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Bald Eagles Turning Eggs

3-16-16 bald eagles turning eggs 094Bald eagles are on their nests, incubating their one-to-three eggs. Although there isn’t much activity at this point, what activity there is, is extremely important to the survival of the embryos inside the eggs. Maintaining the temperature of the eggs is crucial. Bald eagles must incubate their eggs for 35 days. During this time, the eggs must remain at a steady temperature of 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit. If the incubating parent is frightened away from the nest or leaves the nest even very briefly, the egg may become too cold or too hot, depending on the weather.

During the entire incubation period, the eagle parents continuously turn the eggs with their feet and beak. The main function of this action is to prevent the embryos from sticking to the inside of the egg shell. In the early days of incubation, it’s important that the embryo floats inside the egg while the membranes that support its life are growing and developing. Turning optimizes membrane growth. Eventually the membranes will be pressed to each other and to the shell. If these membranes adhere too soon the chick will not be able to move into the hatching position later and get out of the egg.  To see a nesting bald eagle turning eggs, go to

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4 responses

  1. mariagianferrari

    I love bird cams! There are two bald eagles where I live in Loudoun county VA called George & Martha. I enjoy following the Cornell red-tailed hawks year after year. Thanks!

    March 16, 2016 at 11:29 am

  2. I marvel at the evolutionary development of egg turning… how did that ever happen? It is miraculous!

    March 16, 2016 at 9:15 pm

  3. The whole process of incubation is amazing…that birds even know that they need to keep their eggs warm, and can do so by sitting on them…much less turning them! I, too, marvel at it all.

    March 16, 2016 at 9:27 pm

  4. Guy Stoye

    One bald eagle in a treetop at the Danbury Bog three months ago. Not seen again.

    March 18, 2016 at 4:29 pm

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