BIRDS OF PREY

Bald Eagle

Latin name: Haliaeetus leucocephalus
Weight: 10-14 pounds
Wingspan: 6-7 ½ feet
Life expectancy: 20 years

Personal Biography: Glory came to New Canaan Nature Center from the Wildlife Center of Virginia in August of 2004, when she was still immature. She is incapable of full flight because she was born with a congenital wing disorder which prevents her from being able to move her elbows. This is why it looks like she is holding up her "shoulders." Although she is non-releasable, Glory provides our visitors with the opportunity to meet our National Emblem up close and personal!

Habitat and Distribution: The Bald Eagle is the only eagle that is confined only to North America. Bald Eagles are generally recognized by their white head, neck and tail and bright yellow beak and feet. However, Bald Eagles do not get their adult plumage until 4-5 years of age. Juvenile Bald Eagles are a mixture of brown and white with the beak and eyes gradually turning yellow.

Diet: Bald Eagles feed primarily on fish but also consume small mammals, waterfowl, wading birds, and carrion. Bald Eagles can dive into the water after a fish and actually swim to shore using their powerful wings. A Bald Eagle can easily carry up to four pounds of prey in their talons.

Status: Endangered in Connecticut, threatened federally

Facts: Eagles do not have vocal cords thus sound is produced in the syrinx. Bald Eagles make a high-pitched shrill sound. An Eagle has color vision and can see at least four times as well as a human with perfect vision. An Eagle can see a rabbit moving a mile away and can see fish swimming at several hundred feet above the water.

Bald Eagles mate for life and usually return to the same nest year after year. Bald Eagle nests are generally built in trees or on cliffs, but have been seen on the ground when no other options were available. Typical nests are bowl shaped and are about 5 feet in diameter. After years of use, the nest can grow to be 9 feet in diameter and weigh two tons.

Did you know that the Bald Eagle has been the National Emblem of the USA since 1782? Native to North America, the Bald Eagle was said to be chosen for this role because of its long life, great strength and majestic beauty.

There was a time, however, when we were in danger of losing the Bald Eagle to extinction. The Bald Eagle were victims of habitat loss, legal & illegal shooting and pesticide use. Their population numbers dropped dramatically between the early 18th and 20th centuries. However, with the passing of the Endangered Species Preservation Act in 1966 and the banning of a popular pesticide, DDT, in 1972 their gloriuos species survived. By the 1980s their numbers had reached over 100,000 in the lower 48 states! In 2007, Bald Eagles were completely removed from the Endangered Species List. Talk about a conservation success story!


To learn more about Glory and other Bald Eagles, check out the Kiosk near our Bird of Prey Exhibit.


Sponsor An Animal

You can help support the care of our live animal collection by participating in our Sponsor an Animal program. Your financial support funds the cost of medications, food and personal care, as well as proper housing and upkeep of the animal enclosures. Because each animal's needs are different, the cost of sponsorship varies. For information about animals which are currently available for sponsorship call (203)-966-9577.