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The Bald Facts— How Much Do You Know About Our National Bird?
Posted on Thursday, June 30, 2016 by eNature
Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle
© Jorg Hempel
Juvenile Bald Eagle, first year
Juvenile Bald Eagle, first year
© Walter Siegmund

Patriotism is back in fashion, and one of America’s most potent icons is the Bald Eagle.

But how much do you know about our national bird? Find out now by taking the eNature “Bald Eagles by the Numbers” quiz.

Q. How many species of Bald Eagles are there in the world?

A. One.

Q. What’s the average number of eggs laid per Bald Eagle nest?

A. Two.

Q. How many years does it take for a Bald Eagle to reach adulthood?

A. Five.

Q. What percentage of Bald Eagles actually survive to adulthood?

A. Ten. Most succumb to starvation as immatures.

Q. What’s the depth, in feet, of a large Bald Eagle nest?

A. Twelve. Bald Eagles build the largest nests in the world that are made by a single pair of birds. Some nests weigh over a thousand pounds.

Q. What’s the average weight, in pounds, of a female Bald Eagle?

A. Twelve. In common with most other birds of prey, female Bald Eagles are considerably larger than their mates.

Q. How many pairs of Bald Eagles are currently nesting in Massachusetts?

A. Thirteen. This is up from zero a decade ago.

Q. How many years have Bald Eagles used a single nest?

A. Thirty-five. Once established, Bald Eagle nests are frequently used perennially.

Q. What percentage of a Bald Eagle’s diet is typically fish?

A. Eighty.

Q. In what year was the Bald Eagle pronounced the national bird of the United States?

A. Seventeen eighty-two.

Q. How many Bald Eagles can congregate in the fall along the Chilkat River in Alaska?

A. Four thousand. The eagles visit the area to feed on salmon that are dying after having spawned.

Have any Bald Eagle stories or trivia you’d like to share?  Tell us below— we love to hear our readers’ stories!


Go to the Bald Eagle entry in the eNature Field Guide »

(41) CommentsPermalink


I sure enjoyed the number of Eagles I saw in Juneau, Alaska.  Even though it was at least ten years ago.  I hope the numbers are still up.  They are truly a treasure to watch.  We seem to have more around here in Washington, too.

Posted by karen on 6/30

I live about 30 miles west of Chicago, Illinois on the fox river…for several years now the eagles have come to elgin during the winter months…many of our residents still do not believe that they are here….they roost in the giant trees along the river and soar on the morning winds above our city…I have seen them above my home and all along the fox river during the winter months…you can just about tell when spring is here in northern Illinois by the eagles disappearance….beautiful to see….

Posted by Ray B Maxwell on 6/30

Back around 1988 I was working in salmon habitat restoration in northern California (Humboldt County). I was new to the west, having grown up in Pennsylvania and had never seen a salmon, but had seen many bald eagles during my youth. One day in the middle of winter I was conducting a spawning survey on a stream in the Eel River watershed and as I was walking up stream I noticed a large tree suspended above, and across, the channel. As I got closer I noticed that there was a large bald eagle on the log, with a salmon carcass. The eagle had snagged the salmon from the stream and taken it up onto the log for eating. It was a very iconic image and a very significant experience for me to have had at the start of my career. I’ve seen lots of signs of wildlife eating salmon carcasses since then, but have never had the luck to come across something like this since then. I just wish I had a camera back then. But that’s typical - never seem to have a camera ready for these sort of events.

Posted by Michele on 6/30

We’ve been blessed watching a pair of bald eagles nest and raise their young at my s-i-l’s cottage in MI’s UP.  Most years they’ve had only two “babies” but last year they had three!  We have witnessed many a teaching moment in their lives.  I love when they are young and the parents are wanting them to fly ... oh the racket those birds make!  One time I witnessed a fishing lesson where “Dad” caught a fish, dropped that fish back into the lake all while the “babies” were following squawking away.  I miss it when the “babies” learn to fly and they go out on their own.

