As the national symbol for the United States of America for over 200 years, bald eagles signify independence and strength. Thanks to the eagle's gigantic size and unique look, kids, and adults are enamored with these birds of prey. Find out more about the bald eagle with a few fun facts.
Size and Physical Features
Bald eagles are one of the largest birds of prey and can often be distinguished just by the way they look. National Geographic Kids offers some fun graphics to show size comparisons, so people can understand how ginormous these birds are.
- Females are bigger than males.
- While they are large birds, they still only weigh between six and fourteen pounds.
- Their body size is at least as big as a goose, with a wingspan bigger than the Great Blue Heron.
- They can use their wings like oars to row through deep water.
- The sound a bald eagle makes is quieter than expected and is made up of short, high-pitched whistles.
- They see in full color according to Smithsonian's National Zoo and & Conservation Biology Institute.
- Adult bald eagles have yellow eyes.
Because young bald eagles and adults look so different, a bald eagle can live to be 20 to 30 years old notes Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
- Eagles lay eggs in nests called aeries (AIR-ees).
- Their nests can be up to six feet wide and four feet tall!
- One nest in Ohio was used by a bald eagle family for more than 30 years.
- The largest nest ever seen was just over six meters tall in Florida.
- It can take one eagle pair three months to build their nest.
- Eaglets are gray when they are born, and then turn brown.
- Eaglets don't get a white head and tail until they are almost five years old.
- Both the mother and father keep the eggs warm for about one month before they hatch.
- In their first couple weeks of life, one parent always stays in the nest with the babies.
- A bald eagle can live to be 20 to 30 years old!
Habitat and Diet
Bald eagles have adapted to life through their distinct habitat and diet. They are hunters, food thieves, and sometimes scavengers.
- Adults living in the Southern U.S. tend to stay there year-round while those living in the North migrate during winter.
- They spend most of their time high up in the sky or near treetops.
- Since they prefer fish as their main meal, you'll find them living near large bodies of water.
- Bald eagles don't like to catch their own fish, they'd rather steal it from other animals.
- This is the only eagle unique to North America and found in every U.S. state except Hawaii.
- Today there are nearly 70,000 bald eagles.
- A bald eagle can survive weeks without food!
Get Up Close and Personal
If you can't get enough of these amazing creatures, look for rescued bald eagles living in enclosures at local zoos and sanctuaries. Until you can get out into the wild to eagle watch, check out these fun resources for more information and images.
- Watch bald eagles in their wild nests via live cams like these from Iowa or Pennsylvania.
- Find fun eagle facts in Gail Gibbons' illustrated nonfiction picture book Soaring with the Wind: The Bald Eagle which showcases their life cycle.
- Symbolically adopt a bald eagle to help keep the population safe from becoming endangered again.
- Make an origami eagle or learn to draw a bald eagle to keep as a decoration and memento of your new knowledge.
- Learn more about these amazing birds of prey in the History Channel documentary American Bald Eagle below. Parents should note this is a nature documentary so it will show the strengths of eagles as well as things that can harm them.
Learning about unique animals like the bald eagle helps you appreciate them and keep them protected from the dangers of man and the environment. Use these facts and resources to spark your curiosity until your imagination and thirst for knowledge are soaring high.