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Wild Things :: Bald Eagle

Just because the name suggests this bird is bald, doesn't mean the Bald Eagle has no feathers. It actually has white feathers on its head, neck and tail. The name bald comes from the old English word balde which means white.

Food

The Bald Eagle is a large raptor with a huge wingspan of about 7 feet. It feeds mostly on live fish or, when necessary, on birds, mammals, turtles or carrion. This eagle can be found throughout North America from northern Alaska and Canada, southward to Florida and southern California. It breeds throughout this range. Nesting in the southeastern US occurs mostly in Florida, coastal South Carolina and coastal Louisiana.

Home Sweet Home

The Bald Eagle nest is extremely large, sometimes reaching 6 feet across and weighing hundreds of pounds! You could take a bath in one of these things. Nest placement is really important; it must be close to water with a clear flight path from a large living tree and an open view of the area. It isn't comfortable in areas where there is a lot of human activity. Did you know these large birds can swim? It's true! They use an overhand movement of the wings that is very much like the butterfly stroke.

A Protected Bird

The Bald Eagle's decline began with the use of the pesticide DDT from 1947 to 1972, which caused eggshell thinning. Since then, numbers have increased but are still being hindered by habitat destruction, human disturbance, illegal shooting, electrocution, impact injuries and lead poisoning. This species was reclassified in July, 1995 from endangered to threatened status. Bald eagles are protected by federal laws and nest sites are protected on federal lands.

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