The bald eagle is the national bird of the United States in 1782. The bald eagle is a sea eagle that commonly occurs inland along rivers and large lakes. The adult male is about 90 cm (36 inches) long and has a wingspan of 2 meters. Females, which grow somewhat larger than males, may reach 108 cm in length and have a wingspan of 2.5 meters. Both sexes are dark brown, with a white head and tail. The bird is not bald; its name derives from the conspicuous appearance of its white-feathered head. The beak, eyes, and feet are yellow.
Bald eagles are believed to mate for life. Immature eagles are dark, and until they are about 5 years old, they lack the distinctive white markings that make their parents so easy to identify. Young eagles roam great distances. Florida birds have been spotted in Michigan, and California eagles have traveled to Alaska.
Nests are usually about 1.5 meters wide, but old nests can be almost twice this size. The two or three eggs laid within take slightly longer than a month to hatch. Both parents share in the incubation and feeding of the young. The immature birds are brown with whitish tail and wing linings, but the pure white head and tail plumage do not appear until the birds are four to five years old.
Diet of Bald Eagle
Mostly fish when available, also birds, mammals. Feeds heavily on fish in many areas, including herring, salmon, carp, catfish, many others. They may eat birds ducks, coots, auklets, others, or mammals jackrabbits, muskrats, others. Sometimes eats turtles, crabs, shellfish, other items. Often feeds on carrion; when fish or carrion readily available, it may catch a few birds or mammals.
Habitat of the Bald Eagle
Bald eagles prefer living in areas close to bodies of water, as their favorite prey is fish. They can be found in wetlands, on the coasts, near lakes or rivers, and in marshes. When perching, roosting, and nesting, bald eagles prefer hardwoods, like oak trees, or coniferous, like pine trees. They appear to select trees based on height and sturdiness.
In 1978 the U.S. government declared the bald eagle an endangered species in all but a few of the northernmost states. By the late 1980s, these measures had enabled the birds to replenish their numbers in the wild. The bald eagle was reclassified from endangered to threatened status in 1995, by which time there were an estimated 4,500 nesting pairs in the lower 48 states. By 2000 the population had increased to more than 6,300 pairs, and in 2007 the bald eagle was removed from the U.S. list of endangered and threatened species.