Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)
Breeds in Alaska, Canadian provinces, along both coasts of the United States, in Great Lakes States, in Rocky Mountain states, and occasionally in other states. In Virginia, breeds in Mason Neck Wildlife Refuge and nearby.
Length 28-38 inches
Wingspan 72-90 inches
Weight 6-14 pounds
Bodies of water with large trees nearby for nesting. Needs freedom from human disturbance to successfully nest.
Primarily fish; also ducks, gulls, and mammals such as rabbits and hares; carrion. Often pirates food from other predators, such as ospreys. Also scavenges regularly.
Have a long period of development. Dark at first fledge, and do not get the full white head of feathers until their fourth year. Mature at about five years of age. Many adults do not breed, probably due to competition for nesting areas and food. The northern population of Bald Eagles is migratory. Do aerial displays during courtship or territorial competition, including talon locking and spinning toward earth, pursuit flights, and aerial "dances."