The Berry Eagles: A Birds-Eye View

Elisabeth Martin, Campus Carrier Features Editor

Jamison Guice, Campus Carrier Asst. Features Editor

Eagles at Berry College. Undated photo.  Photo by Gena Flanigen./Contributor
The adult eagles in their nest located behind the Cage Center. Photos courtesy of Berry Public Relations

In March of 2012, a student informed Renee Carleton, assistant professor of biology, that he had seen a bald eagle on Berry’s campus. This was the first sighting of the now world-famous Berry eagles.

“[The student] told me it was behind the Cage Center, which is unusual because normally you would find an eagles nest right near water, like a lake, river or reservoir,” Carleton said.

Carleton now serves as the official scientific advisor for matters regarding the eagles, due to her knowledge of ornithology, the study of birds.

“I am really the only ornithologist that we have at Berry, so it naturally kind of fell to me to advise on any matters regarding [the eagles],” Carleton said.

Because of her knowledge of their nutrition, behavior and overall health, Carleton has been able to monitor the eagles throughout their stay on campus. After the eagles first arrived, the first camera was placed on a light pole near the nest. It was an approach camera and was able to show the very first eggs hatch in late December of 2012.

When the eagles returned in 2013, another camera was added.

nightwing vs red hood
One of the Berry eagles fighting with an unknown attacker.

“It was pointing down at the nest and everybody could see what was going on, and that was really when [the eagles] began to gain popularity,” Carleton said.

The cameras sent a live feed to the Berry Eagle Cam website that allowed viewers the opportunity to see what was happening in the nest. This sparked interest in viewers nationwide and extended to places such as Japan, Sweden and New Zealand. The Berry eagles also have a Facebook page.

“We can really view so easily and see what is going on in the nest that people really form an attachment with them,” Carleton said.

A Facebook group called the B3 Branch Buddies even donated a new viewing scope, located behind The Cage, in memory of the eaglet that died in February. The eaglet fell out of the nest, which is located in a 100-foot-tall pine tree, according to the Berry Eagle Cam website.

If the eagles return by late September, it will mark their seventh season at Berry. Carleton said that as long as the tree where their nest is located remains undisturbed, eagles will always reuse their nest.


March 2012: Eagle nest spotted by student and reported to professor

April 2012: Eagles disappeared after being spotted carrying sticks to build the nest

Summer 2012: Temporary approach camera set up in the parking lot

Fall 2012: Eagles returned, demonstrated nest behavior

January 2013: Eggs produced in nest. Two eaglets, B1 and B2, emerged weeks later.

Summer 2013: Camera 1 added to allow for direct view of nest

September 2013: Eagles returned to nest

January 2014: Two eggs produced in the nest

February 22, 2014: One eaglet (B3) hatched, other egg was determined non-viable

2013-2014: Berry set a up live stream feed, which gained national and international attention.

Summer 2014: Second camera added

September 2014: Eagles returned to the nest

February 2015: Two eaglets, B4 and B5, hatched

September 2015: Eagles returned to nest

February 2016: Two eaglets, B6 and B7, hatched

September 2016: Eagles returned to nest

February 2017: Two eaglets, B8 and B9, hatched

September 2017: Eagles returned to nest

February 12-13, 2018: Two eaglets, B10 and B11, hatched

February 22, 2018: One eaglet wandered over to the edge of the nest and fell out of the 100-foot-tall pine tree. It did not survive the fall.

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