At home in Libby, the 'City of Eagles'
| January 5, 2012 11:41 AM
Second in size of North American birds of prey only to the California Condor,
The Bald Eagle ranges in total length from 28 to 38 inches, with an average wingspan of 66 to 96 inches and a body mass ranging from 6.6 to 96.1 pounds.
In general appearance the sexes are similar with females approximately 25 percent larger than males.
Some eagles do not breed every year.
Bald eagles are capable of breeding annually from the age of four, but some of the adults, though paired, seem to choose not to breed.
It might be an instinctive decision, based on the weather; availability of nesting sites, or food.
Because an eagle lives as much as 30 years in the wild, it has many years in which to produce offspring.
The plumage of the juvenile birds is much less distinct, being dark brown overall.
The head, body, wings, and tail are dark brown with limited mottling on the underside of the wings and on the belly.
While the legs and feet of the young bird are yellow like those of adults, the bill and cere are dark gray and the iris is dark brown.
The young birds, with the exception of their color, resemble their parents, but are nothing like them in behavior.
Young eagles have to learn how to hunt, and they only have the remainder of the summer to learn.
After that, they are on their own.
The first winter is the most dangerous and difficult part of an eagle’s life.