Bald Eagle Facts

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The bald eagle, which is not truly bald, is a bird of prey found in North America with about half of the bald eagle population living in Alaska.  

  • Eagles are opportunistic feeders mainly on fish.  

  • The lifespan of an eagle is 20 years.

  • The eagle builds the largest nest of any North American bird and the largest tree nests ever recorded for any animal species, up to 13 feet deep, 8 ft wide and 1 ton in weight.  

  • The typical wingspan is between 5 ft 11 in and 7 ft 7 in and mass is normally between 6.6 and 13.9 lb.

  • The bald eagle breeds at the age of 4 – 5 years of age.  They often return to the area where they were born.  

  • It is believed that eagles mate for life. However, if one member of the pair dies or disappears, the survivor will choose a new mate.  In addition, after repeated failed breeding attempts it will cause a mate to look for a new mate.  

  • The female is 25% larger than the male.

  • About Eaglets:

    • T​he eaglets grow rapidly, they add about a half-pound to a pound of body weight every week until they are about 9-10 weeks old, depending on if the eaglet is a male or female. Females are always larger.

    • At about two weeks, it is possible for them to hold their head up for feeding.

    • At about three weeks they are 1 foot high and their feet and beaks are very nearly adult size.

    • At about three to four weeks old the eaglets are covered in a secondary coat of gray down.

    • At about four to six weeks, the birds are able to stand, at which time they can begin tearing up their own food.

    • At about three to six weeks, black juvenile feathers will begin to grow. While downy feathers are excellent insulators, they are useless and must be replaced with juvenile feathers before an eaglet can take its first flight, some 10 to 14 weeks after hatching.

    • At about six weeks, the eaglets are very nearly as large as their parents.

    • At about eight weeks, the appetites of the eaglets are at their greatest. The parents will hunt almost continuously to feed them, meanwhile, at the nest, the eaglets are beginning to stretch their wings in response to gusts of wind and they may even hover for short periods. The eaglets grow stronger.

    • At about nine to ten weeks, they begin branching, this is a precursor to fledging.
      Around ten to fourteen weeks, the eaglets will fledge, or fly away from, the nest.
      Once the eaglets have fledged they may remain around the nest for four or five weeks, taking short flights while their primary feathers grow and strengthen. Their parents will still provide all of their food. The juvenile fledglings, with the exception of their color, look similar to their parents but are nothing like them in behavior. The juveniles now have to learn to hunt, and they only have what’s left of summer to learn. After that, they’re on their own. The first winter is the most dangerous and difficult part of an eagle’s life.