15 Intriguing Facts About The Bald Eagle

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Bald eagles symbolize American pride and are an important part of North America’s ecosystem. They are the only eagle species that can be found throughout the continent. These creatures have many interesting habits, including their tendency to scavenge for food and their surprising ability to swim. Learn more about these striking birds with these 15 riveting facts.

Their Size is Intimidating


Female bald eagles are significantly brawnier than their male counterparts thanks to their eight-foot wingspan. These size differences make male and female eagles simple to discern. However, females’ size might make flying harder. Young eagles seem slightly larger than their parents because their feathers function as “training wheels” while they learn to fly.

An Impressive Lifespan

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Most eagles die of accidents or starvation before reaching adulthood, with up to 80% not surviving. However, those that do mature typically live for 15 to 25 years. Some have lived in the wild for over three decades and nearly half a century in captivity.

A Different Family Structure


While most bald eagles remain mated throughout their lives, a few exceptions exist. Other eagle varieties form partnerships consisting of three members: a male, a female, and a third member. These birds raise their babies in a communal nest.

A Unique Nest for the Young


One of the bald eagle’s most distinctive behaviors is building enormous nests in the same spot every year. These dwellings may reach a maximum of nine feet in width, twenty feet in depth, and two tons in weight. Eagles gather big sticks about a month before mating season to construct their nests.

Who Knew They Were Swimmers

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Eagles are adept at hunting both on land and in the water. Even though they seem awkward, eagles can swim well. They carry huge fish to shore by doing a breaststroke with their wings. Although bigger fish and waterfowl are bald eagles’ favorite prey, they have been known to swim with their talon gripped around little creatures.

They Are Sneaky Food Snatchers


The term “kleptoparasitic” describes eagles because they tend to take kills from other birds, such as hawks and ospreys. When food is limited, this inclination is much more noticeable. In its typical behavior, an eagle pursues a lower-ranking bird and snatches the animal carcass.

Almost Gone from Existence

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Once on the brink of extinction in the United States, the bald eagle has made a remarkable comeback. Thanks to protective laws, such as the Endangered Species Act, the population of bald eagles has surged from just 487 breeding pairs in 1963 to 143,000 by 2016. These policies have played an essential role in facilitating their recovery.

People Love to Fight for Them


Author Rachel Carson’s book “Silent Spring” led to the reversal of the fate of bald eagles by promoting awareness. She highlighted the harm DDT was causing to eagles and other bird types. Apparently, the pesticide entered the environment through mosquito control, contaminating the bird’s prey.

Don’t Disturb Them During Winter

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In winter, eagles seek sheltered roosts, often alongside fellow eagles. Disturbing them with human activity prompts them to seek new but potentially unsafe locations. They also steer clear of hunting near humans. To ensure their safety and that of their eaglets, maintain a safe distance and seek guidance from wildlife authorities.

They Are Not Loud Birds

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Eagles don’t sound as powerful as they seem. They make high-pitched tweets and chattering noises instead of the shrieking sounds we hear in movies. Filmmakers commonly use the smaller, more birdlike call of the red-tailed hawk to portray “screaming eagles” instead of the actual call of the eagle.

The Best Eyesight in the Wild


Eagles possess remarkably sharp eyesight, allowing them to spot game from great distances. Their eyes are specially adapted with large pupils and a high density of photoreceptors, enabling them to perceive details and movement with exceptional clarity. This keen vision aids them in seeking food, as they can detect movements of potential prey from high in the sky.

Food Comes Easy


Eagles are primarily marine life and bird eaters and inhabit areas with water. They eat a lot of fish—anywhere from 25% to 65%, depending on availability and location. They feed on carrion, rabbits, sheep, and chickens when seafood is scarce.

Caring for Eggs Requires a Certain Process

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Eaglets hatch from their eggs after around 35 days. At that time, the egg will be turned over by one of the parents every two to four hours. This stops the yolk from floating to the top, where it may cling to the shell’s interior and suffocate the chick.

Hatching Eaglets Isn’t Easy


Eaglets must endure a long and arduous procedure to emerge from their eggs. It roughly takes two days of hard work before the hatching process is completed. These baby birds use an egg tooth to crack open the egg gently and expose its delicate shell.

What’s in a Name

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The bald eagle’s name is a result of its white-feathered head, which appears “bald” in contrast to its dark body plumage. However, “bald” in this context doesn’t refer to the absence of feathers but rather to its gleaming white appearance. This distinct feature contributes to the bald eagle’s iconic and recognizable image.


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