A Kettle of Bald Eagles

The Bald Eagle, which was taken off of the Endangered Species list in 2007, is an amazing representation of power over time. Up from about 400 breeding pairs, the Bald Eagle now has over 9700 pairs throughout North America and is continuing to grow.

An eagle mates for life, or the life of their mate, as it stays paired with another bird until one of them dies. They also often remain in small groups spread over a large area of land and become a fairly tightly knit group. When an Eagle migrates it does so with its home flock, or kettle, and the groups generally stay the same over the years.

The female eagle, which is slightly larger than its male counterpart, is about 35 to 37 inch from beak to tail feathers and has a wingspan between 72 and 90 inches. The tips of the wings have rounded feather and contribute stength to the lift of the bird and the forward movement. The Bald Eagle uses a figure-eight motion when flying but it prefers to glide on thermal updrafts when covering long distances.

Although the eagle cannot match the speed of a falcon, it does have a great deal more strength. The bald eagle can take about four pounds of additional weight while flying and can live up to 30 years in the wild.
One danger for the bird, outside of human interference, is catching too large of prey. Because the bald eagle primarily hunts fish, it is sometimes at risk of being pulled into the water and has had to adapt accordingly. Although awkward, the eagle can maintain a form of flight while on the water and can work itself to shore by flapping its wings on the water surface.

(this is a long video if you skip to 1:00 and then watch for a few minutes you should get the majority of the action)

(I also want to throw in that the eagle was holding out its wings in an effort to dry them so that it could fly again – the water doesnt hurt them)


1) Rutledge, Hope. “American Bald Eagle.” American Bald Eagle Info. 2011. Web. 15 Oct. 2011.
2)”Bald Eagle Facts and Pictures.” National Geographic Kids. National Geographic. 17 Oct. 2011. .
3)”Bald Eagle Facts.” Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. Viginia.Gov. 16 Oct. 2011..


Lorena Barba posted on October 17, 2011 at 9:44 pm

There’s an interesting moment in that PBS video clip (at about 2 min) when the eagle tilts its head to look at the prey hanging from its claws. It feels very real.
And the swimming eagle is nuts!

David Villari posted on October 19, 2011 at 12:50 pm

Great post, Morgan! I learned a lot from it and ended up making it a link in my post on Swan’s as well! I especially liked the video of the eagle swimming and drying off, it goes to show that not every animal is perfectly adapted for their environments and lifestyles.