Once endangered, eagles are a conservation success story — over 70,000 of these majestic birds are thriving in North America today.

Adult Bald Eagles weigh up to 6.5 kg and their wings can stretch to over 2 metres across. It is Canada’s largest bird of prey. The females are 30% bigger.   Bald Eagles are not bald at all, but have a white head. Hundreds of years ago the English word for WHITE was BALDE and the word piebalde meant mottled with white, so the eagles with white heads were called Balde Eagles.  Bald Eagles live only in North America and all the way from Alaska to Florida, primarily along the waterways. They live around 30 years.   Bald Eagles see about 7 times better than people can. 300 metres up in the air, a Bald Eagle can spot its prey over 8 square km. Eagles can see both forward and sideways at the same time. Both eyes focus forward on a single item and this permits very accurate depth perception allowing them to accurately swoop in for the kill.   Eagles ears are small holes on either side of the head back behind the ears, under the feathers.  Their bills are made of keratin, similar to human fingernails.  They have talons at the end of each toe (3 point forwards and 1 backwards) which are also made out of keratin and are designed to carry things.  A flying Bald Eagle can fly at an altitude of 3000 metres and speeds of about 120 km per hour. When going long distances or just moving around their territory they tend to fly 30–50 km an hour. Several eagles soaring together is called a kettle of eagles.  Bald Eagles build their nests near water and primarily in very tall trees, usually 15–45 metres tall. Their nests are usually about 1.5 metres across. The nest can weigh up to 450 kilograms and is so strong that a human would be able to stand in it without breaking the nest. Often, they come back and return to the same territory year after year, often even the same nest.  Bald Eagles mate for life. However, if one dies or is lost, the one remaining will take a new mate.  The female Bald Eagle lays 1 to 3 eggs, but usually 2 eggs. They are about the size of a baseball.  The parents take turns sitting on the eggs for about 35 days. The hatchlings weigh about 85 grams. The eaglet’s feathers start to come in when they are four or five weeks old. The first egg laid will be the first egg to hatch and therefore the oldest eaglet may be a little larger and better able to fight for food than the younger ones.  Eaglets stay in the nest and are fed by their parents for 12 to 14 weeks.


The Wild Canadian Year

Wild Canadian Year

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From CBC Kids

The Nature of Thingies