How Do Baby Eagles Learn to Fly?

Baby eagles learn to fly by taking small hops in the nest, then jumping to nearby branches, and finally gliding out on the wind. For the first 12 to 14 weeks of their lives, baby eagles (eaglets) stay in the nest while their parents bring them food and watch over them. The first flight, called “fledging”, takes place when the eaglet is between 10 and 13 weeks of age.

Baby eagles are completely helpless when they first hatch. Their legs are too weak to support their body weight, and their eyes are mostly closed. After two weeks, eaglets can hold their heads up to receive food and by 5 weeks they can stand and tear their own food with their beaks. By 6 weeks of age, the eaglets are nearly the same size as their parents.

Around 8 weeks, the eaglets begin to spread their wings when they feel gusts of wind. The wind lifts them up gently and they land back in the nest. When they are comfortable hopping in the nest, the eaglets begin jumping to branches near the nest. This is called “branching.” Eaglets hop and jump with the help of the wind for several weeks before taking their first flights out of the nest.