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  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Accipitriformes
  • Family: Accipitridae
  • Genus: Haliaeetus
  • Species: Haliaeetus leucocephalus
  • Height: Body, 34 to 43 in (86 to 109 cm); Wingspan, 6 to 8 ft (1.8 to 2.4 m)
  • Weight: 6.5 to 14 lbs (3 to 6.5 kg)
  • Lifespan: Average of 15-20 years, but more than 30 years on occasion.
    • Bald Eagles became rare in the mid-to-late 1900s, victims of trapping, shooting, poisoning and pesticide use. In 1978, they were listed for protection under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Since then, gentler treatment by humans and the banning of DDT (the bird’s main pesticide threat) have led to their return. Eagles still face hardships, however, including lead poisoning from ammunition in hunter-shot prey and collisions with vehicles.
    • Bald Eagles build some of the largest of all bird nests. Called aeries, they are typically 5 to 6 feet in diameter and 2 to 4 feet tall, ranging in shape from cylindrical to conical to flat, depending on the supporting tree. Both sexes bring materials to the nest, but the female does most of the placement.
    • These birds typically prefer forested areas near large water bodies such as sea coasts, coastal estuaries and inland lakes and rivers since fish are at the center of their diet.  Rather than do their own fishing, Bald Eagles often go after other creatures’ catches. A Bald Eagle will harass a hunting Osprey until the smaller raptor drops its prey in midair, where the eagle swoops it up. A Bald Eagle may even snatch a fish directly out of an Osprey’s talons. Fishing mammals (even people sometimes) can also lose prey to Bald Eagle piracy.