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Details about: Bald Eagle
 
Bald Eagle on CanadianWildlife.comThe Bald Eagle

Standing in the quiet and solitude of nature, you suddenly hear a sound reminiscent of a squeaky clothesline. Looking up you see a Bald Eagle soaring majestically as it rides the thermal convection currents.

Standing up to 40Ē (100 cm) tall and with a wingspan extending out to an incredible 8 ft (2.4 m), the Bald Eagle can attain weights up to 15 lbs (7 kg). Unlike many other animals, the female Bald Eagle is approximately 25% larger than her male counterpart is.

As Bald Eagles mature, their speckled brown coloration turns to a deep brown body with white head and tail feathers. The beak, feet and irises (colored part of the eye) are a bright yellow through their entire life.

During courting, Bald Eagles perform acrobatic dances in the skies. The spectacle of chasing and down after each other is topped only by the cartwheels they perform. Locking talons together, a pair of Bald Eagles will free-fall and cartwheel to the ground, releasing each other at the last possible moment soaring over the ground and ascending to do it all over again. Living for 20 - 30 years in the wild, they generally mate for life and only search for a new mate of one of the birds goes missing.
 
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The Bald Eagle is the U.S. National Bird found from coast to coast throughout North America and even in northern Mexico. Primarily living near larger bodies of water, the Bald Eagle prefers old-growth coniferous or hardwood forests. Ideally, these forests should provide good roosting and perching locations, areas to build their huge nests and be located near water. These nests, built between the trunk and large branches, have been measured up to 8 ft (2.4 m) in diameter and 13 ft (3.9 m) deep.

Bald Eagles are partially migratory, depending on their local environment and home location. If the water freezes over, preventing the Bald Eagle from being able to feed, it will migrate to locations that have open water and provide good potential feeding sources. Like the Bald Eagle in the photo, they primarily feed on fish, using their powerful eyesight to spot surface feeding fish. While flying high soaring on the winds currents, a Bald Eagle spots a potential snack swimming in the water and makes a dive. By side-slipping in flight a Bald Eagle immediately loses altitude, swooping down with itís feet clutched like a fist and, at the very last minute, extending itís talons to grab a fish swimming just below the surface. If fish are unavailable, the Bald Eagle will prey on other birds and waterfowl as well as small land mammals.

Masters of flight, Bald Eagles have superior aerial acrobatic skills. Able to fly and glide at speeds up to 45 mph (70 km/h) and, although they seldom dive vertically downwards, they can achieve an incredible 100 mph (160 km/h) speed diving!

During the 1950ís, the Bald Eaglesí future was in serious threat. Several factors including thinning of the shells of the eggs caused by DDT contamination in their food chain, illegal hunting and loss of habitat due to human encroachment on their territories, caused a plummet in Bald Eagle numbers. With only 412 mating pairs in the late 50ís, they were finally placed on the Endangered Species List in 1967. Conservation efforts, including the banning of DDT use in the USA & Canada, has seen an incredible rebound of Bald Eagle numbers with estimates in excess of 120,000 birds in the US alone. In 1995 they were officially removed from the Endangered Species List.

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