Saturday, 30 March 2013

Bald Eagles - Little Known Facts





  • Bald eagle babies attain adult plumage in about five years.
  • Bald eglets leave the nest at about 12 weeks old.
  • Bald eagles are monogamous and pairs mate for life.
  • Adult bald eagles weigh 8 to 14 pounds (3.6 to 6.4 kilograms) with the female eagle the larger and heavier of the two genders.
  • Bald eagles can live a long time, with a longevity record of 28 years in the wild and 36 years in captivity.
  • Bald eagles' call consists of weak chirping whistles, harsher and shriller from young birds than adults. Calls can be between mating eagles, or to warn of a predator.
  • They have excellent eyesight and the frontal setting of their eyes gives them excellent binocular vision as well as peripheral vision.
  • These eagles are powerful fliers; they can reach speeds over 35 mph (56 kph) during level flight and between 75 to 99 mph (121 to 159 kph) in a hunting dive.
  • Bald eagles hunt cooperatively — one bird will scare prey and another will grab it with its sharp talons.
  • Bald eagles' favorite food is fish, but they will also eat other birds, ducks, muskrats and sometimes turtles. They also they eat carrion (dead animals) willingly, and are notorious for robbing osprey of their catches.
  • The eagle's sharp, hooked beak helps it tear through its prey.
  • The bald eagle's closest relatives include the African fish-eagle (Haliaeetus vocifer) of sub-Saharan Africa and the white-tailed sea-eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) of Eurasia.
  • The bald eagle builds the largest nest of any North American bird, up to 13 feet (4 m) deep, 8.2 feet (2.5 m) wide, and 1.1 tons in weight.
  • A bald eagle will harass a hunting osprey until the smaller raptor drops its prey in midair, where the eagle swoops it up. A bald eagle may even snatch a fish directly out of an osprey's talons. Fishing mammals (even people sometimes) can also lose prey to bald eagle piracy.
  • An average adult bald eagle weighs about nine pounds and is about three feet in height.
  • The wingspan of an eagle measures from 5.5 to 7.5 feet.
  •  A pair of bald eagles from Florida is credited for building the largest nest that measures six meters deep, four meters wide and weighs nearly three tons. 
  • The bald eagle is not actually bald. It got its name from “piebald” meaning spotty or patchy which aptly describes the bald eagle with its brown body and white head and tail. In addition, the word bald is actually derived from an Old English term “balde” meaning white. 
  • Did you know that bald eagles have remarkably good eyesight? They can see four to seven times better than people. They can see things from a very far distance of up to one mile. This characteristic enables them to search for their food high up in the sky or from a perch in a tree or cliff. 
  • Bald eagles are also called American eagles, fishing eagles, Washington eagles and white-headed eagles.
  • Bald eagles breathe with their lungs and air sac system. They breathe through the openings on the side of their beaks called “nares.” 
  • Eagles do not have vocal cords. They make a high-pitched, shrill squeaking and screeching sounds via the air that passes the bones in their neck. Specifically, the sound is created the area where the windpipe is separated going to the lungs. The eagle’s calls are made to deepen the bond between married eagles or to warn predators not to pass their territory. The screaming sounds of eagles you hear in the movies are actually those of the red-tailed hawk used to provide a dramatic effect. 
  • Bald eagles can fly at approximately 30 miles per hour and can dive at 100 miles per hour. 
  • Female American eagles are larger than their male counterparts. The female’s height range from 35 to 37 inches with a wingspan of 79 to 90 inches. The males are between 30 to 34 inches tall with a wingspan of 72 to 85 inches. 
  • Bald eagles have long and broad wings making them capable of high flying. They have an estimated 7,000 feathers which are lightweight but very strong and flexible. The feathers also act as their protection against heat and cold as they trap layers of air. 
  • The beak and feathers of American eagles are made of keratin, the same material that makes up human hair and nails. The bird’s beak has a hook at the tip with an upper mandible behind it used to slice through thick skin. The beak has other uses apart from eating. Though a strong and sharp weapon, it can take care of its mate’s feathers or feed an eaglet.

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