As far as neighbors go, you could do worse than a pair of nesting Bald Eagles. These neighbors moved in about 10 years ago, building a massive nest in a huge cottonwood tree along the Big Sioux River, less than a mile from our home (a mere 4,400 feet as the crow flies, according to Google Earth!). The first nest lasted a year or two before a flood event felled the big cottonwood, but thankfully, they responded by simply picking another big cottonwood and rebuilding the nest.
If you haven’t seen a Bald Eagle nest, it’s a damned impressive structure! They continually build it up, and it’s pretty amazing to see the size of some of the branches they try to pick up and incorporate into the nest. The nest now has to be 10 feet across, and keeps growing each year. And why not? It seems to be working for them, as they appear to have successfully raised a number of broods over the years.
This year, they’ve been sitting on the nest for a least a month, and I’m sure they once again have eggs. I haven’t seen any lil’ heads poking up yet, so I’m not sure they’ve hatched yet. Now is the perfect time to observe them, and I often have seen the young in the nest. But alas, in a month the cottonwood will have leafed out and made direct observation much more difficult. Often then the next observations you get of the young themselves is when they fledge from the nest, but they always hang around the same tree for quite some time afterwards.
Very cool neighbors! And neighbors that I’d bet most people don’t know are there. The nest itself is hard to miss, given it’s massive size. You can easily see it from the north-south highway running through our town of Brandon. But people around here are always surprised to hear that we have such majestic birds nesting right on the edge of town.