|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|I took this shot at the "Volerie des Aigles" in Alsace. It's a raptor conservatory located at Kintzheim in a beautiful old castle . You can see these prey birds flight in freedom close to you during the show.|
The Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), also known in North America as the American Eagle, is a bird of prey found in North America, most recognizable as the national bird of the United States.
The species was on the brink of extinction in the US late in the 20th century, but now has a stable population and is in the process of being removed from the U.S. federal government's list of endangered species.
This sea-eagle gets both its common and scientific names from the distinctive appearance of the adult's head. Bald in the English name is derived from the word piebald, and refers to the white head and tail feathers and their contrast with the darker body.
An immature Bald Eagle has speckled brown plumage, the distinctive white head and body developing 2-3 years later, before sexual maturity. This species is distinguishable from the Golden Eagle in that the latter has feathers which extend down the legs. Also, the immature Bald Eagle has more light feathers in the upper arm area, especially around the 'armpit'.
Adult females have an average wingspan of about 7 feet (2.1 meters); adult males have a wingspan of 6 ft 6 in (2 meters). Adult females weigh approximately 12.8 lb (5.8 kg), males weigh 9 lb (4.1 kg). The smallest specimens are those from Florida, where an adult male may barely exceed 5 lb (2.3 kg) and a wingspan of 6 feet (1.8 meters). The largest are the Alaskan birds, where large females may exceed 15.5 lb (7 kg) and have a wingspan of approximately 8 feet (2.4 meters).
The Bald Eagle's natural range covers most of North America, including most of Canada, all of the continental United States, and northern Mexico. The bird itself is able to live in most of North America's varied habitats from the bayous of Louisiana to the Sonoran desert and the eastern deciduous forests of Quebec and New England. It can be a migratory bird but it also is not unheard of for a nesting pair to overwinter in its breeding area.
The Bald Eagle's diet is varied, including carrion, fish, smaller birds, rodents, and sometimes food scavenged or stolen from campsites and picnics. Most prey is quite a bit smaller than the eagle, but rare predatory attacks on large birds such as the Snow Goose, the Great Blue Heron or even swans have been recorded. Also, fairly large salmon and trout have been taken as well.
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