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|Facts and Knowledge:
The bald eagle was adopted as the national emblem of the United States in 1782. It now appears on every dollar bill . Now rare, it is the country's most famous bird. The bald eagle was once a common sight throughout the United States and most of Canada, but now it is in grave danger. Pollutants and pesticides ingested by its prey have worked their way up the food chain and are threatening the bald eagle.
Habitat: The bald eagle makes it home along coastal areas, marshes, and river banks where it has the best chance of catching fish, its main diet. The eagle is frequently found in Florida's estuaries and pine forest. Greater numbers live in Alaska, its last great stronghold. Outside the breeding season, the bald eagle lives anywhere in North America where there is water.
Breeding: Breeding season lasts from December to April, although it begins earlier in Florida, the warmest and most southerly part of the bald eagles range. It is timed so that hatching coincides with the most abundant food supplies. Bald eagles mate for life and use the same nest each year. They build a huge aerie (nest) of sticks and twigs in a tree, or farther north, on rocky cliffs. The nest takes weeks to construct and is increased yearly. The female usually lays two eggs, taking turns with her mate to incubate them over the next 35 days. Both parents feel the young. Each brings food in its talons and tears it into smaller pieces with its beak. Competition for food is so great that usually only one chick survives to adulthood. As the chicks grow they learn to tear up their own food and the parents leave them for longer periods. The chicks practice flying form aerie, but they return nightly. This continues until l their parents force them to leave at the end of the summer.
Food & Hunting: Watching motionless from its high perch, the bald eagle spots the silvery glimmer of fish swimming close to the water's surface. Soaring effortlessly, the eagle plucks the fish from the water in its strong talons and carriers it off to eat. Sometimes the eagle dives underwater to catch fish. At other times it collects dead fish, such as salmon that have dies after spawning, or it feeds on other carcasses. This adaptable hunter also attacks wading birds, forcing them to dive repeatedly until they are too exhausted to get away. The osprey, also a fishing bird, will give up its catch for the eagle to scoop up. When fish are scarce, the eagle eats anything it can find or catch. It feeds on dead cattle and sheep. It also hunts live rodents and mammals including foxes and young deer, and even geese in flight.
Bald Eagle and Man: Humans are responsible for the declining population of the bald eagle. It was once widely shot for its hunting habits. Not it habitat is being drained for development. More harmful rate the effects of toxic pollutants and pesticides. Poison from contaminated prey builds up in the birds body/ Causing sterility. This and its slow maturity rate contribute to its decline.
Key Facts: Sizes, Weight, breeding, lifestyle, related Species
Length: Male, about 2 1/2
ft, female, 3 feet
Did you know:
Features of the bald eagle:
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