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Location, Habitat and Diet
The range of bald eagles is spread throughout North America; from Florida to Eastern Canada on the East Coast; across the continent to northern Mexico and Baja California in the southwest; and then to the Pacific Northwest, Western Canada and Alaska. They will generally not be found in northernmost Alaska and Canada. They are most often found near lakes, rivers, streams or oceans where they will be able to find fish, the main sustenance of their diet. Bald eagles will also feed on waterfowl including ducks, small mammals such as rabbits, and small reptiles. Another source of food for bald eagles includes carrion. Bald eagles have also been seen stealing prey from other birds in mid-air, particularly osprey.
Size and Description
Bald eagles are among the largest raptors in the United States, second only to the California Condor. They measure from 28 - 40 inches in length, or about 2.5 - 3.5 feet. The wingspan can reach from 72 - 90 inches, or 6 - 7.5 feet. Females of this species are slightly larger than the males. Bald eagles are most easily identified by the white feathers on their head. Their head is sharply contrasted by the dark-brown to black feathers on their body. Bald eagles will not receive their white feathers until they are approximately 4 years of age. Their feet have three long front toes and one hind toe, all equipped with long, sharp talons. This allows a bald eagle to grab and then pierce its prey.
Bald eagles typically prefer to remain near their nesting area, often for life. Some bald eagles may migrate to areas of North America where food is more abundant in winter, and then return to their nests the next year. Bald eagles will build their nests out of twigs, mossy material and feathers. They will often build the nests in high places such as cliffs so that they can survey the area for prey as well as offer protection for the nest.
Female bald eagles will usually lay two white eggs. The female and male will incubate the eggs in turns, and the incubation period will last a little over a month. After the eggs hatch, the young chicks will fledge in approximately 2.5 - 3 months.
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|Kingdom: Phylum: Class: Order: Family: Genus: Species:||Animalia Chordata Aves Falconiformes Accipitridae Haliaeetus leucocephalus|