Seven eaglets now hatched in Will County Forest Preserves

Eaglet in nest with bald eagle parent next to it
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The Forest Preserve District of Will County has confirmed there are seven eaglets in four bald eagle nests on its premises.

Six of the eaglets are growing quickly and are easily visible in their nests, while the last one is “fairly small and hard to see” after recently hatching.

New eagles “won’t stray too far from home”

Will County Audubon member and forest preserve volunteer Joel Craig said the larger number of immature bald eagles in the winter shows the ones hatching will be residents, not migrants.

“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 from the forest preserve. “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.”

Craig added the surge in eagle population is evidence the local forest preserves have clean water and a healthy fish population year-round.

First time for four active nests in Will County preserves

This is the first time the county has had four active nests.

Bald eagles usually lay one to three eggs. One nest has created 11 eaglets since 2019.

A typical eagle nest is four to five feet wide and two to four feet deep. They can weigh up to 1,000 pounds. That extreme weight is what makes them prone to collapse.

Do not approach an eagle nest

Will County officials warn residents not to approach an eagle nest, as human interference can cause an eagle to abandon its nest. For that reason, the forest preserve does not disclose nest locations to the public.

Each eagle nest is monitored by Will County staff and trusted volunteers.

The National Audubon Society recommends keeping a distance of approximately 100 yards from an eagle’s nest. Nest locations are federally protected.

Photo courtesy: Bertrand Leclercq

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