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Bald Eagle Facts

The bald eagle is found in North America and lives in areas in Canada, the United States (including Alaska) and Mexico.

It is the only eagle that is native to these areas and found nowhere else and is the national bird of the United States. Historically, the word ‘bald’ at one time, meant ‘white’ as opposed to how we use it today to mean ‘no hair’.

Bald Eagle Facts for Kids

  • Eagles are part of the “Accipitridae” family of birds that include old-world vultures, kites, and hawks. There are four groups of eagles within this group and the bald eagle is defined as being part of the fish or sea eagle.
  • In the past, bald eagles are divided into two ‘sub-species’, but since each group has been found on all territories, the subspecies names have been dropped.
  • The Northern bald eagle: Slightly bigger in size and found from the Midwest to the furthest northern areas of the continent, including Alaska.
  • The Southern bald eagle: Slightly smaller and found as far south as Florida, Texas and the Mexico Baja area.
  • Bald eagles are the national bird of the United States
  • Adult female and male bald eagles can be identified with the notable white head and tail, a brownish-black back and breast, yellow-tone legs, feet and beak and their eyes are a pale yellow. They develop their full colors at about the age of five years, gradually changing their immature colors.
  • Immature bald eagles are often confused with hawks or vultures. They have brown and white features, a black beak, and the younger birds have brown eyes.
  • There are some bald eagles that have a genetic mutation that can affect the color of their feathers. It is known as leucism and can cause them to have white patches on their feathers with the rest of the feathers faded or pale in color. Some have been known to be almost completely white.
  • Bald eagles mate for life, but if their mate dies they will select another mate.
  • The size of the bald eagle depends on the area that they live in. The female bald eagle size can be from 35-37 inches with a wingspan of 79-90 inches. The male is smaller, with a body size of 30-34 inches and a 72-85 inch wingspan. Weight is at an average of ten to fourteen pounds.
  • A bald eagle has eyesight that is four times sharper than a human being’s eyesight.
  • The bald eagle will eat carrion (dead things) as well as fish, but will not carry anything into the air that is over about 4 lbs.
  • The bald eagle has a sharp downward pointed beak that they use to tear apart their prey and long sharp talons that are used to kill and then pick up and carry their prey into the air.
  • Animals at the top of the food chain consume all other animals that contain pesticides and poisons. Those at the top of the food chain therefore are in more danger due to eating the toxins. Bald eagles are birds that are at the top of the food chain.
  • The bald eagle can live from twenty to thirty years in the wild. In captivity, bald eagles have been known to live as long as forty-eight years.
  • At one point in American history, the bald eagle was killed and hunted to nearing extinction. The species was placed on the ‘endangered species’ list and it was against the law to shoot or kill a bald eagle. Due to the success of their growth, the bald eagle was removed from the endangered species list in 2007.
  • The bald eagle population grew from a mere 450 nesting pairs in the 1960s to over 4,500 nest pairs by the 1990s.

What do bald eagles eat?

The primary food for a bald eagle is fish but they will also eat other animals and birds that they come in contact with. Some of the things that they will eat include: rabbits, prairie dogs, raccoons, foxes, fowl, squirrels, mice, rats and other animals. The bald eagle is considered an opportunistic predator which means that they will hunt for live prey but that they will also steal food from other animals. They will steal what other eagles and smaller fish or birds are eating.

Some bald eagles will even eat frogs and reptiles, including snakes. Bigger eagles, such as the Golden Eagle will eat larger animals such as antelope and sheep. Since Golden Eagles are not close to water, they generally are not seen eating fish or water animals.

Eagles are considered predators but they prey based on their environment and where they live. Most eagles will eat around a pound of food each day but they do not always eat on a daily basis. Eagles that live in areas where food is scarce will eat as much as they can and then they can go a few days before eating. An eagle can usually hold around 2 pounds of food in their stomach even though it is very small, only the size of a walnut.

Why is the bald eagle endangered?

The bald eagle were considered endangered species until 2007 because of many reasons. Some of the reasons include that their habitats are destroyed, being illegally hunted and contamination of their food sources.

In August of 2007, the Bald Eagle was taken off of the endangered species list because their population had increased significantly and this made them no longer endangered.

Since Bald eagles live near lakes, rivers and other water places, they have had to deal with things such as habitats being destroyed and their food becoming contaminated. When forest and trees are taken down, the eagles do not have a base where they can perch and build their nests. In the winter, they need to have tall trees so that they are able to hunt the food below by sitting up high in the tree.

Pollution and other problems with water caused many of the bald eagles to die because they would eat the fish and frogs that lived in the contaminated water. This caused them to get sick and die when they would eat the fish and frogs.

