Nebraska Ornithologists' Union


Date of this Version



Wingfield, "A Second Bald Eagle Nest in Nebraska," from Nebraska Bird Review (June 1988) 56(2).


Copyright 1988, Nebraska Ornithologists' Union. Used by permission.


The Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) in Nebraska is considered an uncommon migrant and locally common winter resident. Formerly, the species was a common breeder in eastern Nebraska (Johnsgard, 1986). The only previously known modern (1900s) nesting attempt took place in 1973 in Cedar Co., northeast of Crofton, Nebraska (Lock and Shuckman, 1973). This nest occurred along the Missouri River, downstream of Lewis and Clark Reservoir. Between the latter part of January and 25 March 1973, a pair of Eagles was observed while building a nest, copulating, perching near the nest, and sitting on the completed nest. Eventually, the nest was abandoned and it was believed that egg laying did not take place.

A second Bald Eagle nest attempt was documented during March and April 1987, in Garden Co., west of Lewellen, Nebraska. John Davis, of Alliance, Nebraska initially observed the nest and subsequently reported it to the Alliance office of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission (NGPC). Mr. Davis, while driving a sales route along highway 26 through the Panhandle, was able to make weekly observations at the nest site. He initially observed an adult carrying material to the nest on 2 March, then sitting on the nest 12 March. The pair was also observed on and around the nest by Don Hunt, Conservation Officer, NGPC, and by Paul Jeske, whose 1 April sighting was the last before the nest was abandoned.