Biography: With its white head and tail, chocolate brown body, large yellow beak, and seven-foot wingspan, an adult bald eagle is unmistakable. Immature eagles take about five years to acquire this distinctive plumage. Bald eagles usually mate for life. Before the nesting season, the pair performs elaborate courtship flights, locking their talons, diving and cartwheeling through the air. Nests are built near water in tall sturdy trees with a clear view of the surrounding area. The same nest is frequently used year after year, and can be over five feet in diameter and weigh up to 1,000 pounds. The female usually lays two eggs, but often only the older and stronger eaglet survives. Bald eagles use their powerful vision and vice-gripping talons to capture prey. Although primarily fish eaters, bald eagles also feed on waterfowl and small mammals. They often act as scavengers and will not hesitate to eat carrion and steal food from other animals.
Bald eagles are a strictly North American species. After successfully recovering from an endangered status, bald eagles can be found in increasing numbers throughout the contiguous United States. They continue to be common in Alaska and Canada.