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The ABC’s of Eagle Birds & The Bees

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Picture of Harriet & Ozzie Mating:

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(Photo: Desiree)

Mating doesn’t mean eggs will be laid – nor does it mean eggs that are laid are viable. The male sperm can stay vital and alive for up to 7 days or so. Once the sperm pierce a female ova (egg) the ova has to find its way to the entrance of the oviduct (usually in less than 30 seconds). The journey through the oviduct where the egg is manufactured takes about 24 hours and another 24 hours for the shell to be formed. From the time the eagles mate and if an egg is fertilized it can take anywhere from 5-10 days before the egg is laid. In general eggs are fertilized within a few days and the chance of laying a fertile egg decreases rapidly within 1-2 weeks.

Male eagles do not have external gender organs. Instead a sperm ‘package’ is released from the male’s cloaca and enters the female’s cloaca when the two are pressed together. In order for this to happen the eagles must shift their tails for contact to be made in the right area.

Summary by: UrdognU

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