Critter Corner - Bald
DID YOU KNOW:
Eagle, our national symbol, is a dark, streaked bird when it is
young. It is not until it is 5 years old that it acquires its
white head and tail and is old enough to reproduce
of the year fish are the most important part of the
of the fish are stolen from other hunting eagles and the smaller
osprey (another fish-eating bird of prey)!
In the winter, however, many eagles feed almost entirely on migrating waterfowl
(ducks and geese). Small mammals like squirrels and rabbits are
hunted, and carrion (dead animals) is always an important source
Usually 2 eggs
are laid (sometimes 1 or 3), and there is much competition and
aggression between the babies. The baby eagle which hatches
first will be larger and stronger than its sibling (brother or
sister) and will push itself forward to be fed
first when mom or
dad arrives to the nest with food. The second smaller baby will
often starve unless there is lots of food available to mother
and father eagle. Mother and father stay very busy hunting for
the family. It seems that the baby eagles are always hungry and
crying for food, unless they are sleeping! At around 2½ months
of age the young eagles will take their first flight.
At this point, they are nearly the same size
as their parents. Mom and
dad continue to feed and protect them. When the young eagles
are flying strongly mom and dad will teach them how to hunt.
are members of the group called “sea eagles”. They are usually
found resting, hunting, and raising their young near large open
bodies of water such as the coastline, large lakes, and major
rivers. As part of mother and father’s annual courtship and
pair-bonding, they add more new limbs to their nest each year;
so they depend on very large old trees, with strong limbs to
Eagles are shy
and avoid people and other threats, but if an
eagle has to
protect itself or its family they are very powerful fighters!
An eagle will use its incredibly strong feet and sharp claws
(talons) for defense. An eagle can also inflict painful bites
with its large, strong beak. The hooked end of the beak is
designed for tearing flesh.
A pair of
Bald eagles will construct the largest nest of
any of the
birds. One nest was 7 – 8 feet wide and 12 feet deep!
hunting birds, the females are larger and more powerful than
the males. Their wingspan can be between 6 and 7.5 feet!
of an eagle’s body is built to be incredibly strong and
lightweight. An eagle standing 3 feet tall may only weigh
10 - 12 pounds!
have the finest eyesight of any animal on earth. A soaring
eagle can spot a rabbit over a mile away!
eagles have lived for over 30 years in zoos.
Check out Lakeside Nature Center's
To learn more about
credits: Portrait of bald eagle from Recreation.gov; Photo
of bald eagle on perch from Fermi Lab.gov;
Photo of eagle and nestlings, photo of eagle
foot and photo of eagle on nest from US Fish and