Bald Eagle Life Cycle: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Lindsey Spencer

Lindsey has taught regular and special educations students in grades 1-8 since 2009 and has a master's degree in special education.

In this lesson, learn about the life cycle of America's national bird, the bald eagle. Follow a bald eagle through each stage of its life cycle, from egg to adult.

The Cycle of Life

Every living creature and plant has a life cycle. Frogs begin as eggs, turn into tadpoles, grow into adult frogs, and lay their own eggs. Even people go through life cycles. People start life as babies, become children, grow into adults, and have children of their own.

Bald eagles have a life cycle, too.

Bald Eagle Nests and Eggs

High in the trees found near coastlines and rivers, male and female bald eagles build huge nests made out of sticks. Usually, bald eagles will use the same nest year after year, adding new sticks each year to make the nest bigger. Bald eagle nests are some of the largest nests built by birds. They can measure 6 feet across and 4 feet high and weigh hundreds of pounds!

Bald eagle nest
bald eagle nest

After a female and male bald eagle finish building the nest, the female bald eagle usually lays two eggs. Both a male and female bald eagle will sit on the eggs to keep them warm, but the female does most of the work.

After about 35 days, the babies, or eaglets, hatch out of the eggs.


Eaglets grow very quickly. It only takes eaglets about 12 weeks from when they hatch to when they first try to fly.

When eaglets are three weeks old, they're about one foot tall, and their feet and beaks are almost the same size as their parents. When eaglets are six weeks old, they're almost as tall as their parents!

These eaglets are a couple of weeks old.


When eaglets are about 12 weeks old, they no longer have any fuzz. While the fuzz helps keep to keep the eagle babies warm, it's not at all useful for flying. Eaglets at this age, called fledglings, have grown feathers, which are very good for flying. At this stage, fledglings don't look like adult bald eagles, with their dark brown, almost black, bodies and white heads.

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