Nesting Eagles In A Snowstorm

Back in April 2017, we had a nesting pair of eagles.

Similar to this year, they’d gotten off to an early start due to a bit of a warmer than normal spring. Everything seemed to be going according to schedule. They shared egg-sitting duties on the nest . . .

One eagle flies in to sit on the eggs, as its partner flies off to stretch its wings.

They called back and forth to each other.

I remember how much I couldn’t wait to see the chicks! At this point, they only had two weeks to go.

Then came a worrisome weather report. After two weeks of 40 and 50 degree weather, a major snowstorm was due. Two feet of heavy wet snow.

High winds.

The works!

Just like today’s prediction with this year’s nesting eagles.

I was so worried! Would the nest hold the extra weight? What if mama eagle got hungry? Would she stay on the eggs? Could she keep the water and snow off them? The questions rolled around my brain like a snowball getting bigger and bigger.

I rushed to the lake’s edge to snap “before” photos. She didn’t seem too worried.

The next day, about halfway through the storm, I couldn’t take not knowing what was happening at the nest! I donned my snowshoes and headed for the lake again.

This is the sight that greeted me.

Where did she go?

I worried all night. The next morning, I snowshoed out at first light. There’s a spot in our trail halfway to the water, which has a view of the lake through the trees at a higher elevation. This is the photo I took, with my 600mm lens extended as far as it would go, and then I cropped the photo on top of that.

Still, I couldn’t see her!

At the edge of the lake, I tried again to focus in. Still, I didn’t see her.

But when I got home, and started going through my photos, zooming in on them one by one, I came across the most amazing behavior! She was there, under all that snow! Not only that, but she had just endured 18 hours of 40 mile-an-hour winds in that nest, as it swayed back and forth! Can you imagine?

When I present at schools and I show students these slides, I use it as an example of what amazing parents eagles are.

And yes, they did go on to have one chick that year!

Although sadly, they failed to nest in 2018 and 2019. THIS year, they are nesting again! And today, we are getting a foot of wet, heavy snow! I’ll keep you posted on how they do.

Come back again for more updates!

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2 Responses to Nesting Eagles In A Snowstorm

  1. Chuck Marsters says:

    You are so gifted to see and record the Wild Wonders of our Earth! Thank you for sharing the Great stories, through pictures and words! Chuck

    • Tamra says:

      Thank you Chuck! I’m so glad you got some enjoyment from my blog. I’ve been going through my old photos, looking for wildlife stories to share with my students to help keep them upbeat and motivated to be outdoors. It’s helping me as well!

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