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141 EAGLE'S LAIR
Niobrara River, Sioux County, Nebraska Panhandle. The Golden Eagle is one of the best known birds of prey in the Northern Hemisphere. It can be found in open areas such as prairies, tundra, and open coniferous forests, especially in hilly or mountainous regions. With a wingspan averaging over seven feet and up to three feet in body length, it is one of the largest birds of prey in North America. Golden Eagles usually mate for life. They build several eyries, or nests, on cliff ledges or in trees and use them alternately for several years. Eyries consist of heavy tree branches and sticks, lined with grass when in use. Old eyries may be six feet in diameter and three feet in height, as the eagles repair their nests when necessary and enlarge them during each use. The female usually lays two eggs and after approximately 45 days the young hatch.