Bald eagles that do not live close to trees would sometimes live on cliffs. This would make them susceptible to being hunted because they could easily be spotted by hunters.

Why are bald eagles called bald?

Bald Eagles are called Bald because it comes from an old English word called “piebald,” which means “white headed,” and not bald. Many people question why a bald eagle is called bald when it is clear that they have white feathers on their head and that they are not hairless.

A Bald eagle is mostly brown and has a white tail and a white head. Their name comes from four words that are Greek root words: hali, which means salt, aeetus which means eagle, leuco which means white and cephalis which means head. If you put all of the words together it says that the Bald Eagle is a white headed sea eagle. This is the only bird that is a sea eagle that is native to North America.

Why is the bald eagle an American symbol?

The Bald Eagle is an important American symbol because it appears on most United States government seals and is a feature of the Great Seal of the United States. The Bald Eagle is seen on many logos from the Federal agency. It was chosen in 1782 to be the symbol of the United States because of how long it lives and because of the strength that the Bald Eagle shows. Some believed that this bird only existed in the United States when it became the symbol of America.

Even though there might not be any true explanation as to why the Bald Eagle is such an important symbol, my guess is that the Eagle is such an amazing and magnificent bird. When the Bald Eagle is flying, it flies high into the air and will soar on the currents of air. It can reach up to 75 miles per hour when it flies and then take a dive in a matter of seconds.
The Bald Eagle is a wonder to watch and is very beautiful to look at. This bird is a national bird and can be found in North America and in Canada. Not only is the Eagle beautiful, it also represents freedom and solidarity.

Some people say that the Bald Eagle was chosen because when the Revolution happened, the noise woke up the eagles and they flew and circled around the men that were fighting while the shrieked. Some even say that the patriots said, “they are shrieking for freedom.”

Why is the bald eagle so important?

The Bald Eagle is important because it is a symbol of the United States. It represents freedom and prosperity and a solid country. The picture of the Bald Eagle is found on coins, dollars, quarters, and other seals of the United States.

The Bald Eagle is an important part of nature and has freedom that is limitless based on their quick flying skills and their hunting skills. The Bald Eagle has talons that help it to hunt and help it to keep the small critter population from getting out of hand. They are impressive birds that are fun to look at and are symbolic because they have a lot of power and strength.

Is the bald eagle dangerous?

Like any wild animal, the Bald Eagle could be dangerous in a situation where it would have to defend itself. Since the Bald Eagle is very strong and has very sharp talons, it could easily hurt someone if they were to mess with the bird in any manner.

Bald Eagles are very protective of their nests and their homes and they do not like intruders. When an intruder threatens them, they will fight back and the result would not be pretty.

Are bald eagles protected?

Bald eagles are protected under three acts; the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Lacey Act.

  • The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act states that bald eagles would be protected even though they are no longer endangered. This stops people from taking possession of, selling, buying, transporting, exporting or importing any type of bald eagle, their nest, their eggs or any if they are dead or alive. They are not allowed to be shot, shot at, poisoned, wounded, trapped or killed under this act.
  • The Migratory Bird Treaty Act says that bald eagles are not allowed to be killed, possessed, transported and neither are any parts of them, their nests or their eggs. This includes a fine for up to $250,000 dollar and up to six months in prison.
  • The Lacey Act says that it is a Federal Offense to take a bald eagle, sell it, transport it or any parts of its nest or eggs. This can also face up to $250,000 dollar fine or prison up to five years.

Are bald eagles good swimmers?

Bald Eagles are known for their amazing flying abilities, but they also are skilled at swimming. A Bald Eagle that is in the water can use their body to bob up and down through the water and they can use their wings to stroke the water so that they can move faster and reach further distances.

Many Bald Eagles will stride onto the land after going for a swim and will stretch and shake the water off. Bald Eagles can use their swimming skills to help them to catch fish that are on the surface of the water or they can even go further into the water and use their talons to catch fish.

Even though Bald Eagles are good at swimming, they have a harder time maneuvering in the water than they do in the air and so they usually will fly out of the water after they catch a fish.
Eagles have strong chest muscles but it is not easy for them to do the flying motion in the water like it is for them to do it in the air. If an eagle comes up from the water without a fish, chances are that it dropped the fish and wasn’t able to hang on to it.

How do bald eagles hunt?

Eagles like to use their sharp claws, or their talons to kill their food. They have four talons total and they are very sharp. Three of the talons face the front and one talon is in the back.

