About Bald Eagles

BALD EAGLE (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) 


Following a dramatic decline caused by pesticides, our national bird has made a slow but steady comeback, and once again nests in areas where it was wiped out during the 1960s.  

 

DID YOU KNOW?

A bald eagle can spot a fish up to 3 miles away.  It can spot another eagle in flight more than 4 miles away.  Eagles are gifted with superior eyesight, among the best in the world.  The eyes of a bald eagle may be as much as 8 times sharper than a human’s.  This gives them a most important advantage over their prey. 

DID YOU KNOW?

Bald eagles have a highly efficient digestive system and pass food quickly.  Food is swallowed and passes through the esophagus to the crop, where it can be stored.  The stomach has two chambers (proventriculus) where the food is broken down with digestive enzymes and acids, and (the gizzard) where the food is ground up by muscular action.  Finally the food is passed through the relatively short intestines.  Undigested food (bones and fur) regurgitated back up through the mouth as a pellet food pass.  (The flexibility of the corners of the mouth allows and extremely wide gape).

GENERAL  FACTS

  • Height 30-31 / Wing Span / 6’-7’6” / Weight up to 16 lbs / Life Span 25 – 30 years 
  • Of the eight sea eagles, the bald eagle is among the largest in North America.  Only the California condor and the golden eagle are larger.  Bald eagles in the northern half of North America are somewhat larger than those from the South.  Females are larger than males. 
  • Mated bald eagles are monogamous;  Female bald eagles are larger than the males. 
  • They are able to fly 36 – 44 miles per hour. 
  • Bald eagles snatch their prey with their talons.  They have special pads on the soles of their feet, especially designed to firmly grip a slippery wriggling fish.  Each foot has four toes, three pointing to the front and one to the rear, ending with razor sharp black talons up to two inches long. 
  • Bald eagle habitat includes: rivers, lakes, marshes, and seacoasts. 

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Articles

PROTECTION AFTER DE-LISTING

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On June 28, 2007 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service formally declared a victory for the comeback of the bald eagle and announced its removal from the Endangered Species Act protection.

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"WINTER" BALD EAGLE WATCHING

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Flourishing across the nation, your chances of seeing a wild bald eagle is no longer slim.  With proper technique and planning, “winter” eagle-watching has become a popular off season activity.

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MORE ABOUT BALD EAGLE EYES

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As Bald Eagles age, the color of their eyes change.  Young eagles have dark eyes, which become yellow with maturity, and a silver blue in later years.

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CHICK DEVELOPMENT

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Eggs are laid as singles with a day or two between 

the laying of each.  Incubation, on average, 

lasts 35 days and both male and female spend 

time incubating the eggs. 

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LEARNING TO FISH AND FLY

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Observing and documenting over the past 18 months, a "first year" eagle pair building their nest along the Delaware River and raising their "first offspring", 

has been a wonderful experience.

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RARE 4-CHICK BALD EAGLE NEST

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4-Bald eagle chicks successfully fledged from a nest along the Delaware River PA.  We estimated that there was a 1 1/2 to 2 week age difference between the oldest chick and the youngest chick.  

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© Wildlife Photographs by John A. DiGiorgio, Photographer.