The American Bald Eagle - More Than a Bird

 

The American Bald Eagle - More Than a Bird

Welcome To My American Bald Eagle Page, Here you will find great bald eagle facts including finding out what bald eagles eat and how they hunt. I will provide links from this page on more specific areas of this magnificent species of Eagle including habitat, photos, drawings, the conservation status on the endangered bald eagle and lots more...

  • Bald Eagle - Haliaeetus Leucocephalus
  • Wingspan - 170-240cm
  • Length - 70-102cm
  • Average Weight - around 5kg
  • Size of Male in relation to Female – 75%

The Bald Eagle is a large member of the Eagle family with two subspecies native to America. They are very beautiful birds and of course are not really bald at all. One of my bald eagle facts is that the name is derived from the latin meaning of bald which means “White Headed” and not bald at all.

The American bald eagle in adult plumage is a striking bird and one of the most well known birds of prey along with the magnificent Golden Eagle and Peregrine Falcon. They only develop the characteristic white feathering on the head after the first moult and juvenile birds are darker and the same colour all over. This is probably to help with camouflage when in the nest.

Adult birds are chocolate to dark brown all over with a white head and tail. Bald eagles have wedge shaped tails which helps them to be a little bit more manoeuvrable when hunting. Along with the Bateleur Eagle, they are one of the most agile of all the large eagles and demonstrate this with their technique of hunting. So what do Bald eagles eat..?

What Bald Eagles Eat

The American Bald Eagle is a member of the Fish Eagle Family. This is betrayed by its latin name Haliaeetus. This means bald eagles eat almost exclusively fish although all birds of prey are opportunistic and will scavenge if hungry enough. Bald Eagles eat and actively hunt fish and they are very well equipped for this choice of prey.

Like the Osprey, the American bald Eagle has short powerful toes but long scimitar shaped talons. These are perfect for gripping onto slippery fish. The Bald Eagle has brilliant talon – eye coodornition and is capable of snatching unsuspecting fish from the surface of a lake at top speed and is incredibly accurate when doing so.

Here is a fantastic video of what bald eagles eat and how they go about catching it. Just watch the incredible coordination when travelling at speeds of 50KPH or more!

This video just shows how incredibly dominant the bald headed eagle is in its field. The salmon that the bals eagles eat are themselves powerful animals and yet is helpless in the curved talons of this fish killer.

To find out more specifics and more bald eagle facts please click on the links to the specific pages...

  • Bald Eagle Sounds
  • Bald Eagle Habitat
  • Bald Eagle Pictures
  • The Bald Eagle Food Chain
  • Immature Bald Eagle
  • Endangered Bald Eagles

American Bald Eagle Facts - Flying

The American Bald Eagle is a very powerful Flier. Even when carrying a fish they can fly at 50 KPH and without a fish can reach cruising speeds of over 70kph. When diving they can reach speeds of around 180 kph!. For an eagle which are usually thought of as large, heavy and cumbersome this is extremely impressive. Here's my page on Bald Eagle Flying

I will not go into detail on the bald eagle food chain because this is written in the bald eagle food chain section. However, these great birds are opportunistic feeders and if pushed to it they will eat almost anything. They are not fussy and will often fight off other predators much bigger than them and will gang up if needed.

Nesting and Reproduction

The Bald Headed Eagle is generally strictly monogamous. However if the pair turns out to be infertile then they will “divorce” and new pairs will form. Also, if one of the pair dies the other will find a new mate quite quickly. Birds of prey are not particularly sensitive creatures and do not feel emotion as we do. Courtship is generally quite vigorous and scientists believe that this period is used as a test to see how fit the prospective mate is. The courtship displays will often end in both eagles locking talons and spiralling downwards free falling until just before hitting the ground where they will separate.

Bald eagle nests are enormous, the biggest in fact of any bird of prey along with the Golden Eagle. Another one of the bald eagle facts is that their nests can weigh over one ton! That is very big indeed seeing as the nests are made mainly from sticks, the biggest bald eagle nest was found in Florida and was measured at a staggering 6 metres (20 ft) deep and weighing nearly three tons!

The female will usually lay three eggs but it is rare for all the chicks to survive. The smallest and last one to hatch is normally eaten or thrown out of the nest by the others as competition for food is very tough.

Spiritual Connotations

The Bald Headed Eagle has always been a symbolic bird of prey. Like the Golden Eagle, moulted feathers from the bald headed eagle are used among many spiritual tribes and was always very important in native American culture.

The Lakota tribe held this species of Eagle in very high regard and a feather was a very honoured possession, nominally given to those who had achieved a great respect from the rest of the tribe.

The Bald Headed Eagle has always been denoted as a messenger between the heavens and earth. The fact that so many people hold this bird in such high regard is testament to its majesty and beauty as well as prowess as a predator.

Even nowadays the Bald Eagle is the symbol of America and College graduates are sometimes given a feather as a mark of respect for high achievement.

Bald Eagles in Falconry

The American Bald Eagle is not very suitable for falconry, this is due to its temperamental nature and its hunting techniques. Because a bald eagle is programmed to grab fish from the surface of the water and immediately continue (carrying its prey) this makes it impossible to train using falconry training techniques.

All of the falconry techniques are geared towards the birds that take their prey either in the air or on the ground. Having said this, it is possible to get American bald eagles to chase other prey that is not fish and some people have had limited success. They are certainly fantastic to watch in flying displays and wonderful birds to see up close.

I hope you have enjoyed my American Bald Eagle Page and I hope I have supplied you with some interesting Bald Eagle Facts. If you would like to submit your own thoughts on this species please write something just below in the submission box and I will upload it for you..its free and very easy to do and anything would be greatly appreciated. Otherwise please feel free to click on the links to the more specific pages on this species or browse the rest of the site. :)