Would You Like to Know Some Interesting Facts About Bald Eagles?

Bogdan’s Project “Let Me Tell You About Bald Eagles”

The bald eagle, with its snowy-feathered (not bald) head and white tail, is the proud national bird symbol of the United States

Quick Facts

  • Bald eagles are North American birds.
  • Their range extends from the Mexico border through the United States and Canada. They are extremely populous in Alaska.
  • The bald eagle has a body length of 70 to 102 centimeters (28–40 inches).
  • Bald eagle’s wingspan ranges from 1.8 to 2.3 meters (5.9 and 7.5 feet).
  • They are weight from 3 to 6.3 kilogram (6.6 and 13.9 lb).
  • Females are about 25% larger than males.
  • Bald eagles can soar over 3,000 meters (9842 feet) high, and their great eyesight lets them see fish up to 1.6 kilometers (1 mile) away.
  • When they attack, they drop down at up to 160 kilometers (100 miles) an hour! Then they glide just above the water, snag a fish with their feet, and fly off to eat it.
  • Bald eagles mate for life, but when one dies, the survivor will not hesitate to accept a new mate. During breeding season, both birds protect the nest territory from other eagles and predators.
  • Native Americans consider the bald eagle and the golden eagle to be sacred.
  • Bald eagles are typically solitary creatures. When there is abundant food, though, they may gather with others in groups of up to 400.
  • Bald eagles have no sense of smell, but they can taste. For example, if a bald eagle thinks that its food tastes spoiled, it won’t eat it.

Bald Eagles Aren’t Bald

Obviously adult bald eagles aren’t really bald. Their heads have bright white plumage that contrasts with their dark body feathers, giving them a “bald” look. But young bald eagles have mostly brown heads. In fact, for the first four or five years of their lives, they move through a complicated series of different plumage patterns; in their second year, for instance, they have white bellies.

The name comes from an old English word, “balde,” meaning white.

They Live Pretty Long Lives

Bald eagles can survive for decades. In 2015, a wild eagle in Henrietta, New York, died at the record age of 38.

They Hold the Record for the Largest Bird’s Nest

Bald eagles build enormous nests high in the treetops. Bald eagles are believed to mate for life. The male and female work on the nest together. Their cozy nurseries consist of a framework of sticks lined with softer stuff such as grass and feathers. On average, bald eagle nests are 2-4 feet deep and 4-5 feet wide. But one pair of eagles near St. Petersburg, Florida, earned the Guinness World Record for largest bird’s nest: 20 feet deep and 9.5 feet wide. The nest weighed over two tons.

They Can Swim

There are several videos online that show a bald eagle swimming in the sea, rowing itself to shore with its huge wings. Eagles have hollow bones and fluffy down, so they can float pretty well. But why swim instead of soar? Sometimes, an eagle will swoop down and grab an especially weighty fish, then paddle it to shore to eat. American eagles have been known to drown trying to haul heavy fish out of the water.

Bald Eagles Sound 

Most eagles are silent, except during the breeding season. But bald eagles are famous for their harsh, cackling call, which the birds use throughout the year.

You Mostly See Pictures of the Females

Female bald eagles are about 25 to 33 percent bigger than the males, sitting about three inches taller and having a five-inch-broader wingspan—that puts the average female at about three feet tall with a 7.5-foot wingspan. For this reason, eagle expert Connie Stanger told NPR that most of the images you see of bald eagles are of females.

Bald Eagles Can See 4 to 7 Times Better Than Humans

They are able to see things sharply from quite far away. This, of course, helps them spot their prey from high in the sky or from a lofty perch in a tree or cliff ledge. But unlike humans eyes, an eagle’s eyes can’t move from side to side. So to look around, the eagle has to turn its whole head.

What Do They Eat?

Bald eagles are carnivores, which means that they only eat meat. Bald Eagles favorite food is fish.

Other foods include ducks, turtles, snakes, frogs, muskrats, squirrels, rabbits, fawns (baby deer),snails, mice and other birds. They also may steal food from other birds or visit human garbage dumps.

On the Brink of Extinction

Bald eagles were on the brink of extinction because of hunting and pollution. But laws created almost 40 years ago have helped protect them, and they’ve made a comeback. In 2007, the bald eagle was removed from endangered and threatened species list kept by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.