California Bald Eagles Take Turns Protecting Their Eggs From Snow

Bald eagles

Gotta keep those babies warm.

California isn’t known for a large population of bald eagles. For its size, the state actually only known to have a few hundred, whereas places like Alaska, Minnesota and Wisconsin have thousands. There tends to be more during the winter months as they will move south for better weather and hunting.

California also isn’t generally known for their snow. Most people tend to think of the sunny beaches, but of course, California has some great skiing in the mountains of the Sierra Nevada and San Bernardino Mountains

Either way, bald eagles are ready to handle the snow, as they have thick feathers and a large body that helps them stay warm.

Eagles egg laying is during winter months in southern regions but in spring/summer the farther north you get. It is a weather dependent thing in some ways. They are equipped to handle the situation though, as they use their thick feathers and large body to keep the eggs warm. They will also use snow and other materials to build a nest and insulate the eggs from the cold.

Either way, it’s something I’ve never seen before.

A male eagle is seen sitting in the nest as his partner flies in to check out what is going on. He stands up and reveals two eggs that he is keeping warm during a winter snowstorm.

The pair of eagles switch places so the other could eat.

The teamwork.

According to the description, this eagle pair, Shadow and Jackie, are located near Big Bear, California, in the San Bernardino Mountains:

“Now that there are 2 eggs, Shadow seems to be more comfortable with sitting on them. With 1 egg he often looked nervous about the egg and did lots of walking around it and staring at it before actually sitting down.

But today, he looked right at home and even put up a bit of a complaint when Jackie came back to take over. This afternoon around 12:30 pm, Jackie finally took a well-deserved break—she had been on the nest since 9:30 am yesterday–27 hours!

During that time, she was riding out the long snowy storm, laying her 2nd egg in the middle of the storm, and making sure her 2 eggs stayed safe and warm through the long, snowy night. She must really trust Shadow because she almost never lets anyone else sit on the eggs during a storm. But today, she let him take over for almost an hour and a half.

Before getting off the eggs, she called out to Shadow and apparently got confirmation that he was nearby. When she left, he arrived at the nest only 2 minutes later to take his turn. As soon as he rolled the eggs, he sat right down and tucked in low, rocking to make sure the eggs were snuggly fit into his brood pouch.

During nesting, bald eagles lose some of the feathers on their chest, creating a little area where the eggs can fit close to the skin to be warmed by the eagle’s high body temperature.

When Jackie came back after her break, Shadow chortled out his complaint that it was still his turn. He didn’t move off the eggs and tried a few times to dissuade Jackie from making him get up. She was patient with him but when she started moving closer, he knew he wasn’t going to win.

He let her take over and flew off the back porch, then did some fancy flying through the falling snow behind her as she settled in on the eggs.”

These animals are just out here constantly braving the elements.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock