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The Bald Eagle our National Bird is the only unique eagle in North America. Its' scientific name signifies a sea(halo)eagle(aeetos)with a white(leukos) head. At one time the word bald meant white not hairless.
The Bald Eagle is found over most of North America, from Alaska and Canada to Northern Mexico. There are an estimated 50,000 Bald Eagles in the United States with 80 percent found in Alaska.
Bald Eagles have 7,000 feathers like hair and nails, are made of Keratin. The feathers trap air to insulate birds against the cold, and protect them against rain. Most Bald Eagles migrate South in winter and return North in the Spring to nest. The Bald Eagles’ lifting power is 4 to 5 pounds, and they feed on carrion (dead, decaying flesh), and fish.
A typical Bald Eagle nest is 5 feet in diameter, and they use the same nest year after year. Over the years some nests can become as much as 9 feet in diameter, and weigh 2 tons.
A Bald Eagle reaches sexual maturity at around 4 or 5 years of age, and they mate for life. However if one dies the other will not hesitate to accept a new mate. During breeding season both birds protect the nest territory from other eagles and predators.
Mating season varies greatly by region. In the South it's generally from late September to November, while in the Great Plains and Mountain West it is January to March. In Alaska it lasts from March to April.
The Bald Eagle lays 1-3 eggs. Five to ten days after a successful copulation the female lays a speckled off white or buff colored egg about the size of a goose egg. The second a few days later, followed by a possible third. Incubation time for theese eggs are 35 days. One parent is always on the nest during incubation. The nesting cycle from the time parents build the nest, and the young are on their own is about 20 weeks.
Baby Eaglets grow rapidly, they add one pound every 4-5 days. 10-13 days after hatching the eaglet takes its first flight. Approximately 40 percent of the eaglets do not survive their first flight. Once young eaglets have fledged( acquired necessary feathers for flight) they remain around the nest for 4-5 weeks. 6-9 weeks after fledging eaglets leave the nesting area.
Bald Eagles can fly up to 30 miles an hour, and live to be about 30 years old.