Bald Eagle

Scientific Name:

Haliaeetus leucocephalus

Type:

Bird

Habitat:

Wooded areas and forests near water (coasts, riparian areas, lakes, marshes and rivers) for nesting, may migrate through more open areas of the US in the winter

Range:

Throughout much of the United States and Canada, and northern Mexico

Status:

Least Concern (IUCN Red List)

This species is

NATIVE

to the Truckee Meadows.

Identification:

Because the Bald eagle is our national emblem, most of us are familiar with the typical appearance of an adult bald eagle. An adult bald eagle is big at up to nearly 38 inches in length, over 13 pounds in weight, and with a wingspan of 80 inches. They are bigger than all other birds of prey (raptors). Bald eagles have a dark brown body with a white head, a hooked yellow beak, and yellow feet. Bald eagles are opportunistic feeders, you may see them swoop down and grab their prey, steal from another bird or animal, or eat available carrion. While fish are the first food choice for bald eagles, they will eat reptiles, amphibians, and small mammals as well as scavenge on carcasses.

Fast Facts:

  • Benjamin Franklin was opposed to the Bald Eagle as our national bird (he preferred the turkey) because “He is a bird of bad moral character; he does not get his living honestly," as he is known to steal fish from osprey and even fishermen and eat garbage.

  • Bald eagles are a great conservation success story, as their numbers had dramatically declined during the 20th century, but they were removed from the endangered species list in 2009.

  • Concerted conservation efforts to save the Bald Eagle began in 1940 with the federal Bald and Golden Eagle protection act. 

  • While magnificent in flight as they soar and dive, bald eagles are a bit awkward when walking, but they are also capable of floating and use their wings to “row” through water.

Sources:

Contributor(s):

Regina Hockett (research & content)

Rachel Carroll (edits & page design)


Last Updated:

September 23, 2021, 8:22:15 PM