top of page
Eagles Nesting 1.jpg

The Bald Eagles of Colleton River

Nesting Season - Fall 2020 thru May 2021

Due to abundant clean water sustaining strong fish populations in the Port Royal
Sound, our community supports three active eagle nests. Cooler winter waters in
the Port Royal Sound maintain better clarity (less algae etc.) and fish swim
slower for easier hunting to feed growing families.

Breeding Bald Eagles are territorial, that is, they defend an area around their
nests from intrusion by other eagles and predators. They spend a good portion
of their day perched at the top of a prominent tree not far from their nest. It is
believed that their white head serves as a signal to any would-be-trespassers to
stay away! If that is ignored, a loud ringing territorial call is used to declare their
territory. Bald Eagles most commonly scream a gull-like cackle or whine, often
with their heads tossed back when perching. The female's voice is lower-pitched.

Mid September - single eagles were sighted returning to all three Colleton River

nest locations waiting for their mates.

By early October, eagle pairs were reunited and started courting and repairing

their nests.

November - Pairs have been reported soaring in the sky in unison creating

beautiful aerial patterns.

Mid to late December - We will watch for pairs to start holding/sitting on a nest

indicating egg laying/incubation has started.

January - egg incubation

February - We watch for little heads to appear over the sides of the nests.

March thru mid May - Juveniles grow and become adult size surprisingly quickly.

They are fun to watch perching on the edge of the nests flapping their wings to
get stronger and adjust to the feel of the wind currents. Soon they are hopping
between tree limbs before flying short distances. Parents become teachers
urging flying longer distances and teaching how to hunt for food. Parents migrate
north when JV’s are ready to care for themselves. Juveniles can either linger
locally for awhile or follow their instincts and fly to new territories.

Keep your eyes toward the sky and enjoy our aerial wonders!
Special thanks to CR Member, Tom Schmitz, for sharing the attached bald eagle


The Ospreys of Colleton River

The osprey is a fairly common bird of prey that lives along coastlines, throughout the tropical and temperate regions of the world. Though they typically live associated with the marine environment, they also live near and hunt in large freshwater waterways in many areas. The tops of the wings and part of the head are brown, while the remainder of the body (particularly the underside that is visible when they fly) is white or grey.

Ospreys are predatory and almost exclusively eat fish. They will nest next to any body of water that is large enough in which to hunt. They hunt from above, and snatch surface fishes directly out of the water, without getting their plumage wet. In order to blend in with sky and camouflage themselves from potential prey, ospreys are white or grey from below. In the tropics, individuals stay near their nests throughout the year. In cooler latitudes, ospreys migrate, like songbirds and waterfowl, to the tropics in the colder months (when they do not nest) and back to higher latitudes to nest in the spring.

Like all birds that hunt or forage in the ocean, the osprey nests on land. Pairs build large nests, high in treetops or on artificial structures, such as telephone poles. They reproduce via internal fertilization, and females lay two to four fertilized eggs, which both parents guard carefully. After the eggs hatch, the parents take turns hunting and caring for the chicks for between two and three months. Osprey pairs often mate for life.

The osprey is a naturally rare bird (as are all birds of prey), but populations are steadily increasing from historic lows, and scientists consider this species to be one of least concern. This species has not always been in such good shape, however. In the past, directed hunting and egg collecting drove total numbers to very low levels, and accidental poisoning by manmade pesticides weakened eggs, reducing hatching rates significantly. 

Fortunately, conservation and management measures have been successful, and the osprey is no longer at risk of endangerment or extinction. This species has some or complete legal protection throughout much of its range.

Keep your eyes toward the sky and enjoy our aerial wonders!

Special thanks to CR Member, Steve Dickson for sharing the attached Ospey photo!

bottom of page