The bald eagle was chosen June 20, 1782 as the emblem of the United States of America, because of its long life, great strength and majestic looks.
The Bald Eagle is unique to the North American continent, and is endangered in 43 of the lower 48 states. The bald eagle's scientific name (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) signifies a sea (halo) eagle (aeetos) with a white (leukos) head. At one time, the word "bald" meant "white," not hairless. The bald eagle is found over most of North America, from Alaska and Canada to northern Mexico. About half of the world's 70,000 bald eagles live in Alaska.
Bald Eagles live near large bodies of open water such as lakes, marshes, seacoasts and rivers, where there are plenty of fish to eat and tall trees for nesting and roosting. Bald Eagles are carnivores (meat-eaters) and hunt during the day. Eagles feed mainly on fish, but they also eat anything that can be caught easily or is found dead. But, they canít lift more than four pounds.
Bald Eagles are one of the largest birds in North America. Adult eagles generally weigh between 7 to 15 pounds and have a wingspan of 6 to 8 feet. Females are slightly larger than males.
Bald eagles mate for life and can reach the age of 40. High in the treetops, on cliffs or mountains ledges is where the bald eagle builds its nest. They usually use the same nest each year, adding more sticks every year. Sometimes, their nests reach 10 feet across and weigh as much as 2,000 pounds.
Baby eagles are brown and white. The female lays 1 to 3 eggs, and the eggs take between 1 to 1 1/2 months to hatch. Both the male and female will take a turn of sitting on the eggs. After hatching both the male and female feed the hatchings until they learn to fly (about 3 months).
The distinct white head and tail of the mature bird is developed between 4 and 6 years of age. The beak and eyes turn yellow between 4 and 5 years of age, and are brown prior to that time. Their eyesight is very powerful, at least 3 to 4 times greater than that of humans.
Bald Eagle Protection Acts
The Bald Eagle Protection Act prohibits the take, transport, sale, barter, trade, import and export, and possession of eagles, making it illegal for anyone to collect eagles and eagle parts, nests, or eggs without a permit.
Migratory Bird Treaty Act
The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 (MBTA) is the domestic law that affirms, or implements, the United States' commitment to four international conventions with Canada, Japan, Mexico and Russia for the protection of shared migratory bird resources.