last adult characteristic to develop.

Fact Sheet: Bald Eagles and Lead Poisoning


+ Bald Eagle Etiquette
+ Historical Perspective
+ Bald Eagle Recovery, Good News
+ Bald Eagles in the Midwest


Bald Eagle Nest Reporting

The DNR is always interested in receiving reports of Bald Eagle Nests in the state. We maintain a database of nests and are interested in keeping it as up to date as possible. The information we are interested in is the exact location of the nest, whether the nest is being used by eagles and if young are present how many and the date of your observation. Please download and use the form below to report on an any Eagle nest:

Bald Eagle Nest Reporting Form
Bald Eagle Nest Reporting Form
How to Identify a Bald Eagle Nest

If you are interested in “adopting” and formally monitoring the nest as a volunteer for the DNR, please visit the Volunteer Wildlife Monitoring Program webpage for information on bird nest monitoring.

To talk to someone about reporting eagle nests in Iowa contact:
Boone Wildlife Research Station
1436 255th St., Boone, IA 50036
515-432-2823 or vwmp@dnr.iowa.gov