(Haliaeetus leucocephalus) A truly formidable bird, the bald eagle has a massive wingspan that can exceed eight feet. Females tend to be larger than the males, weighing up to 14 pounds.
Adults mate for life and usually return to the same nest every year. They like to nest within half a mile of water, building large nests at the top of tall trees. The female usually lays 2 eggs, which hatch after about 35 days. Both parents help feed the young, which leave the nest after about ten weeks.
Their piercing scream is heard along many rivers in Maine, where they fish with remarkable skill. You’ll also see them often around lakes, coastal bays, and estuaries.
Devasted by DDT and other pesticides, their numbers declined drastically (only 417 breeding pairs remained in the lower 48 states in 1963) until DDT was banned in 1972 and the birds were declared endangered. Since then they’ve recovered significanty–the US Fish and Wildlife Service upgraded the birds’ status from “Endangered” to “Threatened” recently–but habitat loss continues to be a problem for eagles.