Magnificent Bald Eagle

Posted in Wildlife A-Z | May 14, 2010 | Comment Now

The bald eagle has a feathered head which is snow white. It is not bald as the name suggests. It has a white tail. The eagle is the national bird of the United States. The bald eagle was on the verge of extinction in the United States.

Bald eagles were a favorite among hunters. They were hunted for the so-called protection of fishing grounds. Pesticides such as DDT have caused havoc among the eagle population. The other birds, too, have not been spared. These chemicals thrive in fish, which makes the majority of the diet of the eagles. These chemicals weaken the eggshells of the birds and limit the reproductive ability. The use of DDT has been restricted since 1972.

Thereafter, the eagle populations have improved. Reintroduction programs have also played a major role in conservation. This has resulted in a success story for the eagle population. The US Fish and Wildlife Service has changed the status of birds from endangered to threatened.

Although, the number of bald eagles has increased in their natural habitat, they are predominantly found in Alaska and Canada. These magnificent birds utilize their talons for hunting fish. They also consume carrion. In addition, they steal the prey of other animals. This ability to steal urged Ben Franklin to oppose its choice as the national symbol of the United States.

Bald eagle thrive near water. They love coasts and lakes where there are abundant species of fish. They might even devour small mammals.

Bald eagle are known to mate for life. A pair of eagles often constructs a huge nest made of sticks. Their nests are one of the largest among all birds. They are located high above the ground and are home to a couple of eggs each year.

Young eagles are dark and lack the characteristic white marking that easily helps to identify the adult birds. The young eagles attain the white feathers when they are five years old. Young eagles are known to travel long distances. Birds from Florida are seen in Michigan, whereas eagles from California travel as far as Alaska.

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