Celebrated on June 20th
The bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), our national bird,is the only eagle unique to North America. The bald eagle's scientific name signifies a sea (halo) eagle (aeetos) with a white (leukos) head. At one time, the word "bald" meant "white," not hairless. Bald eagles are found throughout most of North America, from Alaska and Canada to northern Mexico. About half of the world's 70,000 bald eagles live in Alaska.
Large birds need large nests! Bald eagle nests are about 5 to 6 feet in diameter and 2 to 4 feet tall. If the tree is strong enough, they will use the same nest again and again, adding new materials each year, so some nests can be enormous. While on the hunt for prey, eagles can dive up to 100 miles per hour. But in regular flight, they can travel about 30 miles per hour.
After a little over a month of incubation, the eggs hatch. Bald eagles are not born with their distinctive brown and white look. When baby eaglets hatch, their entire bodies are covered with light gray feathers. Around 3 weeks, their plumage takes on a brown coloration. Finally, at 4-5 years old, they acquire the distinctive brown and white color pattern.