The bald eagle is a bird of prey found in any kind of American wetlands from marshes to seacoasts to large rivers and lakes.
It gets its distinctive name not because there is a bare patch of skin on its head, but because its head is paler compared to the rest of its darker body.
The bald eagle is perhaps most recognized as a symbol of nationality, an emblem of the true American spirit!
But a lesser-known aspect about bald eagles might be their babies! Have you ever wondered about them?
We know when we say adorable baby birds, a baby bird of prey is not really the first image to pop into your head, but there is still a vast world of knowledge you can acquire about this fascinating species.
And today we are going to do exactly that. We are going to take you through everything you need to know about bald eagle babies!
So without further ado, let us swoop right in.
What Does A Bald Eagle Baby Look Like?
At first glance, a baby eagle might not stand out to you as a bald eagle, as they have not yet grown into their sleek and elegant plumage.
Most baby bald eagles have thick fluffy white, gray, or brown plumage that looks roughed up.
But once you take a look at its beak though, you should be able to tell if the bird is a baby bald eagle or not.
The babies are equipped with the characteristic hooked beak that curves downward. Otherwise, they look pretty similar to many other bird babies – extremely fluffy, a bit awkward looking, and very small.
Another fun fact about a bald eagle baby’s appearance that you might not have known is that they have eyes on their side!
This awards them a full 340-degree view as opposed to our measly 180 degrees when the eyes are at the front.
What Is The Size And Weight Of A Bald Eagle Baby?
Compared to the mighty and majestic size of adults, bald eagle babies are puny little things!
On average, a bald eagle baby generally tends to measure around the 4 – 5 inches range (10 – 13 centimeters).
They also don’t weigh big bald eagle numbers, coming in at about an average of 3.5 ounces (or 100 grams)!
Bald eagle adults, though, measure in at about 30 to 40 inches (70 – 102 centimeters) in length with a wingspan ranging from a whopping 5 feet 11 inches – 7 feet 7 inches. Females are larger than males, at about 25 percent more weight.
What Does A Juvenile Eagle Look Like?
Bald eagles take about five and a half years to mature into the iconic chocolate brown-bodied and white-headed majestic bird we know and love.
Before they reach their graceful stages, they go through an awkward juvenile stage where they reach adult size and mark down territories but still do not achieve the iconic plumage until much later, when they achieve sexual maturity.
For the time being though, the juvenile eagle sports a mottled and streaky dark brown color all over with messy white streaking in indeterminate areas.
They have a slightly lighter chest and back, with dark brown eyes and a duller darker yellow colored bill.
At one year old, there will be some white markings on the underside of the wings in the axillaries and coverts.
As the eagles develop into their second and third years, they start to have more white show up in their chest regions, under their neck, and on their chin.
The duller beak will start to become a brighter yellow, with the darkness at the tip slowly but surely disappearing.
Once it hits its fourth stage, it looks almost completely like an adult with some tiny variations.
They have an all-white head that still has some darker streaks that will disappear in their fifth year. The bill shows a solid yellow coloring and the body and wing feathers are almost completely dark.
What Is A Bald Eagle Baby Called?
A bald eagle baby is called an eaglet, just like any other species of the eagle.
As soon as the eaglet hatches from its nest and is taken care of in the nest by its female, it is called a nestling.
And when it starts to attempt flight and forage on their own under their mothers’ watchful eyes, they are called fledglings.
What Do Bald Eagle Babies Eat?
Almost immediately after hatching, the bald eagle babies are introduced to solid foods like raw meat that the parents eat.
The parents do not chew and regurgitate the food for easier eating instead, they simply cut the meat up into smaller pieces for the babies to eat.
Typically, it is the father bald eagle who goes foraging and brings home and feeds the kid, but the mother can participate as well, especially if food resources are scarce. Eaglets are generally fed around 8 times a day. When feeding, the larger more robust eaglets are given priority over the weaker ones, increasing their chance of thriving.
How Many Babies Do Bald Eagles Have In One Year?
Female bald eagles lay about 2 – 4 eggs per clutch. It is generally likely that only 50 percent of the babies survive into adulthood.
Usually, the ones who make it through are the first-born or more robust ones, as they have been fed for longer and thus tend to be more healthy.
If there is an abundance in food resources, there have been cases where 3 eaglets made it through, but this is still very rare.
When Do Bald Eagle Babies Start Flying?
Baby bald eagles grow pretty quickly and take about 10 – 14 weeks to fledge that is to fly.
They will first test out the air by flying from one branch to another before they take a leap of faith and try flying.
A lot of the time, these initial tries lead to a loss in altitude and the parent birds coming to help and feed them.
Do Bald Eagle Babies Kill One Another?
Yes, there have been many cases observed where bald eagle babies show a lot of aggression towards each other.
As we can guess, food availability seems to be the primary reason behind these fights. When the parent bald eagles bring home enough food for the lot of them, they tend to be more cooperative.
But when the food is scarce, the bigger eaglet monopolizes the food, and can sometimes even kill the smaller weaker eaglet, or it dies of starvation.
What Do Baby Bald Eagles Sound Like?
Young bald eagles make different sounds to the adults’ ki-ki-ki-ki-ker. At the beginning of their lives, they emit a single-note tonal peep that comes off at a higher pitch than the adults’ sounds.
As it grows though, its vocal repertoire increases with more complex notes being added to the mix. They have primarily two calls: the cheeping call and the peal call.
The cheeping call serves the purpose of begging for food, raising an alarm, or communicating with adults.
The peal calls are more high-pitched and frantic and are usually sounded when humans or other threats approach their nests.
So that was a deep dive into the babies of bald eagles, and their curious little world. As with any family of birds, the eagles have a peculiar world of information within them and we hope you enjoyed our venture through it.
Thank you for learning with us!
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