Skip links

Facts About Bald Eagles For Kids

Meet the bald eagle. The largest bird in North America, bald eagles, are typically four to five feet tall with a wingspan of up to seven and a half feet, though they can be much larger. They are predators that eat mainly fish but will also take other birds and mammals if the opportunity arises. They can soar 45 miles an hour while carrying off live prey or deceased carrion in their talons. While bald eagles aren’t typically known for their songs, their signature cry is a loud high pitched yodel “horreow.” They mate for life, and the female lays two eggs every two years. The young birds leave the nest after one year, and after about five years, they will attain their full adult plumage.

What is a bald eagle?

The bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) is the common name for an eagle species in North America and southern parts of Eurasia, especially Europe. They are strong fliers, using thermal currents to carry them great distances during migration season. At that time, this large raptor becomes a familiar bird worldwide, with sighting rates ranging up to twenty-five percent of all recent migrants returning to their breeding home each year.

Where do bald eagles live?

Bald eagles live along rivers and lakes, with most habitats along the Pacific Coast and the Great Lakes. The roots of their habitat lie in Canada and the northern United States, and they can be found all the way south to Ohio and Florida. Bald eagles don’t migrate; rather, their habitats shift seasonally as winter gives way to spring or summer. They cannot maintain a frozen form of energy that would help them survive a migration, so they remain where they can reliably find prey such as fish and food such as dead animals.

What do bald eagles eat?

Bald eagles typically feed on small-to-medium-sized animals, including, but not limited to: ducks, snakes, rabbits, muskrats, and mice. Often they will hunt in pairs or individually to ensure a successful kill. Once a kill is made, they will carry off the dinner in their talons. Due to their large size and strong talons, they can lift approximately 4 pounds (1.8 kilograms) per foot of wing length.

What do bald eagles sound like?

Bald eagles can produce a wide variety of sounds that they will use to communicate with one another and threats to other animals. They may be heard calling loudly and clearly with a high pitch screech described as yelping, screaming, crying, and hooting; often, the pitch will increase and decrease, adding emphasis and excitement during mating or territorial disputes.

What is a bald eagle’s mating call?

When bald eagle pair mates, they tend to “dance” with one another in the air, often high above the ground. The male will fly around and then dive toward his partner; she will rise and meet him. They may engage in this behavior several times to show their mate they are serious about pairing and will supply for them and their future offspring.

What is a bald eagle’s cry like?

The call of a bald eagle can sound like screaming or yelling, but it is most commonly described as; “kee-har” or “krrahh.” Mating pairs will sometimes engage in an up and down call that sounds like; “kee-har, kee-har”; to which the female may respond with; “krrahh.”

How do bald eagles catch fish?

Bald eagle pairs will often stay together to chase and hunt their prey. They will target migratory birds or fish at the edge of a large body of water and may take over 30 minutes to make a successful capture. Generally, they will flap their wings slowly and gracefully toward their unsuspecting prey, eventually gaining enough momentum and lift to set them above the ground. Once they have been carried high enough, they will release from each other’s talons and dive upon their target for a kill.

How long do bald eagles live?

Bald eagles live an average of 25 years in the wild and up to 40 years in captivity. Those numbers are expected to increase with current recovery efforts as more and more eagle habitat is protected across the country.

What is a bald eagle’s mating dance like?

Bald eagles often perform a series of acrobatics with their mates following an aerial courtship display; they may engage in several dives and loops before returning to one another for a rest on the sky above. After they’ve rested, they may repeat this action several times until both are satisfied with their mate. This ritual will last anywhere from three minutes to over ten minutes.

What types of bald eagles are there?

There are two primary types of bald eagles, the Atlantic and the Northern, with their distinctions mainly prominent in their beak structure. The Northern has a shorter, hooked beak, whereas the Atlantic has a longer, straighter beak. There are also minor physical variations between the two types, generally relating to the size of their feet and talons. Additionally, an intermediate form known as the “Giant Eagle” had beaks similar to both types at one point in history. Still, it was scientifically determined to be a hybrid between the two. Unfortunately, that particular bird is believed to no longer exist.

How many bald eagles are there?

The current number of birds at the end of the twentieth century was estimated at over 4,000. However, that number is now under 1,000, and their population is still declining rapidly. Through the efforts of conservationists and wildlife agencies, especially those in Alaska and northern Canada, where it’s mostly confined, we will likely never see a wild bald eagle again.
Bald eagles’ habitat has been shrinking due to development, so if they continue to disappear from other parts of their range and other parts of California, it may be time to reintroduce them into areas where they were once part of the ecosystem before human development altered their habitats.

How much does a bald eagle weigh?

When their wings and tail are included, they can reach up to ten pounds (4.5 kg). Their tail feathers, along with the talons on their feet, account for about half of that.

How tall are bald eagles?

An adult bald eagle is tall, tall, or tall and an adult female is tall or tall. The largest known specimen was found in Alaska; it weighed and stood tall; the largest reported specimen was found in Nebraska, where it weighed and stood tall.