are bald eagles birds of prey

Range Bald eagle in flight at Yellowstone National Park,

The majority of North America, including all of the continental United States, most of Canada, and northern Mexico, is part of the bald eagle’s natural range. It is the only sea eagle endemic to North America. While southern birds are resident, spending the entire year on their breeding territory, northern birds are migratory, occupying a variety of habitats from the eastern deciduous forests of Quebec and New England to the bayous of Louisiana. At its lowest point in population, it was mostly found in Alaska, the Aleutian Islands, northern and eastern Canada, and Florida in the 1950s. [35] Bald eagle populations rose significantly in its winter and breeding ranges between 1966 and 2015[36], and as of 2018, the species was nesting in every continental state and province in the United States and Canada. [37].

Large populations of bald eagles can be found in the forests of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario, but the majority of them are found along the coast of British Columbia. [38] Bald eagles also congregate in certain locations in winter. About halfway between Vancouver and Whistler, in Squamish, British Columbia, one to two thousand birds winter from November to February. For the first time, bald eagles were discovered to be nesting in Toronto in March 2024. [39] The salmon spawning in the vicinity draws the birds to congregate mostly along the Squamish and Cheakamus Rivers. [40] In the northern United States, bald eagles winter in similar groups at open lakes and rivers where fish are easily available for hunting or scavenging. [41].

It has happened twice in Ireland as a vagrant: on January 11, 1973, an underage person was shot without permission in Fermanagh (first mistaken for a white-tailed eagle), and on November 15, 1987, a tired juvenile was apprehended close to Castleisland in County Kerry. [42] Additionally, a record from October 17, 1978, from Llyn Coron, Anglesey, in the United Kingdom, exists;[43] however, the eagle’s provenance has remained unclear.

Cultural significance

As the national bird of the United States, the bald eagle holds significance in numerous Native American cultures and can be seen prominently on seals, logos, coins, postage stamps, and other items associated with the country. S. federal government.

Mammals Carrying a caught

Fawns of deer, such as the Sitka deer (Odocoileus hemionus sitkensis) and white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), weigh approximately 3 kg (6 6 lb) can be taken alive by bald eagles. There was one instance where a bald eagle was seen carrying six 8 kg (15 lb) mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) fawn. [139] In addition, although they can be preyed upon, most Virginia opossums (Didelphis virginiana) are taken as roadkill because of their nocturnal lifestyle. [119][140][131].

Bald eagles, like their golden counterparts, are sometimes charged with rapting livestock, particularly sheep (Ovis aries). There are a few documented instances of bald eagles preying on lambs, with some of the prey weighing as much as 11 kg (24 lb). However, compared to a golden eagle, they are far less likely to attack a healthy lamb. Both species are unlikely to seriously harm human livelihoods and prefer native, wild prey. [141] There is a single instance of a bald eagle killing and devouring an adult pregnant ewe (at least three other eagles then joined in eating the kill), which is significantly larger than any other known prey this species has taken. The ewe weighed an average of over 60 kg (130 lb). [142].

FAQ

Is a bald eagle predatory or prey?

These birds are opportunistic predators, and when fish aren’t available, they’ll eat whatever they can catch, including small birds and rodents. Bald eagles are also scavengers that will feed on carrion. If they see an opportunity, bald eagles may even steal food from other birds such as osprey.

Are bald eagles birds of prey or scavengers?

Bald eagles are also scavengers, and commonly feed on a wide variety of carcasses. Scavenging is particularly common in the winter months, when live prey is relatively scarce in some areas.”

Do bald eagles prey on humans?

Will a bald eagle attack a human? Bald eagles have been known to attack humans, but the injuries inflicted are hardly lethal. During mating seasons, bald eagles become much more territorial. As with any other bird of prey, it best to keep a safe distance from a bald eagle and to respect the bird’s space.

Is a bald eagle considered a bird?

Also, the bald eagle is classified as a “fully protected bird (PDF)(opens in new tab)” under California law.