Sea eagle

“Flying door” is the bald eagle’s nickname. With its wingspan of up to 2.5 meters, that is not surprising. For a long time it was only a rare winter visitor in the Netherlands, but nowadays it even breeds in the Netherlands. In 2006 there was a first breeding success in the Oostvaardersplassen. Since then, several young have been born that have moved to other areas. In 2020, 18 breeding pairs were counted in the Netherlands. In 2017, a young pair nested for the first time in De Alde Feanen National Park. On his menu are mainly fish and waterfowl. And there is no shortage of that in the water-rich nature reserve De Alde Feanen.

The white-tailed eagle is the largest bird of prey in the Netherlands with broad, fingered wings. Adult birds have a white tail, a lighter head and a large yellow bill. Young sea eagles can be distinguished by their dark brown body with light spots. As they get older the tail will turn white. The young also have a narrow light stripe on the underwings and the bill is darker in color.

Did you know that a bald eagle has a length of 70 to 92 cm, a wingspan of 200 to 250 cm and can weigh 3.1 to 7.5 kg?

Foto: Hans Pietersma

Important for the habitat of the white-tailed eagle is the combination of large, sturdy nesting trees and a wetland environment. In winter they are often in the same areas, but they also occur in large heath and raised moor areas or extensive fields. When on the move, the bald eagle can be seen above forests and cities. They have also been seen several times above Leeuwarden.

The nest

White-tailed eagles build very large nests that are often used for years by the same couple. A nest can weigh up to 600 kilos, because the birds often use it for years on end. Such a nest, which is lined with grass and moss, can be 2 meters wide and 2 meters high. They often build the nests in the top of a tree. In areas where there are no trees, they build the nests on rock walls or the ground. The nest is always near water.

The white-tailed eagle has successfully nested in De Alde Feanen National Park four times, but we have never seen it. Until last season! The mighty birds of prey showed themselves in this year for our nest cam. Magnificent! Two eggs were successfully hatched and we enjoyed two bald eagle chicks for weeks. Life on and around the nest regularly provided surprises! Watch and read the clips and blogs of the past season here. This way you can watch all the highlights again

Did you know that a white-tailed eagle incubates an egg for 38 days and that the young are fledging after 70-90 days?

Young Bird in NP De Alde Feanen

In 2017, the pair of sea eagles in NP De Alde Feanen had 1 young. They fed them for a year. A year later they had 2 young and the following year they had 1 again. In 2018, It Fryske Gea organized a naming competition for a young bald eagle. The winning name has become Sipi!

Zeearenden in De Alde Feanen, foto: Albert Eggens

Did you know that a bald eagle can live to be 20 years old?