We used a remote video recording system and direct observation to quantify provisioning rate and adult and nestling behavior at Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) nests in north-central Wisconsin in 1992 (N = 5) and 1993 (N = 8). Eagles nesting in this region have a high reproductive rate (??? 1.3 young/occupied territory), and the number of occupied territories has expanded nearly three-fold since 1980. The season-long provisioning rate averaged 5.2 prey deliveries/nest/d and 3.0 prey deliveries/nestling/d, and did not vary by year or with nestling number or age. Fish (Osteichthyes) made up 97% of identified prey deliveries followed by reptiles (Reptilia) (1.5%), birds (Aves) (1.2%), and mammals (Mammalia) (0.6%). Nearly 85% of prey items were >15 cm and <45 cm and 13% were <15 cm in length. Adult attendance (time ??? adult was at the nest) at nestling age 2-4 wk was >90% of the day and was negatively correlated with nestling age. Time adults spent feeding nestlings was negatively correlated with nestling age. Nestlings stood or sat in the nest >30% of the day, began to feed themselves, and exhibited increased mobility in the nest at 6-8 wk. We identified three stages of the nestling period and several benchmarks that may be useful when scheduling data collection for comparison of Bald Eagle nesting behavior. Our results support the hypothesis that food was not limiting this breeding population of Bald Eagles. ?? 2002 The Raptor Research Foundation, Inc.
Additional publication details
Provisioning rates and time budgets of adult and nestling Bald Eagles at Inland Wisconsin nests