America's National Emblem the Bald Eagle
The adult bald eagle, pictured on left in the above picture, was standing guard over a nest of older eaglets that were almost ready to fly. As the current year's eaglets get older one parent will stay in the general area of the nest, but move further away with time.
The American Bald Eagle is America's national emblem and is protected by law. Because of DDT usage in the the 50s and 60s the number of nesting pair dropped almost to less than 450. Once the use of DDT was stopped and the birds were protected by law there are now almost 10,000 nesting pairs. What a success story! A new danger has arisen. The big wind turbines are now killing Bald and Golden eagles that get to near them and get sucked into the blades.
The Bald Eagle distinctive white head, neck, and tail make them easy to spot. Bald Eagles have been confused with the osprey. The osprey has a white head with a strip of brown in it, but has a white chest and brown tail.
The male eagle is slightly smaller in height, wing span, and weight than the female.
This eagle was flying near the Madison River in Yellowstone National Park.
Juvenile bald eagles have a mixture of brown and white with a black beak. They do not get white feathers until they are about five years of age.
This eaglet was seen in Woodstown, New Jersey area.
The parents mate for life are both involved in raising the young. Here one parent is bring nesting material to prepare for the hatching of the young.
Over the years watching this pair I figured out that one parent set on the nest for about 2-3 hours while the other one went elsewhere, but always returned with food.
Bald Eagles feed mainly on fish, but I have seen one carry home a snake. Because of their diet they live along the coast and on major lakes and rivers. This picture was taken just to the east of the Mississippi River. One winter I saw at least 60+ eagles, the best I could count, along the river just south of the Clark Bridge in Alton, IL.
Bald Eagles can fly at an altitude of 10,000 feet and achieve speed of about 30 - 36 miles per hour in level flight. They can see fish from several hundred feet in the air and they see in color. While their eye is almost the same size as a human their eyes are four times as sharp.