The American Bald Eagle is the United States National Symbol. It was chosen as our national symbol in 1782 and was chosen over the Golden Eagle because it lives on on the North American Continent while the Golden Eagle also lives in Europe. When born it is truly an ugly duckling, but in four to five years it will turn into a beautiful bird that inspires you when you view it in flight. If you study about this beautiful bird you can learn some very interesting facts.
There are eagles all over the world, but the American Bald Eagle only lives on the North American Continent. The Bald Eagle is not bald it develops white head and tail feathers around the age of four or five. They stand at a height of 2 ½ – 3 feet tall and weigh about 10-14 pounds. Their wing span is 6-8 feet.
Bald Eagles mate for life, but if one dies the other one may or will choose another mate. Some eagles may live 30 years or more in the wild.
A Bald Eagles nest (aeries) is nearly always located in a tree that will be taller than 75 feet. A pair of Bald Eagles may take as long as six weeks to build a nest the first time. The nest is made of sticks and lined with twigs and green grass. The heaviest nest ever found was one ton. The nests may be as tall as five feet and the diameter could also be as large as five feet. There was a large nest found in Ohio that was eight and a half feet across and 12 feet tall. Occassionally the nests become to large for the trees and will topple the tree.
A female Bald Eagle lays 1-3 eggs and raises one brood of eaglets a year. Both female and male eagles will sit on the eggs. If the eggs are destroyed she may lay some more eggs. It takes the eggs four weeks to hatch.
Eaglets are covered with gray fuzz and require a great amount of food. Both parents feed the chicks. Bald Eagles normally eat fish (fresh and solt water fish), but will sometimes eat snakes and smaller birds, rodents and rabbits. There eyesight and diving ability help them catch food. They can fly with four to eight pounds of food in their grasp. Bald Eagles have long sharp orange beaks and curved talons to hold their prey. Because of their large size they require a large hunting area.
They have superior eye sight. They can see 1½ miles away. Theyh can also see both forward and sideways. Their flying speed is 30 – 35 miles an hour, but can their diving speed can be up to 100 miles an hour.
They are the top of the food chain making them more vulnerable to toxic chemicals found in the environment. Because of this vulnerability and the desire for their feathers at one time they were being hunted and killed
to the point of near extinction. That is why they were put on the Endangered Species Acts.
If you have ever watched a Bald Eagle soar across the sky you will realize that this bird is very special and we need to do all we can to preserve it for us and for future generations.