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Bald Eagle Photos

Bald Eagle in Flight

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Alaska is home to over 160 species of birds. Some stay all year long but the majority migrates at the approach of winter. Alaska is also privileged to have the highest density of Bald Eagles in the United States. At Alaska Stock Images, you will find a wide variety of Alaska photos including Bald Eagle photos. To find more pictures of Alaska or photos of Bald Eagles, visit our search page.

Arctic Coastal Plain
Alaska's Bald Eagle

The Bald Eagle is, of course, named for its white feathers on its head that give the appearance of baldness. Immature eagles (approximately 5 years old or younger) have not attained the characteristic white plumage and therefore are often confused with the Golden Eagle which is primarily brown feathers. The Bald Eagle is the largest bird of prey in Alaska with a typical wingspan of 7.5 feet and weighing in at 8 to 14 pounds. Interestingly, in raptors, including the Bald Eagle, the female is the larger of the two genders.

The "Eagle Lady" at Homer, Alaska
The "Eagle Lady"
The Bald Eagle is only found in North America and Alaska's population has been estimated to be 30,000 strong. The highest populations of eagles in Alaska are generally found around the coastal areas. Homer, Alaska is a popular viewing area along the Homer Spit. Partly because of the rich supply of salmon and habitat, but another contributing factor has been the long time resident "Eagle Lady" who lives on the spit and has daily fed the Eagles in the winter with scraps of salmon that are donated. Regardless of the reason that the Eagles congregate on the Spit, it remains a popular viewing area for tourists, locals, and photographers alike.

Perhaps the largest density of Bald Eagles is in the Chilkat Valley in the Southeast part of Alaska. Over 3,000 birds will congregate in the fall and winter to feed on spawned-out salmon. In 1982 the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve was established to protect the unique ecosystem and one of the world's largest concentration of Bald Eagles. The Preserve consists of 48,000 acres of river bottom land of the Chilkat, Kleheni, and Tsirku Rivers. The boundaries were designated to include only areas important to eagle habitation. Virtually every portion of the preserve is used by eagles at some time during the year.

Bald Eagle fishing for dinner
Bald Eagle fishing at Kachemak Bay

Eagles can fly up to 30 mph and can dive at speeds up to 100 mph. Their renowned ability to see long distances allows them to spot fish up to one mile away. The Bald Eagle can lift about five pounds, but has also been observed drowning in attempting to lift a fish that is too heavy.

Bald eagles mate for life. Courting behavior begins in early April and often involves spectacular aerial displays of eagles diving and locking talons. Eagles lay from one to three eggs but two is the most common. The Bald Eagle will generally use the same nest every year which is typically built close to water and fairly high in elevation whether in a tree, a bluff, or other precipice that can provide a view of prey and predator alike.

Bald Eagle's nest
Bald Eagle's nest
The Bald Eagle became frighteningly close to extinction during the early to mid 1900's. Several laws and acts were passed including the Endangered Species Act of 1973, Bald Eagle Protection Act of 1940, and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. Although the numbers in Alaska are strong and healthy, the Bald Eagle's numbers still struggle in the lower 48. However, due to careful conservation and protection of the eagle, its status was upgraded in 1995 from "Endangered" to "Threatened," but the Bald Eagle still remains under close protection by the Endangered Species Act.

Books of Interest:

Magnificent Eagles - Illustrated with a collection of stunning, full-color photos, the well-researched text details not only eagle behavior, but the history, folklore and preservation that have allowed eagles to thrive in a land that once persecuted the animal to near extinction.

The Bald Eagle of Alaska, BC, & Washington - by David Hancock

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