Refurbished Eagle Enclosure Ready for Breeding Season

If you visited the Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo in late summer, you might have noticed a pair of the zoo’s marquee animals were missing.

“The bald eagles were away for a bit while we created a brand new environment for them,” said Director Jonathan Miot. “Thanks to a generous gift from the Wilhelm family and the work of Angel Gardens, the eagles are back at the zoo, preparing for another breeding season.”

The staff and students at the Teaching Zoo are hoping eagles George and Aeriel will experience reproductive success so that their offspring will directly contribute to conservation in the wild.

It is a group effort to breed and raise eagles. It all starts with the building of the nest. Staff and keepers build the base of the nest (the large logs and grapevine that support the nest). The eagles then start adding their own accents. The keepers provide the eagles sticks and pine needles, that the eagles then place as they wish.

This nest building typically starts in October or November. Breeding typically takes place in January or February. Eggs are usually laid in in February or March. Eaglets (baby eagles) typically hatch 35 days after the eggs are laid.

If eaglets successfully hatch, George and Aeriel will raise their offspring for about two months, at which point, the eaglets would normally be leaving the nest. Instead, Teaching Zoo staff will transport the eaglets to a facility in South Carolina where they will be released into the wild.

The Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo has beautiful new themed path borders, which means you can tour the zoo on your own, without having to walk around with a zookeeper. The zoo is open daily 9 a.m.-2 p.m. and admission is free for anyone with an SF ID. The zoo is open daily 9 a.m.-2 p.m. except for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. For more details, please visit the zoo’s website.

Eagle Facts

  • Eagles’ typical breeding season usually starts in late fall and lasts through March.
  • They lay between one to three eggs per breeding season.
  • At the SF Teaching Zoo, 12 eaglets have hatched and been released. The first two were released in 1996.
  • Aeriel came here in 1986; George arrived in 1988.
  • Eagles can live for 30 years.
  • Both eagles live at the Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo because they have injuries that render them unable to survive in the wild.

CONTACT

Jonathan Miot, director, 352-395-5602 or jonathan.miot@sfcollege.edu