Bald eagles are one of North America's most iconic and beloved birds. Still, despite their popularity, there are many interesting and surprising facts about them that most people are unaware of. Here are 10 facts about bald eagles that you probably didn't know...
Bald eagles are great swimmers.
Most people know that bald eagles are skilled fliers, but did you know that they are also excellent swimmers? Bald eagles are known to swim using a "breaststroke" method, where they use their wings to paddle through the water. They can swim long distances, sometimes as far as a mile, to reach their prey.
Bald eagles have a third eyelid.
Bald eagles have a nictitating membrane, or a third eyelid, which they can close to protect their eyes while still maintaining visibility. This membrane is clear and acts like a pair of goggles for the eagle, allowing it to see underwater while still keeping its eyes moist and protected from debris.
Bald eagles use their talons for more than just catching prey.
Bald eagles have talons that are adapted for catching and holding prey, but they also use them for other purposes. For example, they will use their talons to scratch themselves, to fight off predators or intruders, and even to break off dead branches for use in their nests.
Bald eagles have an incredible sense of smell.
While bald eagles are known for their keen eyesight, they also have a strong sense of smell. They use this sense to locate food sources that are out of sight, such as dead fish beneath the surface of the water.
Bald eagles have an unusual way of protecting their eggs.
Bald eagles protect their eggs by sitting on them to keep them warm, but they also have an interesting adaptation to protect them from predators. They will sometimes defecate on their eggs, which creates a smell that predators find repulsive and discourages them from approaching the nest.
Bald eagles are capable of breathtaking displays of acrobatics.
Bald eagles are not just skilled fliers, they are also capable of impressive aerial acrobatics. They will sometimes perform spectacular dives, flips, and rolls, often while engaged in courtship or territorial displays.
Bald eagles have a unique vocalization.
While most people are familiar with the high-pitched scream of the bald eagle, they also have a unique vocalization that is less well-known. Bald eagles will sometimes make a soft, warbling sound that is often used in courtship displays.
Bald eagles have a special adaptation for taking off and landing.
Bald eagles have a special tendon in their legs that allows them to lock their talons in place while perched. This helps them conserve energy and maintain stability while taking off or landing.
Bald eagles are highly social birds.
While bald eagles are often thought of as solitary creatures, they are actually highly social and will sometimes congregate in large groups, especially around abundant food sources. They will also engage in playful behavior, such as chasing each other through the air or diving and rolling.
Bald eagles have an impressive lifespan.
While the average lifespan of a bald eagle is around 20 years, some eagles have been known to live much longer. The oldest known bald eagle in the wild lived to be over 38 years old, and there are records of captive eagles living for over 50 years.
Bald eagles are truly remarkable birds that have captured the hearts and imaginations of people for generations. While they are a symbol of strength and freedom, they are also fascinating creatures with many hidden talents and secrets. These 10 facts about bald eagles are just the tip of the iceberg, and there is still so much more to discover about these amazing birds. Whether you're an avid birdwatcher or just someone who appreciates the natural world, the bald eagle is a creature that deserves our respect and admiration. So the next time you spot a bald eagle soaring through the sky, remember that there is much more to this bird than meets the eye.