Bald Eagle

Our National bird, the Bald Eagle is the most recognizable raptor in the United States. Decades ago, this magnificent raptor was endangered due to DDT (a dangerous pesticide) that contaminated fish, the bird’s main food source. Thanks to the Endangered Species Act and the banning of DDT, this species has made a remarkable recovery and can now be spotted frequently in Oregon skies.

Bald Eagle, photo by Mick Thompson

Size & Shape: 33″, wingspan 82″. Very large raptor, bill large and hooked, long broad wings held flat while soaring.

Color: Dark-brown with white head, tail, huge yellow bill, feet, eyes.

Behavior: Feeds mostly on fish and waterbirds, geese, carrion, other prey; steals food from smaller raptors. Pairs return to territories in mid-fall, may work on nests; eggs laid by early March, young fledge by late July.

Habitat: Farmlands, lakes, rivers, ponds; nest usually near water.

Field Marks: Dark brown body, white head and tail. Bill large and hooked. Yellow bill, feet and eyes.

Songs & Calls: Listen here.

Fun Facts: Bald Eagles are largely brown until they are four or five years old. Once they reach adulthood, they get their white heads and tails.

Scientific Name: Haliaeetus leucocephalus