Aerial Assassins

Sorry, but I didn’t quite finish the Eagle post yesterday.  I knew it was getting lengthy enough and thought I ought to stop.

Haliaeetus leucocephalus Deutsch: Weisskopf Se...

Today, it’s all about those majestic Bald Eagles.  Enjoy!

Native to North America, the Bald Eagle has been the national emblem of the United States since 1782 and a spiritual symbol for native people for far longer than that.

* The Bald Eagle is one of the largest
     birds in the world.
*  An Eagle’s life expectancy is 30 – 50
*  The Latin name, Haliaeetus
leucocephalus, means “white-headed”
    sea eagle.
* The Old English word balde meant
   white, not hairless.
* Eagles’ talons and beaks are made of keratin – the same material that makes up human hair and fingernails.
* The male Eagle is smaller than the female.
                      Female                Male
Size                    42″                      35″
Wingspan            8′                     6 1/2′
Weight          10 – 14 lbs          8 – 11 lbs

Pair of Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)...

Nest to Maturity
1 – 3 eggs take about 35 days to hatch
* 3 – 4 weeks the young develop most of their feathers
* 6 – 7 weeks they can walk
* 3 months they can fly
* 4 months they leave the nest for good
* 4 – 5 years to become adults (white head and tail)
* Young Eagles stay with their parents even after they have grown to full size; they separate when they migrate.

Mating and Breeding
The Bald Eagle mates for life.
* Eagle pairs often return to the same nest year after year.
* An Eagle nest is called an eyrie.
* The largest recorded Eagle nest was 20 feet high, 10 feet wide, and weighed 2 tons!
* Male and female alternate sitting on the eggs.
* Eagles often nest within 100 miles of where they were born.

Hunting Habits
* Fish make up 60 – 90% of the Eagles’ diet.
* Eagles can fly 30 – 40 mph during normal flight.
* Eyesight is 6x greater than a human’s.


Map showing the distribution of the Bald Eagle...


Found in all states except Hawaii
* Illinois has the second-largest winter
   population of Eagles (Alaska’s being
* There are fewer than 125 active nests
   in Illinois.
* The Bald Eagle is still on the Federal
   threatened species list.


Really, you should make time to visit the Eagles this winter.  They would love to see you!


Excerpt from a letter from Benjamin Franklin to His Daughter …
“For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly. You may have seen him perched on some dead Tree near the River, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the Labour of the Fishing Hawk; and when that diligent Bird has at length taken a Fish, and is bearing it to his Nest for the Support of his Mate and young Ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him and takes it from him.

“With all this Injustice, he is never in good Case but like those among Men who live by Sharping & Robbing he is generally poor and often very lousy. Besides he is a rank Coward: The little King Bird not bigger than a Sparrow attacks him boldly and drives him out of the District. He is therefore by no means a proper Emblem for the brave and honest Cincinnati of America who have driven all the King birds from our Country . . .

“I am on this account not displeased that the Figure is not known as a Bald Eagle, but looks more like a Turkey. For the Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America . . . He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on.”

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4 Responses to Aerial Assassins

  1. Such detailed post on these birds! You have quite the patience needed. I too share the same passion but not the same level of patience 🙂

  2. Anonymous says:

    nice thanks…

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