Native from Alaska and northern Canada to Baja California, central Arizona, and the Gulf of Mexico. It is now extirpated from a lot of its southern range.
They are able to live anywhere on the North American continent where there are adequate nest trees, roosts ands feeding grounds. Open water such as a lake or an ocean, however, is also necessary.
Males: Length: from head to tail 3 ft; Wing span: up to 6 _ ft; Weight: 7-10 lbs
Females: Length: from head to tail over 3 ft; Wing span: up to 8 ft; Weight: up to 14 lbs
Young (# and name: foal, calf, cub, etc.):
1-3 eggs, usually 2
Opportunistic: carnivores, scavengers, pirates
Bass or trout, medium rat
Life spans (wild):
30 years or longer
Life spans (captivity):
Up to 48 years
Status (common, threatened, endangered, etc.):
Threats (to the wild population):
Habitat destruction and degradation, illegal shooting, and contamination of its food source, most notably due to the pesticide DDT
Anatomy/Physiology (anything unique or interesting):
An adult's plumage is brown with a white head (the white head appears after 4 or 5 years). There area feathers half way down the tarsus and the feet, beak, and eyes are bright yellow. Its legs and feet are very powerful and they have very long talons (like knives on the ends of their toes). The talon on the hind toe is fully developed and used to pierce vital organs of its prey while the rest of the body is held in place by the rest of the toes.
Habits (unique to species/collection animals):
They most likely mate for life. The mated pair will add onto its nest every breeding season. These nests are mainly made up of sticks and can weigh up to 2000 lbs. They are only partially migratory. If they have access to open water, then they will stay in that site year-round. If they do not because their water is frozen, then they will migrate south, flying 3 months, to warmer weather. They may range over great distances, they usually return to nest within 100 miles of where they were raised.
Communication (vocalization, etc.):
They have rather weak, flat, chirping whistles.
Fish, preferably salmon; birds, especially water fowl; small mammals, rabbits and carrion
Locomotion (type, top speeds, etc.):
They use thermals to ascend and then glide down and circle through the stream of thermals.
Activity (diurnal, nocturnal):
Any interesting story/fact (species or collection animal):
It is our national bird and the only eagle unique to North America. They have some of the largest nests in the world.
A female will lay her eggs a few days apart. The first chick hatched will be able to dominate the younger chicks for food because they are bigger. If there is a third chick it has little chance for survival. Most likely the older chicks will toss it out of the nest so they will get more food. This is called siblicide.
They will sometimes steal other birds' prey instead of hunting for their own.
They can lift up to 4 lbs.
In 1782 there were 25, 000-75, 000 birds, but in 1963 there were only 417 pairs. Their first protection was in 1940 under the Bald Eagle Protection Act. Then in 1966 they were listed in the Endangered Species Preservation Act. Finally in 1978 they were listed as Endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. The biggest help to their population was the banning of DDT in 1972. Since then the populations have increased and are not considered endangered, but threatened.