Bald eagles aren't actually bald. Their name comes from the old English word "balde," which means white and refers to their white feathers. These beautiful raptors nearly went extinct in the mid-1900s, but government protections helped them to make an incredible recovery.
Eagle nests are called aeries (AIR-ees).
Facts about Bald Eagles:
A bald eagle's white head may make it look bald. But actually the name comes from an old English word, "balde," meaning white. These graceful birds have been the national symbol of the United States since 1782. Bald eagles were on the brink of extinction because of hunting and pollution. But laws created almost 40 years ago have helped protect them, and they've made a comeback.
Female bald eagles are a bit bigger than males. Their bodies can be 3 feet (1 meter) long, and their wingspan can be 8 feet (2.4 meters) across. That's about the distance from the floor to the ceiling! Babies, called eaglets, are born light gray then turn brown. When they are 4 to 5 years old, they develop their normal white heads and tails. In the wild, they can live to be 35 years old or more.
One of the most awesome sights in nature is a bald eagle swooping down from the sky to grab a fish. They can soar over 10,000 feet (3,048 meters) high, and their great eyesight lets them see fish up to a mile (1.6 kilometers) away. When they attack, they drop down at up to 100 miles (161 kilometers) an hour! Then they glide just above the water, snag a fish with their feet, and fly off to eat it.
Eagle nests are called aeries (AIR-ees). Bald eagles build their nests at the very top of tall trees so the eggs will be safe. Some parents come back year after year to the same nest, adding more sticks, twigs, and grass each time.
One old nest in Florida grew to 9 feet (2.7 meters) wide and 20 feet (6.1 meters) tall and weighed more than 4,000 pounds (1,814 kilograms).
Text by Scot Hoffman
FAST FACTS These carnivorous birds can only lift about half their body weight. If they catch a fish that weighs more than that, they might hang onto it with their talons and "swim" to shore using their huge wings.
The average female bald eagle has a wingspan of 6 to 8 feet (1.8 to 2.4 meters) and weighs 9 pounds (4 kilograms).