USFWS Offices and Refuges Near You

The Midwest Region includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin. Find a location near you.

The Midwest Region includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin. Find a location near you »


Conserving the Nature of America

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.


Nesting Start and End Dates for Bald Eagles in the Midwest


An adult bald eagle sits in a nest in Pembroke Pines, Florida.

Photo courtesy of Kenneth Cole Schneider; creative commons


Here you will find information on each stage of the bald eagle's nesting cycle. The table below will help you determine when eagles are likely to be done nesting for the season, or determine when eagles began nesting for the year.

For details on eagle's relative sensitivity to human activity at each stage of the nesting cycle, please visit Nest Chronology of Bald Eagles in the Midwest.



How to use this chart:


If you know when eagles returned to their nesting site:

  • Start with that date in the left-hand column.  For example, if you saw eagles return to their nest on February 1, you can see that the chicks would likely hatch between March 27 and April 16, and the eagle chicks would be able to fly between June 5 and July 16. 

If you know the date of specific event:

  • Find the event (eggs hatch, chicks fledge) on the top row, and then find the date you observed that activity.  For examples, if you saw the eagle chicks start to fly (fledge) on July 15, you know the eggs were likely laid between February 21 and March 21.  You also know the young eagles from that nest will likely stay around their nest until at least late August and possibly as late as the end of September.




Nesting Stage (Duration)



(time needed)

Finish Courtship/
Nest Building (15-30 days)

Finish Mating/Egg Laying
(5-10 Days)

Eggs Hatch


(35 Days)

Chicks Fledge


(70-91 Days)

Young Eagles Dependent on Nest and Parents

(28-35 Days)

Nesting Start Date

Nesting Stage Dates







January 1

Jan 16-31

Jan 21-Feb 10

Feb 25-Mar 16

May 5-June 15

June 2-July 20

January 15

Jan 30-Feb 14

Feb 4 - 24

Mar 10-30

May 19-June 29

June 16- Aug 3

February 1

Feb 16-Mar 2

Feb 21-Mar 12

Mar 27-Apr 16

June 5-July 16

July 3-Aug 20

February 15

Mar 1-16

Mar 6-Mar 26

Apr 10 - 30

June 19-July 30

July 17-Sept 3

March 1

Mar 16-31

Mar 21-Apr 10

Apr 25- May 15

July 4-Aug 14

Aug 1-Sept 18

March 15

Mar 30-Apr 14

Apr 4 - 24

May 9 - 29

July 18-Aug 28

Aug 15-Oct 2

April 1

Apr 16-May 1

Apr 21-May 11

May 26-June 15

Aug 4-Sept 14

Sept 1-Oct 19

April 15

Apr 30-May 15

May 5-25

June 9 - 29

Aug 18-Sept 28

Sept 15-Nov 2


*Based on this chart, it is unlikely that a bald eagle nesting season initiated after Apr 15 would have much success of fledging chicks.  However, as long as eagles are attending the nest, that nest is considered active and appropriate conservation measures still apply.

Bald Eagle Nesting Stages and Time Needed by Stage


Courtship/Nest building:

15-30 days duration

Mating/ Egg Laying:

5-10 days duration

Incubating Eggs:

35 days duration

Chicks Hatch, Grow, and are Old Enough to Fly:

70-91 days needed

Young Eagles Still Dependent on Nest for Shelter and Parents for Food:

28-35 days post-fledging.



Eagle Natural History


Midwest Eagle