First eaglet spotting in 2024 by the Forest Preserve District of Will County

Eagle sitting in a nest with its eaglet below them and unseen in Will County.
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The Forest Preserve District of Will County has been monitoring four active bald eagle nests, and can now confirm that at least one of the nesting pairs is tending to an eaglet. 

Eaglet confirmed in Will County

On Thursday, longtime volunteer Joel Craig was monitoring one of the nests, where he saw a female eagle change position, and rip off some pieces of what was likely fish. Although Craig didn’t see the eaglet, it was clear that the adult was feeding its offspring.

This nest was the first one confirmed to have eagles incubating eggs. The forest preserve says the three other nests are at least a week behind. 

It will still be a while until any eaglet heads are seen popping out of the nests. Eagle nests are four feet to five feet wide and two feet to four feet deep, weighing up to 1,000 pounds. Nests are used year after year until they collapse, or break the tree.

Increase in the Eagle population across Will County

It’s common for bald eagles to lay one to three eggs. The Forest Preserve District of Will County has been monitoring one of the nests since 2019, which has produced 11 offspring. 

An increase in the immature bald eagle population in the winter indicates the ones seen now are residents and not migratory birds, according to forest preserve officials.

“To see eagles rebound like they have in this area in the past 10 years has been pretty exciting,” Craig said in a news release. “To be threatened and endangered when I was a kid to what we’re seeing now, it’s really a population explosion in our area over the past few years.”

The Forest Preserve District of Will County reminds everyone that eagles and their nests are federally protected and human interactions could cause them to leave their nests and eggs. The National Audubon Society says to stay 330 feet away from a nest, about the length of a football field.

Photo courtesy: Joel Craig and the Forest Preserve District of Will County

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