Most folks don’t even know we have bald eagles in Texas, but they are found here. In fact, they even nest and raise their young here. If you have ever driven eight miles east of Llano, Texas, on State Highway 29, you might have noticed cars parked on the side of the road, pedestrians with binoculars and cameras, and everyone looking up. That just happens to be the best spot in Texas to see, up close, a pair of nesting bald eagles in Texas. The eagle nest is located right on the Llano River. The Llano provides good sources of water, food and suitable trees for nesting eagles.
Historically, a bald eagle pair has had four active nest sites along this one-half-mile stretch of the river real estate in eastern Llano County since the late 1980’s. Two of the nest sites have been destroyed by natural causes and the third was abandoned for unknown reasons. The current nest site, which was established in 2010, is located on private ranch about 100 yards from State Highway 29, and has been a major tourist attraction for Llano County.
The bald eagle pair arrives in Llano County as early as October and usually leaves the nest site by mid March depending on the hatch date. The same bald eagle pair uses the nest year after year, and adds more sticks to make the nest larger each year. A nest may become so large that the weight of the nest might break the limb of the tree and destroy the nest, causing the nesting pair to relocate to a new nest site. Mating occurs in November and December with the female laying one to three eggs, most commonly two.
Both the male and female will incubate the eggs with incubation lasting 34 to 36 days. One to two eaglets usually hatch and they grow rapidly and fledge from the nest in 11 to 12 weeks. At the time of fledging, the eaglet will have a wing span of 6 to 7 feet and weigh 10 pounds or more and be just as large as the adults. An eaglet can be identified by its brown feathers with white feathers intermixed on the body and wings. The mature female bald eagle will be somewhat larger than the male. A bald eagle will obtain the white head and tail feathers at 4 to 5 years of age.
Bald eagles will mate at 5 to 6 years of age and will mate for life. If one of the mates dies, then the remaining eagle will find a new mate and possibly use the same nest. Bald eagles can live up to 25 to 30 years in the wild. Visitation to the Llano River site by the public increases when the eaglets are large enough to be seen in the nest, which is usually by mid January. The eaglets will fledge from the nest by mid March and leave the area.
If you’re planning a trip to the nest site, the best time to see
the bald eagle pair and eaglets is in the morning during feed ing activity.
Remember to bring your binoculars and camera as the morning light is best for photos. The eagle nest is located 8 miles east of Llano Texas on State Highway 29. This is the best place to see bald eagles in Texas. Many travelers have made it a point to stop at