Bald Eagle

(Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

 

An adult bald eagle, with its white head and tail, is easily identified, but a young or immature bird is often mistaken for a golden eagle. Adult plumage is not fully attained until the fifth or sixth year. The bald eagle has feathers extending only half-way down the leg, and less white showing at the base of the tail and primaries (longest wing feathers) than the golden eagle. Weight varies from 3 to 5.5 kg (7 to 12 lb.) and wingspan in an adult may reach up to 2.5 m (8 ft.). It is about 85 cm (33 in.) long. This eagle, found only in north America, is most often seen in the mountain and northern regions of Alberta. It winters in the central and southern U.S. and on the Pacific coast. Except during migration, the bald eagle is always found near rivers and lakes. Nests are usually built near the tops of tall trees. Relatively small at first, the nest is added to and repaired each successive year it is inhabited, until it may reach a diameter of 2.5 m (8 ft.). Two to three white eggs are an average clutch size. The bald eagle is a scavenger and a predator, subsisting mainly on fish. Small birds and rodents may also form part of its diet. Unfortunately, in the United States and southern Ontario, the number of bald eagles has dropped alarmingly in recent decades, apparently as a result of the effects

 (This text information was provided by Alberta Government Resource Development)

 

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