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14 Bold Facts About Bald Eagles

Bald eagles are powerful symbols of America – but there are many more to these quirky birds.

. 1 The young bald eagle is not a young man.

  A young bald eagle with a brown head on a beach.


Obviously adult bald eagles are not really bald either – their heads are also bright white plumage, which stands out from the dark body feathers and gives them a "bald" look. Young bald eagles mostly have brown heads. In fact, they go through a complicated series of different plumage patterns for the first four or five years of their lives; For example, in their second year they have white bellies.


  A red-tailed hawk.

A red-tailed buzzard is typically weakened over the weaker eagle's scream.

] It's a scene you've probably seen countless times in movies and on television: an eagle flies over it, emitting a hard, piercing scream. It is a classic symbol of wilderness and adventure. The only problem? Bald eagles do not make that noise.

Instead, they emit a kind of shrill giggle or a faint cry. These sounds are so inconspicuous that Hollywood sound editors often play far more impressive sounds on Bald Eagle calls: the piercing, earthy cries of a smaller bird, the Red-tailed Hawk. If you've been a fan of The Colbert Report you may remember the iconic CGI Eagle of the Series of the Opening Train – this red-tailed buzzard is screaming too. Listen for yourself and decide who sounds more impressive.

. 3 They eat trash and steal food.

  Two Bald Eagles guard their prey in front of two magpies on a snowy field.


Imagine a majestic Bald Eagle plunging low over a lake catching a fish with its powerful claws. Yes, bald eagles eat a lot of fish – but they do not always catch them themselves. They've perfected the art of stealing fish from other birds, such as osprey, and chasing them until they drop their prey.

Bald eagles also eat gulls, ducks, rabbits, crabs, amphibians and more. They eat in dumpsters, feed on waste from fish processing plants, and even consume carrion (dead, decaying animals).


  Two bald eagles sitting on a tree.


Dustbin and carrion aside, they are pretty romantic animals. Bald eagles tend to mate for life, and share parenting responsibilities: males and females alternately brood eggs, and both feed their young.


  Two bald eagles sitting on a rock.


These romantic partnerships are even more impressive because bald eagles can survive for decades. In 2015, a wild eagle died in Henrietta, New York, in the record age of 38 years. Considering that these birds mate at the age of 4 or 5 years, these are many Valentine's days.

. 6 They hold the record for the bird's largest nest.

  Two bald eagles in their big nest.


Bald eagles build huge nests in the treetops. The male and female work together at the nest, and this quality time helps them to strengthen their lifelong bond. Their cozy kindergartens consist of a frame of sticks, which are lined with softer material such as grass and feathers. If the nest serves them well during the breeding season, they will continue to use it year after year. And like all homeowners, they can not resist the idea of ​​renovating and expanding their home. Each year, they are refined with one or two feet of new material.

On average, bald eagles are 2 to 4 meters deep and 4 to 5 meters wide. A pair of eagles near St. Petersburg, Florida, received the Guinness World Record for the largest bird's nest: 20 feet deep and 9.5 meters wide. The nest weighed over two tons.

. 7 Females are taller than the males.

  Two bald eagles in their big nest.


In many species, males are (on average) larger than females. For example, male gorillas are dwarfing their female counterparts. For most birds of prey, however, it is the opposite. Bald male bald eagles weigh about 25 percent less than women.

Scientists are not sure why there is such a size difference. One reason could be the way in which they divide their nesting tasks. Women take the lead in arranging the nesting material. So if you are bigger, you can take the responsibility. In addition, they brood the eggs longer than the males, so their size can intimidate potential egg thieves.

If you try to distinguish male and female eagles, this size difference can help you – especially since both sexes have the same feathering pattern.

. 8 To identify them, look at the wings.

  A bald eagle flies over the water.

iStock.com/moose henderson

People are often upset about a big, soaring bird and shouting "It's an eagle!" before it gets closer and … oops, it's a vulture. Here's a handy tip: Bald eagles usually rise with almost flat wings. On the other hand, the turkey vulture, another dark, high-flying bird, holds its wings flat V-shaped, which is referred to as Dieder, many large hawks hover also with slightly raised wings.


  Little eagle chicks in a nest.

Before the arrival of European settlers, bald eagles were plentiful in the United States. However, colonization destroyed habitats and settlers viewed the Eagles as competing for game and as a threat to livestock. So many eagles were killed when the congress in 1940 adopted a protective measure the birds.

Unfortunately, another threat to a rose at this time. After the Second World War, farmers and public health authorities started an insecticide called DDT. The chemical worked well to eradicate mosquitoes and agricultural pests – but as they went up the food chain, birds of prey were severely infested. DDT made dress eggs too thin and caused the eggs to break. A survey from 1963 revealed only 471 pairs of bald eagles in the lower 48 states.

DDT was banned in the early 1970s, and conservationists began to breed bald eagles in captivity and reintroduce them to locations across America. Fortunately, this species has recovered spectacularly. Now the lower 48 states have over 9700 box pairs.

10th You are a single North American American.

  An African Osprey flies over the water.

The African Osprey is a relative of the North American Bald Eagle.


You've probably heard of America's other eagle: the Golden Eagle. This bird lives in much of the northern hemisphere. The bald eagle, however, occurs only in North America. She lives in many parts of Canada and in the US as well as in the north of Mexico.

Although they are North American Indians, the bald eagle has seven close relatives found around the world. They all belong to the genus Haliaeetus which – quite unimaginative – comes from the Latin words for "sea" and "eagle". A relative, the African osprey, is a strong symbol of its own. It represents several countries. It is for example the national symbol of Zambia and decorates the coats of arms of South Sudan, Malawi and Namibia.


  A bald eagle carries a fish in its claws.


It seems too funny to be true: while bald eagles fly, they sometimes turn on the other's feet as they fall to the ground. Scientists are not sure why they are doing that – maybe it's a courtship rite or a territorial battle. Usually they separate before they hit the ground (as seen in this remarkable collection of photos). But sometimes they hold on and do not let go. These two male bald eagles blocked claws and still hit their feet with their feet. One escaped and the other was treated for talon wounds.


  Close-up of the face of a bald eagle.


What if you could close your eyes and still see you? Bald eagles in addition to the usual eyelids have a transparent eyelid, which is called Nictitating membrane. You can close this membrane to protect your eyes while the main eyelids remain open. The membrane also helps to moisturize and cleanse the eyes.

Eagles also have a sharper view than humans and their field of vision is wider. Besides, they can see ultraviolet light. Both means that the term "eagle eye" is accurate.


  A bald eagle sits in a snow-covered tree.

iStock.com/Charles Wollertz

If you are a bald eagle nests in northern Canada, then you are likely to drive south the winter to avoid the punishing cold. Many eagles fly south for the winter and return north for the summer, as do many other bird species (and retired Canadians). But not all bald eagles take off. Some of them, including individuals in New England and Canada's maritime provinces, stay here year-round. Whether a bird migrates or not depends on how old it is and how much food is available.

fourteenth YOU CAN SWIM … SORT OF.

  A bald eagle "swimming =" "in =" "the =" "water. ="


There are several videos – like the one above – that shows a bald eagle standing in the Sea swims and rows with its huge wings to the shore. Eagles have hollow bones and fluffy down, so they can float pretty well. But why swim instead of climb? Sometimes an eagle falls down and grabs a particularly heavy fish and then paddles it ashore for food.

Note that the announcer in the video above states that the eagle's claws are "locked" to a fish that is too heavy to carry. In fact, these lockable claws are an urban legend.

This story first ran in 2016.

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