Three Home Tips from Eagles’ Nests

I’ve spent hours over the past week peering into the nest of two bald eagles named Mr. President and First Lady. I’ve seen two eaglets hatch. I’ve watched feedings, seen the little guys peck at each other (playfully, I hope), and wondered at how the parents can sit on top of the eaglets for hours without hurting them.

But the most fascinating thing has been the domesticity of it all. Based on my observations, and a (very) little research, here are three tips for our homes that we humans can take from our white-headed, feathered friends:

(1) Location, Location, Location. Eagles are very selective about where they build their nests. Ideally, they want to be close to water, where they can find fish for meals. We humans should be mindful of our community as well. Shopping, activities, schools, parks – – all add to your home’s value and your quality of life. You can read more about the importance of location in Houses Stand Alone; Homes Exist in Communities.

(2) Build Together. Both the male and female eagles work on the nest. Likewise, if you’re sharing your home with others, you’ll want their buy-in on major decorating and remodeling decisions. This is so important that many remodeling contractors won’t meet with just one member of a couple. Experience tells them things are likely to fall apart, or at best they’re in for a difficult experience, when the person who didn’t participate in the planning sees something during construction they don’t like.  Get everyone’s input in the planning stages, before that first hammer is swung.

(3) Never Stop Improving. This week, once the babies were hatched, I noticed First Lady constantly fussing with the nest in between feedings. She’d rearrange the soft straw layer around herself, probably for warmth. Legend has it that eagles build the outer layer of the nest with pointy sticks oriented inward, then line it with softer material. As the eaglets grow, the parents gradually remove the softer layers, so that the nest is eventually uncomfortable and the eaglets want to leave.  Lessons for us? Keep your home current and comfortable, but consider turning Junior’s bedroom into your sitting room or library if he’s approaching 30 and still living at home!

You can watch Mr. President, First Lady, and their two eaglets on the 24/7 National Arboretum live eaglecam.

Now, go forth and feather your nest!

Image courtesy of Gualberto107 at


Share this

Leave a Comment

Keep me up to date, sign me up for the newsletter!