WILD HUDSON (Part 2 – Bald Eagles)

PART 2 – Bald Eagles

The Bald Eagle is not only the national bird and symbol of the United States of America it is becoming more and more of a common site along the Hudson River thanks to the efforts of the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and USFWS (United States Fish and Wildlife Service).  At their lowest point, only 420 nesting pairs of bald eagle could be found in the continental United States. Now, that number exceeds 6,000, and the once-endangered bald eagle has come soaring back (excerpt taken from The Smithsonian National Zoological Park website).   The Bald Eagle was declared an endangered species in all areas of the US in 1967. By 1995 they were transferred to the  threatened species list and removed from the list of endangered and threatened species completely on June 28, 2007.

Like the Seals, winter and early spring are some of the best times to spot Bald Eagles in the Lower Hudson Valley.  They can also be spotted at times on ice flows feeding on a fresh catch.  The most awe inspiring siting is to see the Bald Eagle in flight.  It displays both strength and elegance as it soars in the sky.

If you are out on the river this year, be sure to keep an “eye in the sky” and see if you can spot a Bald Eagle.  If you do and happen to get a pic, we’d love to see it!  Please send us your Bald Eagle Spottings to; vargojhvargo@aol.com

FUN EAGLE FACTS:

Male and female Bald Eagles have identical feather coloration (brown with a white head and tail), the way to tell the difference between the sexes is that the female is 25% larger than the male.

A Young (Immature) Bald Eagles feather coloration is brown and speckled with white until it reaches sexual maturity, usually by the fifth year.

The smallest Bald Eagles can be found in Florida, where mature males may weigh as little as 2.3 kg (5.1 lb) and have a wingspan of 1.68 m (5.5 ft).

The largest Bald Eagles can be found in Alaska, where large females may weigh up to 7.5 kg (17 lb) and have a wingspan 2.44 m (8.0 ft).

The average lifespan of Bald Eagles in the wild is around 20 years, with the oldest living to be about 30.

In captivity, the Bald Eagle lives somewhat longer. In one instance, a captive individual in New York lived for nearly 50 years.

The Bald Eagle can reach 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 kilometers per hour (75–99 mph), though it seldom dives vertically.

Bald Eagle courtship involves elaborate calls and flight displays. The flight includes swoops, chases, and cartwheels, in which they fly high, lock talons, and free fall, separating just before hitting the ground.

(Photo and Fun Eagle Facts found at http://www.wikipedia.com)

Check out page 56 in the April issue of Boating on the Hudson Magazine for some amazing pictures Bald Eagles from the Hudson River (CLICK HERE to view the online edition and go to page 56)

ADDITIONAL LINKS:

http://www.ustream.tv/decoraheagles – Check out this “Birds Eye View” of a Bald Eagle nest with freshly hatched eaglets!  This live web cam is of a Bald Eagle nest in Decorah, IA

http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/9382.html – Check out the NYSDEC’s (New York State Department of Environmental Conservation) website for suggested viewing sites for Bald Eagles.

http://www.baldeagleinfo.com/eagle/eagle11.html – Here is some additional information on the history of the Bald Eagle.