Eagle Facts

Many of my photographer friends and I have enjoyed photographing Bald Eagles this winter. I’d like to share a few facts I’ve learned about these majestic birds in a Q & A format.

Q. When do Bald Eagles get their white heads?
A. Bald Eagles do not get their white feathers (head and tail) until they are 4 to 5 years old.

Q. How many eggs do eagles lay each year?
A. Usually 1 to 3, but according to some stats only about 50% will live to fledgling.

Q. How long do eagles live?
A. Eagles have been known to live up to 20 years in the wild and as long as 50 years in captivity.

Q. Why are Bald Eagles called Bald when they obviously have white feathers on their heads and are not bald.

A: The name actually comes from an old English word which meant “white headed” rather than hairless.

Q. How can you tell a female eagle from a male?
A. The easiest way to tell the difference is by size. The female eagle is about 30% larger than the male.

Q. What if you don’t see a nesting pair together?

A. There are a few other more subtle ways to tell the difference:

  •  The feathers on the male eagle’s head are usually very bright white, while the female’s head may some darker feathers mixed in.
  • Female eagles also have gray feathers around their eyes that resembles gray eye shadow. Male eagles have a black liner around their eyes.
  • Females also have a very distinguished brow, with eyes inset deeper than males.
  • Males have brighter orange beaks than the females. 
    Male Bald Eagle

    Male Bald Eagle: Notice the bright white feathers on the head and the black liner around the eyes.

    female

    Female Bald Eagles: Notice the gray eye shadow around the eye and the distinguished brow.

 

Also see my articles for DPS at http://digital-photography-school.com/author/brucewunderlich/

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About Bruce Wunderlich

Bruce Wunderlich is a photographer from Marietta, Ohio. He became interested in photography as a teenager in the 1970s, and has been a passionate student of the art ever since. Bruce recently won Photographer’s Choice award and Grand Prize at the 2015 Shoot the Hills Photography Competition in the Hocking Hills near Logan, Ohio. He has also instructed local classes in basic digital photography. Check out Bruce’s photos at Flickr
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