Often, in eagle romance, it is mutually decided between the pair where a new couple’s territory must reside. It is believed that in the harsher winter months, when eagles temporarily abandon their territories or wander as fledgelings and group up unintentionally to survive, that romance first strikes and courtship begins. The female makes the first move, breaking tradition, and lowers her guard and posture so that the male may confidently approach. Elaborate flight displays and mimicry may follow if he is of worthy blood. As the pair bonds, they debate territory, and eagles boast fidelity to where they were born, much like the salmon they feed upon. But it is unknown amongst experts how the pair decides which partner’s childhood neighborhood should be chosen. The nostalgia may distance itself some hundred miles; regardless, one partner wins out and keeps its parents – hopefully still alive as no eaglet Christmas is complete without Granny Eagle – nearby.
Perhaps the male choose the territory and gifts his findings to the female. Younger, more subordinate and less wise pairs frequently take second and third best nesting sites, and such was the case for a young eagle couple deep in a sprawling finger of Kachemak Bay by the name of Peterson. With competition fierce for nesting space in this fertile bay, he was forced to choose a small island rock in a protected cove. Presenting his conquests to his young lover, it is best assumed her fury was savage: “I left my mother for THIS?” She certainly squawked. But, nonetheless, they copulated and reared one eaglet to fledgling age, surprisingly, against the odds of predation on such an accessible nesting site: at lowest tide, surely any ermine, fox, bear, or weasel could have waltzed across and snatched their tender young. But no predator ever did. The eaglet grew to fledgeling size and went its way, perhaps now soaring the Kachemak skies as a rebel juvenile. However, the couple did not return to their nesting site the following year, presumably due to the inevitable divorce.