The Bald Eagle is not only the well-known symbol of the United States of America but is also one of the best-known success stories in wildlife conservation. With a 7-foot wingspan, this massive bird of prey may now be seen soaring in every state and province in North America (except Hawaii) at some point during the year.
On the Menu
Bald Eagles eat a wide variety of meat obtained in different ways. They prefer fish and will wade in the water to capture prey. They also capture and eat mammals and large birds such as ducks. Bald Eagles will not hesitate to steal food from other creatures or to scavenge carrion.
Home Sweet Home
Bald Eagles usually live near large bodies of water and are found along coasts, rivers, lakes, and reservoirs, though some local populations make their homes in dry, open country. They are found from the windswept Aleutians to dense swamps in Florida. A Bald Eagle pair that nests successfully can remain together for many years. Eagles build huge nests, usually in large trees. They may reuse a nest for many years. The female lays one to three white eggs that are incubated by both parents for about three weeks. Emerging from the egg as fuzzy, awkward hatchlings, the young are ready to fly in 10 to 12 weeks. Both parents are diligent protectors and providers.
How Am I Doing?
The Bald Eagle was removed from the U.S. endangered species list in 2007. A primary factor in its recovery over the last three decades was the banning of DDT in 1972; the habitat protections provided by the Endangered Species Act were critical in the wake of the pesticide’s catastrophic impact. Today, Bald Eagles occur across the continent of North America into northern Mexico. While Alaska and parts of Canada have long enjoyed healthy Bald Eagle populations, this magnificent bird was a rare sight in the lower 48 states during much of the 20th century.
Help from Audubon
Audubon’s army of citizen science volunteers helps keep tabs on the health of Bald Eagles each year during the Christmas Bird count, while our network of Important Bird Areas promotes habitat conservation for this and other species.
During courtship, these eagles perform spectacular flight displays, clasping talons and tumbling through the air.