About The Bald Eagle
The Bald Eagle is perhaps one of the most well-known birds in North America as it is the national emblem of the United States. Despite its name, the Bald Eagle is not really bald at all. In fact, it has a distinctive white head and tail and a brown body.
Being a very large raptor, the Bald Eagle is 71-96 cm (28-38 in) with a wingspan of 204 cm (80 in) and a weight of 3000 – 6300 grams. It has a large hooked yellow beak and large broad wings, which it spreads out flat while soaring. Its eyes, legs and feet are also yellow. Furthermore, its legs do not have feathers on them.
The male and female do not differ in color although the female is larger than the male. Juvenile Bald Eagles are generally brown with some white on their feathers. The feathers in the head are not yet a distinctive white and the eyes are still brown.
The Bald Eagles Nesting Preferences
Bald Eagles prefer to build their nests in large trees – most often the largest tree in the area. They rarely place their nests on cliffs. A Bald Eagle nest is mostly made up of sticks and grasses and can be as big as 3 – 5 feet across and 3 -6 feet deep. Before the eggs are laid, the nest is lined with cornstalks and cattail to provide additional insulation.
Bald Eagles prefer to re-use existing nests. Each time a nest is re-used, the pair adds more nesting material. New pairs are often forced to build their nest from scratch.
Building a Birdhouse for the Bald Eagle
Bald Eagles are very large birds and rarely visit people’s backyards. As such, it is not really recommended to build a birdhouse for them. If you want to see one, it is better to visit your zoo.
The Bald Eagle Mating Habits
Bald Eagles are known to be monogamous and are said to pair for life. Recent research shows that this may not be always true. However, they do not have conclusive results as of yet. Their peak breeding season is from February to March.
Bald Eagles courting are a sight to behold. The most famous aerial display they engage in is called the Cartwheel Display. In this activity, a pair flies to great heights and then locks feet together as they go do “cartwheels” plummeting down towards the ground. They only break apart at the very last moment.
The Bald Eagle Feeding Preferences
As a member of the sea and fish eagle family, the Bald Eagle generally feeds on fish. That doesn’t mean that its diet is limited to that, though. In fact, the Bald Eagle will eat most anything that is available. They have been known to take advantage of dead animals.
The Bald Eagle is a strong bird and it can lift up to 4 pounds with its talons. It can open and close its talons as it wishes. It has been known to hunt in pairs. However, as hunting requires a lot of energy, the Bald Eagle needs ample time to rest in between hunts. For this reason, it doesn’t have to hunt everyday.
Interesting Bald Eagle Facts
- The Bald Eagle is the only sea eagle in North America (there are 8 species around the world).
- The Bald Eagle can live up to 28 years in the wild.
- This species almost became extinct due to DDT! Fortunately, there are numerous conservation programs in effect today.
- The largest Bald Eagle nest measured in at 20 feet high, 9 feet wide, and (over) 2 tons. This was found in Florida.