Since the eagle is so strong and their talons are so sharp, they can use their leg muscles to crush their prey. Some believe that the talons of an eagle are so strong that they can crush up to 400 pounds per square inch for each of their talons.

The eagle will then eat their prey and one of the most important parts of their prey that they eat are the bones. The bones of the prey are full of vitamins and minerals and they are very useful for the eagle. These nutritional bones help to give the eagle energy that they need to fly and to hunt. The digestive system of the bald eagle is so strong that the bones will digest and dissolve.

How does a bald eagle sleep?

Bald Eagles sleep at their nest or on the branches of trees, especially when it is time for them to breed. A Bald Eagles body allows them to lock their foot into a certain position so that they can sleep without having to move their bodies or to lay down.

Some Bald Eagles are nocturnal but most of them will sleep during the night and wake up when the sun comes up. They will almost immediately go to sleep when the sun goes down.

How long do bald eagles live?

The average lifespan of the Bald Eagle in the wild is around 20 years of age. Depending on the habitat, many Bald Eagles can live to be around 30 years or older. The oldest recorded living Bald Eagle is only 29 but this is a low record because most birds can live longer than that.

Bald Eagles that live in zoos or conservatories can live longer because they have more access to prey and do not have to deal with the weathering and environmental issues. One Eagle was reported to live over 50 years in a New York zoo.

Some things that can cause Bald Eagles to have a shorter lifespan are diseases, getting shot, getting stuck in wires or hit by vehicles or eating food that has been poisoned.

How long do bald eagles live with their parents?

Bald Eagles will usually live with their parents until they are 10-12 weeks of age. When this happens, the Bald Eagle will usually hop from nest to nest for a couple of months before it completely leaves the nest.

Before the baby Bald Eagle fledges or begins to fly from the nest, they will exercise their wings so that they can get stronger. They will also hold on the nest with their talons while they flap their wings. If the chick falls down or can’t make it to the other branch, the chick will probably die.

When they have strong muscles and wings, they are ready to leave. The eaglet will fledge or try to fly and the parents will stop bringing them so much food. They will do this so that the eaglet will prepare to learn to leave the nest.

Most male eaglets will fledge at 78 days old while the female will fledge at 82 days old.
Eaglets that begin to fledge usually have a few crashes and will usually be very clumsy at first. Eaglets that are immature will stay close to the nest after they fledge to come back to the nest to get food from their parents. The stronger their instincts are and the older they get, the more they have the desire to move on.

What habitat do bald eagles live in?

The Bald Eagle can live in any type of wetland and is often found in many different kinds of American wetlands. They also like to habitat where there are large bodies of water such as close to rivers, lakes, seas or marshes. This gives the eagle a chance to be able to hunt for food in the water, such as fish, which is their primary food source.

It is important for the Bald Eagle to live where there are trees so that they can perch and build nests. These large trees have to be tall and have open structure and it is important that they are close to water. They are sometimes found close to swamps that have standing water.

Some of their nesting habitats include swamps, lakes, shorelines, rivers, pinelands, flatwoods, open prairies and pasturelands. Eagles have been found in Florida, Wyoming, Alaska, Yellowstone, Oregon, Pennsylvania, New York City and more!

When do bald eagles lay eggs?

Bald Eagles will begin to lay their eggs depending on the breeding season. For example, in Florida, a Bald Eagle will start laying their eggs in November whereas in Alaska, they will wait until April and May to lay their eggs.

Some Bald Eagles will lay their eggs in February and March such as Bald Eagles from Minnesota. Once a Bald Eagle female is pregnant, it will only take her around 10 days to lay her eggs. The eggs will usually be around 3 inches long and 2 inches wide and will weigh around 4 ounces. They will be off white and they usually lay around 1-4 eggs at a time.

When a female Bald Eagle lays her eggs, she lays one egg every one or two days. It will take between 40-45 days before the baby bald eagle to start cracking through the egg. The eggs usually hatch in the order that they are laid.

After the egg is laid, the male and female both will sit on the egg. The males will leave to go on a hunt to bring food to the female but sometimes the female will leave to go hunt as well. When this happens, the male will stay on the eggs to keep them warm.

When do bald eagles get whiteheads?

Bald Eagles are born with some white feathers on their wings and on their chest but they are usually brown when they are small. When they get between 3-5 years of age, they are considered a juvenile Bald Eagle and that is when the feathers begin to turn white. It is called the transition of plumage when the feathers begin to change.

When a baby eagle is born, it is usually featherless and it develops its feathers as it grows. Most of the time they are dark-colored or shades of brown. A juvenile eagle is dark brown except under their wings are white.

An old Bald Eagle will still have some white feathers but most of them are brown.