Bald Eagle


The bald eagle is the only eagle unique to North America. Its distinctive brown body and white head and tail make it easy to identify even from a distance. When flying the bald eagle very rarely flaps its wings but soars instead holding its wings almost completely flat. Its hooked bill legs and feet are yellow.


Bald eagle numbers in the U.S. were estimated to be between 300,000-500,000 in the 1700s. Numbers were once as low as 500 nesting pairs in the lower 48 states. Bald eagle numbers have rebounded since and now the lower 48 states boast over 5,000 nesting pairs. There are a total of about 70,000 bald eagles in the whole of North America Including Alaska and Canada.


The bald eagle is not picky about how it gets its food. It will eat carrionsteal fish from other birds or hunt for its own. Their most important non-carrion food is fish which they catch by swooping down and grabbing fish that are near the surface of the lake or stream.

Bald eagles make a high-pitched squeaking sound. Other interesting behaviors include talon clasping or cartwheel display where two eagles clasp each other’s talons in mid air and spin down letting go only when they’ve almost reached the ground.


Forty years ago, our national symbol was in danger of extinction throughout most of its range. Habitat destruction and degradation illegal shooting, and the contamination of its food source largely as a consequence of DDT decimated the eagle population.


Eagles primarily eat fish carrion smaller birds and rodents. Eagles are also known to prey on large birds and large fish.