Posted by Cindy on 6/30

My husband was in the Coast Guard and we were stationed in Alaska.  First in Sitka where we saw a few Bald Eagles.  We were transferred to Kodiak where my heart soared and I fell in love!  The number of eagles was fantastic.  This was from 1974 to 1979.  i pray that the numbers has only increased.

Posted by Nancy Farris on 6/30

Several years ago a friend, my young daughter & I were walking along the beach at Kye Bay on Vancouver Island when we saw two pairs of eagles One pair of bald eagles & the other pair golden eagles. The males would stomp a few paces toward each other & stop. Each time they stomped a little closer to each other while the females looked on. We watched this show for several minutes (both wishing we had our cameras with us)when a large German Shepard came bounding along the beach barking at them at which point they all flew away.I shall never forget the scene.

Posted by Esther McRae on 6/30

How many bald eagles are there in NH and Maine?

Posted by Wal on 6/30

In Pittsburgh we have 3 pair nesting around our rivers. The one pair in Hays, just up the Mon from our Zholden Triangle, have raised 4 eaglets successfully: one in 2013 and 3 in 2014. This year at least 3 eggs from 2 pair were lost, probably due to extreme freezing weather just after the eggs were laid. We have been treated to wonderful views up close and personal by the PixController cameras on the Hays nest along the Monongahela River This nest can also be viewed from a nearby trail, part of the Three Rivers Heritage trail. It is astounding what we can witness first hand, and they are magnificent!

Posted by Siouxie on 6/30

We had a nesting pair of eagles in Staten Island, NY, which is part of New York city. I heard they were not successful, however and abandoned the nest. I’ve seen them flying overhead dozens of times and was even lucky enough to see a juvenile and a mature eagle, on two separate occasions, trying to steal an osprey’s catch. I’m so excited that these majestic birds have made such a comeback, that they can be viewed in NYC! I wish I could share my photos of them here!

Posted by Dana Barbato on 6/30

  It`s been said that Ben Franklin wanted the turkey as our national bird but that was a false assumption.Thankfully the eagle was chosen.
From 1916 to 1945 the eagle did indeed face the arrows this during war times but this was changed when President Truman issued Executive Order 9646, modifying the seal so that the eagle faced the olive branch—a gesture symbolic of the post-war nation`s dedication to peace.

Posted by Fred Patrick on 7/1

Is it possible I saw a Bald Eagle in Arlington along the river?

Posted by Paul on 7/1

We`re making great progress on the return of our national bird.

Posted by Fred Patrick on 7/1

The eagles always present around the central section of Lake Murray, South Carolina for the past several years are not usually seen this year.

Posted by James Ferguson on 7/1

I live near a forest preserve in Mahomet, IL with many gravel pits and open fields. I’ve witnessed both Bald Eagles and Golden Eagles soaring above me. At one point, a pair were performing their “courting ritual” whereas it appears they are tossing something with their talons in the air to each other.  It was fascinating to see this display of affection between the two birds. I am very fortunate to see them often as well as many other species.  Hard to identify the juveniles that do not have their full color though.

Posted by Kimberly on 7/1

There seem to be several in the Finger Lakes region of New York. Kayaking down the Owasco river we were able to observe one leap-frogging along ahead of us.

Posted by David Dubbs on 7/1

In New Jersey where I live their is a pair of nesting Eagles on the Manasquan reservoir in Howell Township, Monmouth County. There is also a pair on the Navesink River,(Red Bank area) Monmouth County. And a pair on Shark River,Monmouth County. We have seen them many times when we are out bird watching. It’s magnificent to see these birds make a comeback here in NJ

Posted by Mark Yuschak on 7/1

I live in Dearborn, Michigan. It is a suburb of Detroit. About 5 years ago I was crossing the Rouge River on Ford Road. The road is adjacent to the parking lot of Henry Ford College with a student population of more than 25,000.  The area is about 8 miles from downtown Detroit.  I state the above to show that is a densely populated area. Perched on the top of a light pole about 35’ was an adult Bald Eagle. I was shocked to see such a magnificent bird practically in the heart of the city.  Congrats to our federal department of the interior for saving such a magnificent species of bird.

