Do Eagles push babies out of the nest? What is actual eagle parenting like, and is it as motivational as it sounds?

Tough love is an interesting phenomenon in culture, and it seems like it’s not only humans who practice this kind of thing. However, are these tales true? You can study the findings of researchers and scientists to find out.

If you’re curious about what the real deal is behind eagles pushing their young out of their nests, then read on!

Do Eagles Push Babies Out Of The Nest?

The story of the tough parenting style of Bald Eagles is well-known throughout generations and cultures. You’re sure to have heard the inspirational tale of a fledgling who was forced to learn to fly or fall.

In reality, parent eagles do not have this practice! It is not typical to see this kind of behavior.

There are some instances of eagles encouraging their babies to jump out of the nest and try to fly, by leading them with food. However, they would not forcibly push the baby outside of the nest. Eaglets are encouraged to jump out and try once they feel like they are ready for the challenge.

As motivational as the story is, it simply isn’t true! A parent Eagle would not push out their young out of their very high nests. They are much more patient than this story will have you know.

How Do Eagles Learn To Fly?

Eagles teaching young to fly are a lot less cruel than the short tale tries to depict.

Young Eagles will be ready to leave their nest when they reach 10-12 weeks of age. This is when they will start their attempts to fledge.

During this time of training, the parent Eagle does help them in their journey. They do this by demonstrating how to fly and continue to feed them as they remain in the nest. The could last anywhere from 1-2 months.

Do Mother Eagles Catch Their Babies?

Of course, as mentioned above, the adult eagles still put in some effort into making sure that their young are equipped with everything they need in order to be able to fly on their own.

A “baby” eaglet is actually nearly the size of an adult. They are already quite heavy at this point.

So, no, mother Eagles do not swoop down to catch the young, nor do they carry their young in flight. They offer to demonstrate how flight takes place, but beyond that, it’s up to the young fledgling to decide when they are ready for their first attempt at flight.

Eagle Parenting Facts

 do mother eagles catch their babies

Now that the truth about some Eagle flight training facts has been revealed, let us look into some other points of interest regarding these majestic birds.

Eagle Nesting

Eagles are one of the biggest birds on the planet, so it must be a marvel to see one of their homes. Their nests are not only very big but they are also built very high up in tall trees – you typically see them at 50 to125 feet (15 to 38 meters). 

Eagle nests, called eyries, are made out of the same stuff a typical bird nest is constructed of, except at a much larger scale. They use large branches and sticks, and build large cup-like nests that are 4 to 5 feet (1.2 to 1.5 meters) wide and 2 to 4 feet (0.6 to 1.2 meters) deep.

Eagles can be very territorial and protective of their nest, beyond being concerned for the safety of the children. Their territories can spread pretty wide, and they are always at the ready to defend their piece of the skies.

Sometimes, Eagles also build another nest in the same territory. As Eagles have no real way of cleaning their nests, these sticks can get messy and unhealthy due to the feeding and wastes of the babies. An alternate nest is a good solution so they can switch between them as the weather takes its due course to clean them out.

Eagle Egg Laying

An Eagle’s egg-laying season can vary from the different breeds and their location. A pair of Eagles typically mate for life, unless one of two dies to does not come back to the nest for the next season. It is then that they are replaced.

In a season, an Eagle clutch is in the range of 1 to 3 eggs. The young are also comfortably fit in the wide nest, especially since they grow up to be quite big in a matter of a few months.

The female is typically the one who is incubating and protecting the egg at most times. The male goes out to hunt and provide food for the female. However, there are also opportunities where the female leaves the nest and leaves the care of the eggs to the male.

Both parents take turns incubating the eggs with the help of their brood patch – an exposed spot on their belly that helps heat disperse in the eggs. This incubation process lasts for around 35 days.

 eagle parenting

Eagle Feeding

Both parents of either sex lend a hand in scavenging for good food to feed their brood. It has been observed that parents provide more food to the biggest sibling in their brood. This lends more help towards its survival in the wild.

They provide their babies raw meat, which the parents do not chew up and spit out – the babies are ready to eat for themselves. The Eagle parents will rip the food to pieces instead, and personally reach out and feed each child. 

Learn more about What Are The Biggest Hawks In The World?


Parent eagles do not push their babies out of the nest in hopes of teaching them how to fly. The young eagle chooses the time when they feel they are ready to leave their nest and join the ranks of full-fledged eagles. In fact, they still stick around the nest to train even more with their parents – which kind of defeats the message of that old anecdote, huh?

When did you hear the tall tale that Eagles push their young out of their nest? Did you find it comforting or motivational when you first heard the story? Let us know your thoughts and reactions to the cold hard truth in the comments below!

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