Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle
 The bald eagle is one of the largest raptors in North America. They are one of two species of eagles found on the continent but they are the only eagle that is unique to North America. This is one reason that it is fitting that the bald eagle is the symbol of the United States. The bald portion of the name bald eagle comes from the old English word balde which meant white. When the word balde fell out of use it was shortened to bald eagle.
Bald Eagle
 The bald eagle is a type of sea or fish eagle. The feathers on the legs of sea eagles stops at the top of their legs and the lower portion of the legs and feet are covered with scales. Sea eagles are designed to pluck fish from the water, which is why bald eagles are typically found around water. Although fish are a main part of the bald eagles diet, they are opportunistic feeders and will eat whatever prey is easiest to obtain. This often leads to a lot of scavenging.
Bald Eagle
Immature bald eagles do not look very much like their parents. They start out life with dark feathers on their heads and tails, black beaks and brown eyes. When they get to about five years old they begin to change. As they molt over the next 2 or 3 years some of the dark feathers that are lost from the head and tail will be replaced with white feathers. The beak will begin to change from black to gray to pale yellow. Finally after a few years it will end up the bright yellow. The eyes also gradually change from brown to bright yellow. The three birds in this post represent the three different stages. The bottom photo is an immature bird probably around 3 or 4 years old. It has not yet begun to change. The middle picture is a bird in transition between immature and adult. It is probably about 5 to 7 years old. The top photo is a mature bird that could be anywhere from around 8 or older. In the wild a bald eagle does well if it makes it to 25 years old.


Margaret Birding For Pleasure said...

Hi E great shots of the Eagles and great to see a juvenile. Thanks for information.

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Oh WOW, these are wonderful images, just marvelous!

Roger Owen Green said...

balde is white! THAT makes more sense.

Susan Moore said...

Extraordinary birds - I did see a couple of them when I was at Big Bend National Park - quite majestic! I did not know they are 5 - 7 years old when they obtain the white feathers. Wonderful photos!

Lmkazmierczak said...

Dynamic shots...love the action♪ http://lauriekazmierczak.com/bumblebee-5/

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous feather detail you captured in flight. Love these birds!

Ann said...

Such regal birds, just gorgeous.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful information on eagles. Thanks for the beautiful pictures and education.

WordServe said...

To Jeff Fischer, Ecobirder
Hello Jeff,
I love your photos of birds. I am asking you for permission to use one photo (of a singing clay-colored sparrow) in a children's book called "The Sparrow and the Peacock" which I've written for my grandchildren and for print-on-demand at Amazon. Of course I would attribute the photo to you and add the URL to your blog.
I hope you will permit me to use the charming photo in the children's book, which will include your name and the EcoBirder Blog Spot on the credits page.
Thank you,
Vicki Taylor
Email: wordservant@yahoo.com