Bald Eagle

A bald eagle isn’t really bald, but it does look that way, with its snowy white head fathers and white tail.

The bald eagle is the national symbol and bird of the United States, yet it was nearly made extinct there by the hand of human beings.

For many years they were hunted, both for sporting and for protection (many fishermen didn’t care for their hunting the fishing grounds)

A close up of a bald eagle
A close up of a bald eagle

In addition, there were pesticides used, such as DDt that did horrid things to both eagles and hawks, and wreaked havoc on their nests and chicks, by collecting in the fish that were the largest part of the eagles diet and weakened their egg shells. This would severely limit their ability to produce healthy chicks and caused them to be severely endangered.

In 1972 the use of DDT was quite heavily restricted and since then the eagles have very significantly rebounded and they are no longer in any danger.

Their population has come back to the point that the US Fish and wildlife service upgraded them and they are no longer endangered.

They have come back over much of the old range but are still most often seen and are most populace over Canada, Alaska and the Northern states.

Bald Eagles use their talons to fish, but will often get a meal by scavenging or stealing kills from other birds or animals, which is what prompted Benjamin Franklin to believe that they were not fit to be the symbol of the US. He preferred the wild turkey.

Bald Eagles live usually near water, favoring the coast, lakes and inland rivers where their main meal, fish is very plentiful although they will also eat small mammals.

It is believed that the bald eagle will mate for life, and having mated they will produce a huge nest made of sticks and feathers. A bald eagles nest is one of the biggest constructed by any bird, and is usually extremely high above the ground.

The bald eagle can produce as many as three eggs, but usually only a pair of them each year. The babies are nearly instantly ready to eat, and the mature pair cares for them together. The small eagles are dark in color and don’t have their white markings until they are about five years old.

Bald eagles will travel great distances, migrating from California to Alaska and from Florida to Michigan in a years travel.

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