Posted by Ron Amen on 7/1

I am lucky to live in the Klamath Basin, which is in northern California and Southern Oregon.  We have many Bald Eagles here in the area and are delighted to watch them.  We have a farm with lot of ground squirrels, so we have lots of Eagles in the area too, so they are not just in the Wild Life Refuge.  I consider myself very lucky to see the on a daily basis.

Posted by NancyAnn Thorne on 7/1

I am now a widow and living in Florida.  There are 1,457 active nest in the state which would mean almost 3,000 eagles.  I’m pretty much house bound but my daughter get;s to see one every now and then.

Posted by Nancy Farris on 7/1

My husband and I had the pleasure of visiting Haines AK (Chilkat River) in 2012.  If you are a bald eagle fan please visit Haines AK.  We were there the last part of October.  There were eagles everywhere.  We had them flying overhead and you could hear their wings flap.  My plan is to return there in 2016.  I am fortunate to live in Oregon where we have lots of bald eagles.  Eagle On!!!!

Posted by Patti Pellegrin on 7/1

My husband and I are privileged to live in Maine right on the bay.  We see eagles quite often dipping down for a fish or a a small bird.
It is so exciting and we never tire of seeing them!  Such beautiful birds!

Posted by Kitty Johnson on 7/1

One tough New Jersey pair have fledged seven eaglets in four years, nest on a superfund site within a quarter mile of the busiest I-95 NJ Tpk., five miles from Manhattan’s Central Park, and a thousand feet of a police shooting range.

Posted by Gil Hawkins on 7/2

35 years ago Eagles were non existent in north east Wisconsin. Though the efforts of a grammar school teacher and the power company they built a nest for a pair. Today we have a large population of eagles. It’s not uncommon to see them soaring above our house in the city. Our river stays open in places all winter. This gives them the food source they need to stay in the area year around. Always impressive to see them in the air.

Posted by Gene Wallis on 7/2

There are an estimated 200 mating pairs of bald eagles in Nova Scotia.

Posted by Delphine du Toit on 7/2

I was walking on the side walk ,delivering mail one day (near the Mississippi river) when I saw a big shadow on the ground and heard a sound ... when I looked up I saw two eagles that had locked talon’s.  They were doing their mating ritual.  They turned through the air just like two connected pin wheels fully extended end over end til the last minute and finally flew off.  I read somewhere if the male lets go first- she won’t mate with him.  It was the neatest sight I’ve ever seen.

Posted by linda smith on 7/2

It is wonderful that so many places have Bald Eagles for us all to enjoy and marvel at.

Posted by NancyAnn Thorne on 7/2

Verified by Dr. Peter Sharpe today, July 3, 2015. I got this reply from him:
The recovering Bald Eagles on the Channel Islands off the So Cal coast, which include Santa Catalina, San Clemente, and San Nicholas islands, as well as the five islands of the Channel Islands National Park, have a 60% to 70% survival to an age of 5. In 2006 the first hatched Bald Eagles fledges from a nest without the help of incubation. DDT had rendered them nonexistent on the islands since the 1950s. Now there are over 60!

Posted by Paul Petrich Jr on 7/3

I live on the eastern shore of Maryland near the Chesapeake Bay.  We often hear bald eagles from our yard, but only rarely see them fly over.  One afternoon I was walking my dog when I saw an osprey fly over carrying a fish. While I was watching, a bald eagle slammed into the osprey causing it to drop it’s fish onto the street in front of me. The bald eagle swooped down, grabbed the fish and flew away with it. It was an amazing sight-one I’ll never forget.

Posted by Stephanie on 7/4

Awesome stories!

Posted by Dana on 7/4

The furthest north I have seen Bald Eagles is on the Port Clarence, Bering Sea near the town town of Teller Alaska.
In 2013 my field trip had a juvenile sitting on the ice in late May.

