Great Amercian Bald Eagle – From Northern Maine

T he great American Bald Eagle is such an amazing bird to watch and study. During the winter months, which are very long and extremely cold I have found an isolated location where this beautiful bird lives! Actually, last year in this location I counted 24 at one time living on a daily basis here.

An amazing fact I’ve learned is that the Bald Eagle has the largest nest of any bird in North America. For 3 years I have been watching these birds in this location and they keep coming back to the same nest and actually each year they are like construction workers, They keep adding more branches and twigs onto their nest which results in a bigger home for them before the eggs are laid in the spring time. A fully developed nest over time can reach a depth of over 13 feet deep and 7 feet or more in width. Imagine That!

I have been fortunate to be able to spend a great deal of time with this spectacular bird to learn more about them. An interesting development is watching them mature. A Juvenile Bald Eagle is a mixture of brown and white with a very dark beak. From first appearance you would not think of this as being “The Great Bald Eagle”. It takes about 5 years of maturity before the distinct coloring such as the  head and tail feathers to turn white.

During the winter months, I have been with them when the temperatures are -30 or more and you have to wonder, Why in the World would you want to nest here! The feathers are quite thick and very full. As for the size of this great bird, the female which is larger than the male can have a body length  from 35″ or a little more with a wingspan from 79 to 90 inches. HUGE! The male is a little bit smaller all the way around. I have observed them sweeping down to grab a fox or any other small animals running across the snow for food.

They do love to fish from my observation, but during the winter here in Maine the rivers freeze over which makes it almost impossible to fish for food. Some people I’ve run across dislike them for they think of them as Scavengers. I see it differently. They are powerful, aggressive and it is nature at it’s best!

It  is very possible for the Bald Eagle to live between 15 to 30 years in the wild. Wondering how this bird can live in the frigid temps in Maine, I’ve learned their skin is protected by feathers lined with down.

I have seen once when the temperature was reaching -40 and they were not moving very much and had their wings tightly wrapped around their body to keep warm. I did not have that luxury! A flask of Brandy did help!

Normally Bald Eagles are very active during the daytime hours which leads me to believe they are sleeping at night in the wonderful nest they have created and you cannot mistake an Eagles Nest.

Another interesting fact is when they mate they are together for life.

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To watch them fly is an amazing show. After jumping those beautiful wings go to work and as they gain altitude it takes very little wing action. They do take long circling flight as they gain altitude until they get to a height of just letting the wind and their wings do the work! I love this Bird and I hope you enjoyed this article!

 

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