Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus). For best results, view image in large format. More photos from this shoot here . A bird of prey found in North America that is most recognizable as the national bird and symbol of the United States of America. This sea eagle has two known sub-species and forms a species pair with the White-tailed Eagle. Its range includes most of Canada and Alaska, all of the contiguous United States and northern Mexico. It is found near large bodies of open water with an abundant food supply and old-growth trees (coniferous or hardwood) for nesting. The Bald Eagle is a large bird, with a body length of 70–102 centimeters (28–40 in), a wingspan of up to 2.44 m (96 in), and a mass of 2.5–7 kilograms (5.5–15 lb). Females are about 25 percent larger than males It is the second largest raptor in North America after the Golden Eagle. Males and females are identical in plumage coloration. The adult Bald Eagle has a brown body with a white head and tail, and bright yellow irises, taloned feet, and a hooked beak. Juveniles are completely brown except for the yellow feet. Its diet consists mainly of fish, but it is an opportunistic feeder. It hunts fish by swooping down and snatching the fish out of the water with its talons. It is sexually mature at four or five years of age. In the wild, Bald Eagles can live up to thirty years and often survive longer in captivity. The Bald Eagle builds the largest nest of any North American bird - up to 4 meters (13 ft) deep, 2.5 meters (8.2 ft) wide, and one tonne (1.1 tons) in weight. Late in the 20th century, the species was on the brink of extinction due to over hunting in the continental United States (while flourishing in much of Alaska and Canada), but now has a stable population and has been officially removed from the U.S. federal government's list of endangered species. At minimum population, in the 1950s, it was largely restricted to Alaska, the Aleutian Islands, northern and eastern Canada, and Florida. The Bald Eagle was officially reclassified from "Endangered" to "Threatened" on July 12, 1995 by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. On July 6, 1999, a proposal was initiated "To Remove the Bald Eagle in the Lower 48 States from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife." and was de-listed on June 28, 2007. The Bald Eagle remains a protected and highly revered species in the United States. To willfully and fatally shoot or harm the species is a federal offense which can potentially result in several years of incarceration. Bald Eagles will also congregate in certain locations in winter. From November until February or March. Sheffield Mills in Nova Scotia (where these photos were taken) hosts hundreds of Bald Eagles each year during that period. One to two thousand birds winter in Squamish, British Columbia, about halfway between Vancouver and Whistler. The birds primarily gather along the Squamish and Cheakamus Rivers, attracted by spawning salmon in the area. The Bald Eagle is a powerful flier, and soars on thermal convection currents. It reaches speeds of 56–70 kilometers per hour (35–43 mph) when gliding and flapping, and about 48 kilometers per hour (30 mph) while carrying fish. Its dive speed is between 120–160 kilometres per hour (75–99 mph), though it seldom dives vertically. It is partially migratory, depending on location. If its territory has access to open water, it remains there year-round, but if the body of water freezes during the winter, making it impossible to obtain food, it migrates to the south or to the coast. The Bald Eagle's diet is opportunistic and varied, but most feed mainly on fish - their most important prey. In the Pacific Northwest, spawning trout and salmon provide most of the Bald Eagles' diet. In 2009 , all along British Columbia's wild central coast and inland along traditional salmon run waterways, an ecological disaster is unfolding. There has been a (thusfar unexplained) collapse of salmon runs. The worst salmon disaster this year has been on the Fraser River on the south coast where 10.6 million sockeye salmon were expected, but only about 1.6 million returned. A loss of 9 million fish. This collapse not only threatens the Bald Eagles, but has already led to an extreme decline in the western Canadian bears population Grizzlies Starve as salmon disappear - Globe and Mail, Toronto. Read more about diet, reproduction, relationships with humans, Eagles in captivity, role in Native American culture and more at: Wikipedia.org Sheffield Mills, Nova Scotia. 07 February 2009 - Sighted over 100 Bald Eagles.
Eagles Roosting in Elm trees.