Posted by on Apr 6, 2012 in Hilton Head Island, My Blog | 0 comments

American Bald Eagle

The American Bald Eagle is, indeed, a symbol of strength and power .  This large bird with a wingspan of 7 ft. is a protected bird in America and one that is revered by many as our national bird.  To watch one fly, soaring seemingly effortless is a real treat birders but also for just about any nature enthusiast.  They mate for life and generally produce a nest of 2 to 4 eggs each year.  In recent years, many have been able to view live streaming videos of nesting bald eagles which is a joy to observe.

I was on a birding trip on Hilton Head Island and had a private boat tour of the backwaters of Gilbert Creek.  My guide really wanted me to see an eagle so he led me right to one’s nest.  High up in pine trees, the nest was huge even looking from a distance.  I learned that the nests can weigh up to 2 tons.  The need for such a large & significant nest is that the juvenile eagles remain with the parents in the nest until about 4 years of age.  That’s a  lot of bird in a bunch of twiggy branches!

Watching an eagle swoop down on its prey, grab it and carry it back to where it will be eaten, impresses me for a variety of reasons.  First, their eyesight is amazingly strong enabling the eagle to watch its prey from the sky and select just the right moment to go for it.  They can see forward and to the side without turning its head or even moving the eyes.  You might have seen videos of an eagle swooping down and grabbing a large, heavy fish for dining.  Another impressive characteristic of the eagles are the talons on their feet.  These are heavy, sharply curved hooks which are said to be able to apply 1,000 pounds of pressure per square inch in each foot.  The eagle can easily grab and kill its prey.

The Bald Eagle can fly up to 100 miles per hour in pursuit of it’s prey.  Just look at those massive feet and imagine the power in the talons.  Talk about “grab & go!”

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