The Bald Eagle continues to fly our North American skies as the top predator in the avian world. Being found in many native tales, this giant bird has meaning to anyone who has given a moment to marvel at it's presence. As a national emblem in the US since 1782, the Bald Eagle has been persecuted to endangerment by human hunting and pesticides, but has since found stability in numbers and expansion in range. It was removed from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife in the Lower 48 States on June 28, 2007.
Being a very skilled hunter this bird will dine on both fish and mammals but always has a strong scent aimed on easy meals, such as carrion, or robbing others of their hard earned kill. The eagle has been observed hunting in pairs using a flushing method to achieve success. While one bird flushes prey out of hiding, the other will pursue it staying undetected and make the kill. Eagles are a fascinating creature to observe hunting either on land or at sea, always exerting dominance into each movement as they push closer to their prey. From the remarkable bone crushing power in the talons to the flesh ripping strength in their large beak, this raptor fears nothing in it's realm and has all the tools for survival.
When eagles are hunting, they prefer very large coniferous or deciduous trees with a wide open view to perch on while surveying. They have been noted to sit and scan for hours in the same tree before locking eyes on their victim or moving onward to another location. Eagles will also dine on much larger prey than they can actually carry away and will revisit a site numerous times to devour a meal. When food is scarce, eagles can go without eating for days and even weeks until food is more abundant again.
Nests are used for decades by the same family and continue to be repaired and enlarged the longer they are still standing and inhabited. The biggest eagle nest recorded to date was measured at 2.9 meters in diameter and 6.1 meters tall in Florida. Searching the nest tree's bottom will always produce a great deal of sign to what the nest users have been preying on. It is not uncommon to find a bounty of skeletons, of different sorts, and items such as domestic pet collars and other domestic animal accessories. For example, one birth study group found 9 cat collars in the bottom of the nest during their routine investigations in Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada.
The multitude of behaviors in these powerful birds is reason to take every opportunity provided and watch to learn. From the raising of their young to the mating displays in flight, the Bald Eagle's lifeline is a miraculous study and full of lessons for the teachable mind.
Robbie P. Gallant
As a naturalist, I spend a great amount of time in personal study. Discussion and research is key to exploring new and intelligent ideas and furthering our understanding of our natural surroundings.