Posted by Rich Cimino on 7/4

I live in Long Island New York and about 10 years ago I went on an eagle cruise from Greenport in February (brrr!) .  We crossed the LI Sound and went up the Connecticut River, hoping to see bald eagles. I was very impressed to see about a dozen of these majestic birds perched in trees or flying over the river! Now fast forward to the present, and we in Long Island are very excited to have our very own pair of Bald Eagles nesting right here! Last summer I was surprised and amazed to see a mature bald eagle flying over the bay, and at first I couldn’t believe my eyes but then I found out that they are in fact here grin hopefully they will be successful in raising young and we will see more of them!

Posted by Barbara Lindemann on 7/4

I want to make a quick mention of the Decorah Iowa eagle cam. I have watched this pair of eagles raise three clutches of three eggs. There have been highs and lows while watching this view into an eagles nesting life. The best being seeing one of the eggs hatch from beginning to end, the female laying each egg, the feedings, the instinctual habits of these magnificent raptors. The lows where when one of the fledglings were electrocuted shortly after leaving the nest, fleas that were so bad it caused the eaglets to leave too early with dire results. But watching this camera in Decorah, Iowa is a wonderful experience and I recommend it to everyone.

Posted by Deborah Smith on 7/4

My favorite place to see them is Blackwater National Wildlife refuge in Maryland. But my dream is to see one here on Long Island since they are finally making a comeback here. This year I’ve heard of 4 nesting pair on the island though I’ve not seen them. When the nest are found, the parks usually close off the area around them so they don’t get disturbed.

Posted by Karen Mott on 7/5

I live on a small lake in eastern Arkansas…in the fall/winter we have a eagle that comes t fish, I have had the honor of watching a eagle catch a fish…GOD BLESSING AMERICA

Posted by mandii on 7/5

I have been following a live cam of a local pair of bald eagles since it went live on the Internet 7 years ago. Duke Farms and Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ held a contest for educators this year. The teacher chosen would attend a banding of eaglets. I was chosen and attended the banding of a pair of eagles who nested near home. What a thrill it was to not only follow the events at this nest, but to actually meet the 2 eaglets, and to hold the female during the banding process! An experience that will never be forgotten. The male was the first to fledge, and his sister (the eagle I held) left yesterday. How special that she fledged on the 4th of July! Bald Eagles in NJ are a great success story, going from just 1 nesting pair by 1970 to 156 nesting pairs with 201 young produced in 2014. I can’t wait to reach the state report this year! Fly eagles!

Posted by Diane on 7/5

I do a lot of fur trapping in the winter and after pelting an animal I return it to Ma Nature in my pasture. Like so many people who feed birds in the winter, the eagles (as many as 11 at any one time) find the carcass and feed on them throughout the winter. They are part of the cyle and I am glad to observe them up close.

Posted by mike on 7/6

You can thank the EPA for saving the Bald Eagle by banning the use of the DDT pesticide!

Posted by Mark Lesher on 7/1

We live close to the Kansas River where the Eagles nest.  One day I stepped out the back door and saw an Eagle dropping down, below house top.  I yelled, “Oh, there’s an Eagle!”  My voice scared it and it started to climb up, up, up with its huge wings flopping so slowly to get up and over the Sycamore tree!  What a sight!!  I think it was dropping down to get its lunch, either my kitty or the neighbor’s small dog.  Both were right there, close to where it would have landed.

Posted by Sarah Heineken on 7/1

We see them around Kansas City and the Missouri River a few times a year. Oddly enough we saw one in a tree in the backyard of my daughter’s house on Christmas day. It had caught a squirrel.

Posted by Jean Oltvedt on 7/1

During a hawk watch over Hook Mountain in Rockland County, NY on the Hudson River, we observed an osprey flying over the mountain with a big fish in its talons. Along came a bald eagle, which extended its talons toward the osprey. The osprey dropped the fish. The eagle promptly caught it in mid-air and high-tailed it away with its stolen prize, as someone in our crowd remarked, “That’s our national symbol for ya.”





Posted by Carolyn Charney on 7/1

We lived in Moline, Illinois from 1976 to 2012 before moving to Colorado.  It used to be that bald eagles only showed up in the Quad-Cities during the winter when open water remained below the dams on the Mississippi River.  Then, around 1990 a few began nesting nearby.  Now, they have nests along both the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers.

Posted by John E. Kuhar on 7/1

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