Kat Dierickx | 01.14.2015

January is National Bald Eagle Watch Month, and there are a plethora of places to view these majestic birds in the Pacific Northwest. You'll have better luck spotting a bald eagle near coastlines, rivers, or lakes as they feed primarily on fish, snakes, small rodents, and turtles. In case you need to pass a little time while scouting for eagles, here are some fun facts to make you sound super-smart as you impress your eagle watching companions. 

11 Fun Facts about Bald Eagles

  1. The bald eagle, our national bird, is the only eagle unique to North America. Haliaeetus leucocephalus, the bald eagle's genus and species, signifies a sea (halo) eagle (aeetos) with a white (leukos) head. At one time, the word "bald" meant "white," not hairless.
  2. Immature bald eagles don’t develop their distinctive white head and tail until they are between 4 and 5 years old.
  3. A large male eagle (30 to 34 inches tall) is still smaller than a small female eagle (35 to 37 inches tall).
  4. Eagle eyes are no joke. An eagle, flying at 1,000 feet can spot prey across almost 3 square miles.
  5. They have no sense of smell, but they can taste. For example, if a bald eagle thinks that its food tastes spoiled, it won't eat it.
  6. On average, they have a wingspan of 7 feet.
  7. Bald eagles can reach a speed of 100 mph when diving for food. When just soaring the skies at an altitude of up to 10,000 feet, they average between 40 and 65 mph.
  8. It has been estimated that the gripping power (pounds by square inch) of the bald eagle is 10 times greater than that of a human.
  9. Bald eagles can fly while gripping fish that are at least equal to their own weight, but if the fish is too heavy, the eagle may be dragged into the water. It may swim to safety, but some eagles drown or succumb to hypothermia.
  10. The largest bald eagle nest on record was found in St. Petersburg, Florida. It was 9.5 feet in diameter and 20 feet deep, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. It was estimated to weigh 2 metric tons.
  11. Bald eagles mate for life. Only if an eagle becomes widowed will it seek a new mate.

All facts were drawn from Live Science, the NWF, and the Animal Fact Guide

See the featured adventures below for some great eagle viewing opportunities. Where have you spotted these impressive birds lately?


Have updates, photos, alerts, or just want to leave a comment?
Sign In and share them.