Did you know that January 10th is International Save the Eagles Day? Although they're big and awesome birds, they need our help to make sure they keep their habitat and don't become endangered. The best way to keep these birds flying is to learn more about them, so let’s see what interesting facts Mr. Orlando can tell us about eagles!
Hunting birds, known as raptors or birds of prey, are all related, but the way to tell an eagle from a hawk or a falcon is the size. Eagles are big! The eagles you’re mostly likely to see in Canada are bald eagles and golden eagles. They have wingspans of around 1.8 metres.
Saying someone is eagle-eyed is actually a compliment on their super-sharp eyesight! Eagles’ eyes are really big compared to the rest of their head, and with these eyes they can see as much as eight times further than people. Imagine standing on top of a tall building and being able to spot on a bug on the ground below—that’s what eagles are doing when they soar in the sky. Eagles can also see more colours than we can, which helps them pick out prey that’s hidden. The way an eagle’s eyes are positioned on either side of its head lets it see what’s going on all around the bird.
Bald eagles prefer to eat fish, while golden eagles usually hunt rabbits, squirrels and other birds—but eagles can go after even bigger prey. Eagles have been seen hunting small deer, sheep and even wolves! When they catch something, eagles will definitely finish their meal, right down to the bones. The bones actually provide important vitamins for the bird.
While eagles have dark brown feathers on their bodies, the feathers of their heads, and tails are white. Young bald eagles are brown all over and only get their white feathers when they’re completely grown up. If you do see a big bird of prey with a bald head, that’s likely a vulture. Many vultures don’t have any feathers on their heads.
According to legend, the Aztec people of Mexico found the perfect place to build a new city by looking for an eagle on a cactus eating a snake. When the people found this eagle it was on an island in the middle of a lake—not the best spot for building! The Aztecs weren’t going to argue with a prophecy though, and set out to build a mighty city, one that, centuries later, became site of the capital of Mexico.