Bald eagles aren’t born with that 'bald' look. When they’re young, these birds have a fully brown plumage and don’t develop the white feathers on their heads for another four or five years. During courtship, bald eagles display an incredible aerial dance wherein they grasp each other by the talons and spin in mid-air. After this strange display, those who mate will stay together for their entire lives, which can last up to 38 years! The two eagles will work together to build their record-breaking, 4.5 foot wide nests, and even take turns incubating their eggs.
Bald eagles are a true conservation success story. They were once abundant in the United States, but when European settlers arrived, their numbers dropped drastically. In 1940 Congress passed an act to protect them, and though the act was helpful in protecting eagles, their populations didn’t really start to grow again until the early 1970s when a deadly insecticide called DDT was finally banned. In 2007, bald eagles were removed from the endangered species list and there are now about 9,700 nesting pairs in the lower 48 states.
This bald eagle was photographed at the @suttoncenter. To see a video of a bald eagle, check out @natgeo.
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