Researchers stumbled upon a surprising sight: a black bear discovered fast asleep in an unexpected location – the nest of a bald eagle. This encounter occurred during their inspection of eagle nests situated on a military base in Alaska.
On certain occasions, black bears (Ursus americanus) have been observed exploiting the elaborate nests created by eagles. Unfortunately, these intrusions result in complications for both the avian inhabitants and their offspring, as highlighted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS).
“In the past, a few eagle nests have been raided by black bears with predictably bad results for the nesting eagles,” FWS staff wrote in a Facebook post on July 21, adding that these incidents often result in young birds going missing.
In the course of a helicopter survey in May, scientists observed a female bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) nurturing an egg in the nest that was eventually taken over by the slumbering bear. A mere week later, the egg was abandoned, left exposed to the elements, as both the female eagle and her partner were engaged in activities nearby.
According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG), bald eagles hold the distinction of being the largest native birds of prey in Alaska, boasting impressive wingspans of approximately 7.5 feet (2.3 meters). These formidable predators are renowned for constructing the most expansive nests among all North American birds, with certain nests spanning a width of 8 feet (2.4 meters) and weighing over two tons (1.8 metric tons).