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Bald Eagle
Haliateetus
leucocephalus

  • The bald eagle is a threatened species.
  • Only one in four eaglets survive until adulthood.
  • Bald eagles need large old shoreline trees for roosting and nesting.
  • As old growth shoreline trees are cut down, bald eagles are losing habitat.
  • Adult bald eagle wing span:
    Almost 7 feet.

    Shoreline Hunter & Scavenger

    Adult bald eagle head.

    The eye of a bald eagle is larger than a human eye and four times more powerful - perfect for zooming in on prey from a distance. A bald eagle can glide in the air, spot a fish, and clutch it from the water's surface. A bald eagle may also take prey from another raptor or feast on dead salmon on the beach or estuary mud flats.

    Bald Eagles Need Big Trees

    Bald eagles often choose large shoreline trees for nesting - most are over 100 feet tall with broken tops. A tall Douglas fir, Sitka spruce, western hemlock, or western red cedar offers an eagle pair a nice view for hunting - and lots of space for takeoffs, landings and raising an eagle family.  
     
    Adult bald eagle vocalizing from a tree. A current threat to the bald eagle is shoreline development and the loss of large old trees. Bald eagle nests can weigh a ton or more. If a nest tree is not large enough to support the weight, the nest may crash to the ground, destroying young eagles.  
     

    Saving Bald Eagles & Trees

    Bald eagles are attracted to the same places we are – waterfront with trees and a beautiful view. Along Puget Sound, 80% of all bald eagle nests are located on private property. Preserving shoreline trees benefits both waterfront property owners and bald eagles. Trees help prevent erosion, absorb water, and provide critical nesting habitat for threatened bald eagles.

    • Tree blocking your view?
      Consider a few pruning alternatives.

    Related Links

    EagleCam, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Watch a Lake Washington bald eagle nest via a web-enabled video camera.  

    The Bald Eagle, USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. Bald eagle identification and animated range map. 

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    Comments? E-mail: Shellyne Grisham