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Eagles’ Nests, edited by Andrew Lang

 

Eagles, as a rule, build their nests on the shelves of rocks, high out of reach of any but the boldest climbers. There are, however, some species among them who prefer the tops of trees, at a height varying from fifteen to fifty feet. These nests are constructed of long sticks, grass, and even reeds, and are often as much as five or six feet high, and at least four broad. Soft pine tops form the lining, and a bed for the young. Many eagles are clever divers, and like the excitement of catching their own fish, instead of merely forcing the fish-hawks to give up their prey, and an American naturalist gives an interesting account of the sporting proceedings of two eagles on the Green River in Kentucky. The naturalist had been lying hidden among the rocks on the bank of the river for about two hours, when suddenly far above his head where the eagle had built his nest, he heard a loud hissing, and on looking up, saw that the little eaglets had crawled to the edge of the nest, and were dancing with hope and excitement at the idea of a good dinner. In a few moments the parent eagle reached the rock and balancing himself on the edge by the help of his wings and tail, handed over his spoil to the young ones. The little eagles seemed in luck that day, for soon their mother appeared in sight carrying in her claws a perch. But either the watcher below made some movement, or else her eyes were far sharper than her mate’s, for with a loud cry she  dropped her fish, and hovered over the nest to protect it in case of an attack. When all was quiet again, the naturalist went out cautiously to examine the perch, which he found to weigh as much as 5½ lbs. You do not catch such big perch in England.