Bald eagle: from the edge of the abyss to protection

Bald eagle has an estimated population of 150,000 individuals in the United States of America and is present with a population of 15,000-20000 individuals also in Canada

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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Bald eagle: from the edge of the abyss to protection

Bald eagle has an estimated population of 150,000 individuals in the United States of America and is present with a population of 15,000-20000 individuals also in Canada. Despite being the symbol of the USA, this large bird of prey has long been hunted for trophy or because it was considered harmful, so much so that it almost went extinct in 1920.

Since then, killing white-headed sea eagles has been banned by the government and now about 150,000 survive in Alaska, Florida, Indiana, Colorado, Texas, California and parts of Canada. Contrary to what many believe, the bald sea eagle produces relatively low and high-pitched sounds, consisting of chirps, whistles and shrill cackles.

The Bald Eagle produces three main types of calls: a cackle that sounds like a moan and a strong reverberating sound, a sort of long, high-pitched cry used when it perceives a threat.

Bald eagle: from the edge of the abyss to protection

In addition to communicating it with this call, the bald sea eagle communicates that it is threatened with a series of displays such as movements of the head, wings or by crouching.

When the couples return to their nest they call each other and put on extraordinary performances in flight. The Bald Sea Eagle hunts different varieties of fish, in particular salmon and occasionally also waterfowl, small mammals and reptiles.

The Bald Sea Eagle hatches 2-4 large eggs, weighing up to 750 grams, from which chicks as big as a robin and totally white. Often in a brood of three or more eggs, one, weaker, dies. Parents feed the chicks with fish and lizards.

Chicks learn to fly at three months of age. The plumage of adults is dark brown with a white head and tail. The only dimorphism is the size: females are in fact 25% larger than males. The beak and legs are bright yellow. The bald eagle is 70-100 cm long, weighs between 3 and 6 kg and has a wingspan of between 1.8 and 2.3 meters.

It is the largest bird of prey in the North America after the California condor, however the golden eagle has a larger wingspan.