About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus
Order: FALCONIFORMES Family: Kites, Eagles and Hawks (Accipitridae)

Description:
Large, hawk-like bird with dark brown body and white head and tail. Heavy bill, legs, feet, and eyes are yellow. Sexes are similar. Juvenile is dark brown with variable white mottling on wings and tail for the first four years of life.

General: Today, according to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, there are an estimated 9,789 breeding pairs of bald eagles. There are over 482 breeding pairs in Michigan. The Bald Eagle has been the symbol of the United States of America since 1782. At one time, the word “bald” (balde) meant white, not hairless, referring to the white head and upper neck of the adult Bald Eagle. They can live up to 40 years in the wild and even longer in captivity. A group of eagles has many collective nouns, including an "aerie", "convocation", "jubilee", "soar", and "tower" of eagles.

Behavior: Bald Eagles hunt mainly fish or scavenge for carrion. They don't mature until their fourth or fifth year only then receiving their characteristic white head and tail plumage. Bald Eagles generally mate for life and renew their pair bonds each year by adding new sticks and branches to their massive nests, the largest of any North American bird. Pairs perform dramatic aerial displays where a pair flies to a great height, lock talons and then tumbling perilously toward the earth. The birds brake off at the last second, just before crashing into the ground.

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