Bald eagles are experiences one of their best captive breeding years at the American Eagle Foundation (AEF) of Pigeon Forge, TN. Six bald eagle pairs have produced 14 eggs, of which 12 could hatch after 35 days. The eaglets will be placed in AEF’s Douglas Lake hack tower at 6 to 8 weeks age. The 25-foot high hack tower has four hack cages. Each cage is 8x8x8-feet and can accommodate up to 3 eaglets at a time, or a total of 12 in all four cages. The eagles will be released at approximately 13 weeks age, when they will be first capable of flight. They will already have a full adult size, with a wing span of 6.5 to 7.5 feet.
As of March 27, 2011, each bald eagle pair had produced the following results and prospects (watch for updates):
- Sarasota, FL Wild Nest – On 12/13/10, 2 eggs transferred to an AEF incubator from a light pole platform at a Sarasota, FL baseball stadium. One egg hatched at AEF on 12/29/10; other egg infertile. Eaglet fed with puppet until moved to hack cage at 6.3 weeks age. Release expected late March.
- Peace & Faithful – 2 eggs found on March 1 and 5, but later egg was broken. Hatch expected about 4/5/11, with release near July 4.
- Brave Heart & Honor – 3 eggs found March 1, 5, & 7. Releases expected near July 4.
- Freedom & Faithful Spirit – 2 eggs found March 5 and 11.
- Medina & Un-named male – 2 eggs found March 18 and 21.
- Independence (formerly called Bonispae) & Franklin – Nest on live nest cam at http://www.eagles.org. 3 eggs found – March 23 , 26, & 29. First egg temporarily moved to AEF incubator due to nearby construction. Hatch expected about April 27 and 30. Eaglets to be transferred to hack cage by 6 weeks age and released by late July.