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The Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

In early August, a bald eagle took down a Michigan government drone as it was mapping the lake. It tore off one of the propellers and sent the drone to the bottom of Lake Michigan. The reason why the eagle did this is unknown, but it gives us a good excuse to learn more about these birds.

Physical Description and Behavior

These birds have a length from head to tail feathers of up to 43 inches as well as an up to 8-foot wingspan. They are carnivorous and prefer to eat fish. This said, they also will eat carrion, as well as small mammals.

Fun fact: Bald Eagles often don't do their own fishing. They would rather steal what other animals, including humans, have caught.

Bald eagles are thought to mate for life. They will build a huge nest where they will take care of 2 eggs per year until they hatch. Since the bald eagle lives for around 28 years in the wild, they can parent 40-50 young during their lifetimes.

Habitat and Location

While it is an American icon, it was once almost hunted to extinction. This is due to hunting for sport, and claims of "protecting" fisheries. DDT and other pesticides were very toxic to the environment and killed off many birds, harming this one in the process. Thankfully, they have rebounded and are considered of Least Concern by the IUCN Red List.

They live mainly in North America and will travel long distances to mate and breed. Bald eagles in California may be seen as far north as Alaska during this trek. They will even go as far south as upper Central America.

You can check out more information and watch the bald eagle catching food in the video below:

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