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Age: 2 years
Birthday: March 1st
Favorite Food: Fish
Favorite Activity: Sitting on perch and watching people pass by
Range/Habitat: Bald Eagles are found in North America. Their range extends from the southern US into northern Canada and Alaska. They are found along lakes, rivers, marshes, and seacoasts. They migrate south in the winter (when northern lakes and rivers begin to freeze) to large rivers and coastlines in the US. They breed further north from Alaska east to Newfoundland and south to parts of California and the eastern US.
Behavior: Bald Eagles will eat carrion (like Turkey Vultures) but are primarily fish eaters. They hunt both from perches as well as from high in the air, seizing their prey in incredible dives.
Breeding: Bald eagles mate for life, seeking another partner only after their current one dies. They perform remarkable courtship displays in which the male and female will fly high into the sky, lock talons, and spiral downwards. They are solitary nesters and build giant nests out sticks and vegetation and line them with bark or sometimes seaweed. Their nests can grow to 5-6 feet in diameter and weigh hundreds of pounds! They lay 1-3 eggs per clutch which hatch in April or May. These chicks are semi-altricial (altricial chicks are born completely naked and with their eyes closed) and covered with light-gray down and with their eyes open. They fledge at 2-3 months and rely heavily on their parents for many weeks after. They don’t leave the nest until they are fully independent hunters.
Conservation: Listing: Least Concern. Current threats to Bald Eagles include habitat loss which limits their nesting and foraging areas. However, their populations are currently stable. In the mid-1900s organochlorine pesticides like DDT severely threatened Eagle and other raptor populations. DDT killed eagles either directly through consumption or via eggshell thinning. Bald Eagle populations soared after DDT was banned in the 1980s.