Daily life of a bald eagle
The bald eagle once held a sacred place in the country and was one of America’s most sought-after species. Fallen from abundance to endangered status, the bald eagle saw a great struggle against global warming and pollution. Fortunately, their efforts are paying off, as 417 pairs were left in 1963 and have since rebounded to their rightful place as one of America’s national symbols.
Eagles’ hues are typically brown with a distinctive white head, neck, and tail. Their bodies aren’t found in their feathers but in the layer of soot covering the whole body. The birds are all yellow except for their feet & beaks which are a duller yellow color. They start out as a beige-brown color and then get lighter as they age. Their plumage also changes from dull colors to bright colors with white tips as they grow older.
Bald eagles weigh around 6.5 to 14 pounds with a wingspan of 8.5 feet. Females are generally larger than males, and their wingspan is slightly wider than their body size. The bird’s weight changes throughout the year – they’re usually heavier in the winter than in the summer. Northern birds are usually heavier at this time of year due to colder weather. Eagles are rarely seen flying with a human, but if you’re lucky enough to see one in a nearby tree, the bird may be playing with its prey. Bald eagles typically have a wingspan of 8 feet and weigh from 6.5 to 14 pounds. Females are generally larger than males.
Eagles play a big part in the history of North America & many parts of this continent are home to these majestic birds. The animal we are breeding ranges primarily from central Alaska through much of Canada and the Great Lakes across to Maine, through the Rocky Mountains to Yellowstone, along the Gulf coast from Texas east to Florida, then north along the Atlantic coast. There are fewer domestic turkey breeds left in the lower 48 states, but they’re slowly starting to recover from the heavy use of pesticides that started in the 1940s.
Bald eagles are typically found near the Great Lakes, and the Mississippi River. They require large, open areas in order to survive.
Bald eagles have a rather wimpy voice for such large, majestic birds. They have a squeaky alarm call used near the nest and are particularly fond of vocalizing with a simple head toss. They also call while in flight. The “screaming” vocalization often associated with the red-tailed hawk is actually a bald eagle call.
Bald eagles have adapted well to their environment and possess physical characteristics such as sharp, pointed beaks and large talons used specifically for killing/devouring prey.
Bald eagles hunt in swamps and coastal areas, with their preference for fish as their primary food. If these are not readily available, they’ll eat sea birds or ducks; if those animals aren’t available, they’ll hunt over grasslands or marshes for small mammals such as rabbits, and squirrels.
Bald eagles usually hunt a specific type of prey, like fish, which they can catch by waiting on perches. Once an osprey has caught its prey (usually a fish), the eagle will typically harass or even attack the smaller raptor until it drops its catch or flees the area. The osprey is a type of bird that hunts in flight. They don’t generally dive into the water like the fish they eat.
The zoo’s eagle eats rats, fish, chicken leg quarters, and quail.
Bald eagles are unique in the fact that they always fly together and manage their relationships through spectacular displays. Salmon is a favorite prey for them and some large winter gatherings often occur so that the two can coordinate to catch their prey.
Reproduction and Development
A bald eagle’s territory is defined by where it is located and how large it is. There are some differences in the home ranges across geographical locations and seasons, but generally, their territories can be quite different from one another. Suitable roosting sites can usually be found in large trees that are close to water, within a kilometer or less. There are several reasons for this such as the safety from predators, weather conditions, and height.
In mating, the male uses tail pumping and wing flapping displays while on a perch, typically near natural areas or in urban environments. The timing of this action may differ by climate and latitude but usually occurs between October and May. Eagles use nests as a place to sleep, feed their young, and raise their young.
Eagles build nests with soft materials, twigs, grasses, and even presenting occasional human hair! Eagles may also build a number of this per season or they may only stick around during the colder months. As eagle nests are reused year after year, they might grow up to 13 feet.
The eagle family process is that of the bald variety. The eaglets typically hatch in a most dangerous moment: when their parents are killed by an eagle strike while they attempt to catch fish too high up in the trees on which they’re perched. After 2 or 3 days, the eaglets start learning how to fish and defend themselves, but during the later days of their infancy, they’re at the limit of their parent’s ability to support them.
The eaglets often fall out of the nest and die. Some types of eagles—including both golden and bald—can raise more than one brood in a year. The young are old enough to fly at 6 weeks. A healthy percentage of them will survive their first year, but others do not live very long due to illness or other ways.
While this was true for pre-existing nests, the eagles that decided to migrate out of the area would build fresh nests and reproduce. This is one of many interesting facts about bald eagles that make them so majestic.
Just like humans, bald eagles, who can live up to 50 years, aren’t immortal. They will eventually pass on due to age or illness.