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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Bald Eagles

The Bald Eagle is such a magnificent bird. The largest bird of prey in Canada, it dominates the sky. All little creatures must surely scurry and hide when they feel the Bald Eagle's shadow passing overhead. They have a wingspan of approximately 2 m (6 1/2 ft.), but this can vary, and when perched they are about 76 cm (30 in.) tall. The Bald Eagle weighs between 4.5 kg (10 lbs.) and 6.4 kg (14 lbs.), and I've read that they can lift half of their own weight.

These two mature adults that I was fortunate to see were sitting close to each other, but in different trees, almost in my front yard. They could have been a Mr. and Mrs. Bald Eagle, as both the female and male have similar plumage, although the female is larger. I couldn't tell which was which. One flew away immediately after I took a picture. The other one stayed and followed my every move. They have fantastic eyesight and can see three or four times farther than us humans.

Bald Eagles have few natural enemies. Humans, directly or indirectly, cause the greatest harm to them. The one relentless threat to this species is human development resulting in habitat loss (loss of foraging, nesting, perching and roosting sites). The Bald Eagle's very existence is in peril every time a tall old growth tree is cut down in the forest near a lake, river, stream or ocean. They do have friends however, and many people are raising awareness for adopting better conservation practices so that their numbers are not further diminished.

I stood in the shadow of the house to take this photo but the eagle was very suspicious of my presence and left quickly.
This eagle tolerated me while he scanned his domain.
In these photos the eagle is facing the field across the road.