Black Bear Found Nestled and Sleeping Comfortably In a Giant Eagle Nest

Written by Katie Melynn Wood
Updated: September 27, 2023
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When this eagle gets home, we’re guessing he or she is going to be quite surprised to find a black bear snoozing in its nest. Maybe he’s tired or maybe Goldilocks kicked him out of his own bed. Whatever the reason, this bear is taking a power nap in a very unexpected place.

This shot was taken on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER) in Alaska. During a routine survey of known eagle nests, which helps researchers track their habits as well as monitor the population of bald eagles in the region, they found a bear instead of an eagle making use of the comfortable nest.

The last survey done around this nest was last May. A female eagle and an egg were present in the nest. Normally, when bears raid eagle’s nests, they make a meal of the eggs or young birds. We’re not sure if the egg already hatched or if the bear dispatched it as a pre-nap snack. Bald eagle eggs typically incubate for 35 days. Chicks leave the nest 2 to 3 months later. It’s possible that the chick had already flown away and the bear found an empty nest when he crawled in for a snooze.

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Black Bears - bear fishing

Black Bear in Alaska, eats a salmon that he just caught in a white water stream. It is best not to feed black bears, as black bears can be aggressive when there is food present.


Is This Typical Black Bear Behavior?

Bears do explore eagle’s nests, mostly in search of food. But given that it is a comfortable and strong place to rest, it’s not surprising that this bear decided to take a nap. Bears often nap during the day and get a longer rest period at night. So while getting such a perfect photo of a napping bear in a nest that was just right may be unusual, this probably isn’t the first bear to nap in a found location.

The photo was captured by someone with the JBER Environmental Conservation. This initiative works with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to monitor wildlife in the area. They pay close attention to the potential impact of aircraft on wildlife populations, making surveys like these crucial.

Black bears are not endangered but it is still important to preserve their habitat and minimize disruption to their natural behaviors. The same is true of bald eagles, although they were once endangered. The survey that originally saw the mother eagle sitting on her nest was conducted via helicopter. This is a great way to get data and even photos and videos without disturbing the nest.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © SCStock/

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About the Author

Katie is a freelance writer and teaching artist specializing in home, lifestyle, and family topics. Her work has appeared in At Ease Magazine, PEOPLE, and The Spruce, among others. When she is not writing, Katie teaches creative writing with the Apex Arts Magnet Program in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. You can follow Katie @katiemelynnwriter.

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