A Bald Eagle is a fun bird to see while bird watching. Below are some tips to help you identify Bald Eagles. We have also put together a list of fun Bald Eagle T-shirts, Bald Eagle bird patches, birdhouses, bird feeders, binoculars, stickers, and other fun bird-watching items.
About Bald Eagles
This snowy-feathered head and white tail is the majestic national bird symbol of the United States of America. The Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) is found throughout most of North America, from Alaska to Canada and all the way down to Mexico.
Unlike its name suggests, this bird is not actually bald but instead has a white head.
Bald Eagle Color Pattern
Both male and female adult Bald Eagles have the same color pattern. They have a blackish-brown back and breast, a white head, neck, and tail. They have yellow feet, legs, and beaks with pale yellow eyes. The young Bald Eagle gets its adult fluff after five years.
Description and Identification
A Bald Eagle is identified by its dark brown body, white head, and tail. The beak is yellow and hooked, having a cere of the same color. The feet and irises are bright yellows like the beak. The feather-free legs have short and strong toes with highly developed talons. The adult male and female can be separately identified as the male is 25% smaller than the female. The immature bald eagles can be easily distinguished too based on certain features. They have a dark brown body with white streaks scattered all over. Unlike an adult, they have black beaks with yellow tips.
Bald Eagle Size
The Bald Eagle is one of the largest birds in all of North America with a wingspan slightly bigger than that of the Great Blue Heron. Both sexes are between 27.9 and 37.8 inches in length and weigh between 3000-6300 grams. They have a wingspan of 80.3 inches.
Bald Eagle Behavior
They are typically seen either soaring and flying high in the sky or perched on trees spotting their prey. The Bald Eagle is a very aggressive bird often seeing harassing other birds and small mammals. It is a true hunter!
What Bald Eagles Eat
Bald Eagles primarily feed on fish and can consume about a pound of them in four minutes. They use their talons to pick out fish from water bodies. If the fish is too heavy, then Bald Eagles swim a short distance and drag the fish gripped in their talons to the shore. When fish is scarce, they enjoy eating small mammals like raccoons, squirrels, rabbits, prairie dogs, birds, turtles, snakes, crabs, etc. Being opportunistic predators, they display a trait of stealing prey from other animals and small fish consuming birds such as Ospreys. They can also feed on carrion-like scavengers.
The Bald Eagle is a great fish eater. On occasion, its diet also consists of small mammals, other birds, and carrion. Its excellent eyesight makes it a very good predator with the ability to spot its prey from high and far distances.
Bald Eagle Habitat
Bald Eagles typically choose to nest in forested areas close to water bodies for the ease of finding plenty of fish. For activities like roosting, nesting, and perching they prefer mature hardwood or coniferous trees. If the trees are in mangrove swamps, the nests are built at a lesser height. In the coastal areas of Alaska and Canada, where the number of tall trees is small, the birds nest on the ground. During the breeding season, you will mostly find them in wetland habitats like large lakes, marshes, seacoast, etc. In winter they might be found along with unfrozen water bodies or might migrate to uplands and terrestrial habitats, having an abundance of food. However, they always prefer to dwell in areas lacking human disturbance. This species of birds can be found near rivers, lakes, marshes, and seacoasts.
Bald Eagle Lifecycle
The female Bald Eagle lays 2 or 3 eggs which hatch after 5-6 weeks. Both the male and female Eagle take care of the chick. Once the chick hits 12 weeks old then it is prepared to fly out of the nest. The adult Bald Eagles take care of and stay with the chick until it is 20 weeks old.
Bald Eagles look for the tallest trees in a region, especially the super canopy trees to build their nests. Males and females get involved together in building the nest as it is a part of the pair-bonding process. The nests are built at great heights, just below the crown of the tree, supported by large bifurcated branches. The nests are constructed by interweaving sticks and are lined with other materials like grass and corn stalks. The hollow of the nest is filled with soft substances like the downy feathers of the adults. Often moss is found inside as the birds use it as an insect repellant. The nests on average have a diameter of 4-5 feet and a depth of 2-4 feet. It grows about 1-2 feet in dimension every year due to the addition of new material.
Anatomy of a Bald Eagle
Anatomy is the study of animals or other organisms and their parts. Bird anatomy is the study of birds and their parts. Birds have beaks, wings, talons, feathers, and other parts that are important to learn about. Learning about bird anatomy will also help kids learn how to identify birds. We focus on the exterior, external, or outside anatomy of birds to help kids learn how to identify them.
Some other types of bird anatomy are the skeletal system, muscular system, circulatory system, respiratory system, and digestive system. Birds also have reproductive systems, nervous systems, and immune systems. Birds are amazing creatures.
Range and Migration
Bald Eagles are found all over North America, including Northern Mexico, Canada, and all the continental United States. In Canada, you will spot them mostly along the British Columbia coast. A dense population of birds can also be seen in the forests of Alberta, Manitoba, and Ontario. The northern birds migrate either alone or in pairs to the West-Central or the South-Western United States in search of food as most water bodies freeze in the North during winter. You can find most of them along the Squamish and Cheakamus rivers due to the abundance of salmon fish. The Southern birds do not leave their breeding grounds at all.
FREE PRINTABLE BIRD ANATOMY INFOGRAPHIC
Here is a fun printable design to help kids learn about Bald Eagles.
Below is a blank copy to test your kids on the bird anatomy of a Bald Eagle.
Bird Watching Academy & Camp Subscription Boxes
At the Bird Watching Academy & Camp we help kids, youth, and adults get excited and involved in bird watching. We have several monthly subscription boxes that you can subscribe to. Our monthly subscription boxes help kids, youth, and adults learn about birds, bird watching, and bird conservation.
- Kids Bird Watching Monthly Subscription$10.00 / month
- Kid & Adult Bird Watching Starter Pack Subscription$10.00 / month and a $72.00 sign-up fee
- Kids Bird Watching Starter Pack Subscription$10.00 / month and a $19.00 sign-up fee
Bird Watching Binoculars for Identifying Bald Eagles
The most common types of bird-watching binoculars for viewing Bald Eagles are 8×21 binoculars and 10×42 binoculars. Bird Watching Academy & Camp sells really nice 8×21 binoculars and 10×42 binoculars. You can view and purchase them here.
Bald Eagle T-shirts
If you love the Bald Eagle you should purchase a Bird Watching Academy & Camp T-shirt. To help support bird conservation we donate 10 percent to bird conservation activities.
Bald Eagle Iron On Patches
Kids, Youth, and Adults love to collect our Bird Watching Academy & Camp iron-on patches. Our bird-watching patches help you keep track of the birds you have seen and identified. You can also display the patches on our Bird Watching Academy & Camp banners.
The Bald Eagle is a great iron-on patch to start your collection with. The patches are durable and can be sewn on or ironed on to just about anything.
Bald Eagle Stickers
Stickers are a great way for you to display your love for bird watching and the Bald Eagle. We sell a monthly subscription sticker pack. The sticker packs have 12 bird stickers. These sticker packs will help your kids learn new birds every month.
Bird Feeders For Bald Eagle
There are many types of bird feeders. Bird feeders are a great addition to your backyard. Bird feeders will increase the chances of attracting birds drastically. Both kids and adults will have a great time watching birds eat at these bird feeders. There are a wide variety of bird feeders on the market and it is important to find the best fit for you and your backyard.
Best Bird Houses for Bald Eagle
There are many types of bird houses. Building a bird house is always fun but can be frustrating. These 4 bird houses have become our favorites. Getting a bird house for kids to watch birds grow is always fun. We spent a little extra money on these bird houses but they have been worth the higher price and look great.