The Bald Eagle has been the national symbol of the United States since 1782. Population decline in the mid-to-late 1900’s due to trapping, hunting, and pesticide exposure caused the bird to be placed on the Endangered Species List in 1978. Once DDT was banned, the bird’s population began to soar. Five years ago, the Bald Eagle was removed from the Endangered Species list and breeding populations of the bird have been reported all throughout North America.
Our Bald Eagles find their way back to Camp in November and make a quick departure in early June before Summer Camp begins. This makes sense, as eagles prefer quiet, mature forests close to a fresh water source. Between the horses, camp counselors, campers, and my boys – Camp is NOT a quiet place in the summer!
The boys and I have observed four eagles (3 adult, 1 brown-headed juvenile) so far, but I’m hoping for more! From what I’ve read, they often congregate as large groups in the Winter, sometimes by the hundreds! Today we drove down to “their tree” to get a closer look.
Colin could not believe how large the eagles were. “Why are they called Bald Eagles? They have feathers, I can see them.” I told Mr. Serious that they were called Bald Eagles because of their white heads. “Sometimes when they are flying high up in the sky, you only see their brown bodies and it looks like they are bald.”
We noticed that not far from where the eagles were roosting, lay a very dead deer. I was afraid that Colin was going to get sad or upset, but he understood. “Why did that deer die, Mommy?”
“I don’t know. But, now that deer is food for the eagles and other scavengers.”
“But we saw the eagles fishing.”
“Fish are their favorite. But, Bald Eagles also like to eat animals that have already died. It’s easy food that they don’t have to work for.”
“Like how Daddy buys Oreo cookies at the store sometimes, and sometimes we make them at home?”
Yup. Pretty much exactly like that. Good connection, Colin!
- What do their nests look like?
- Can they fly upside down?
- What color are their eyes?
- Will they hurt me?
- Can we do an eagle craft?
I did my best (with the assistance of the internet) to answer their questions, as I prepared this easy eagle craft.
You’ll Need . . .
- brown, yellow, and white construction paper
- 1 extra piece of colored construction paper (any color you want)
- scissors, tape and glue
- googly eyes and string (optional)
1. Cut out the silhouette of a perched eagle from the brown paper. Cut out the head and tail feathers from the white. From the yellow, cut out talons and a hooked beak.
2. Create feathers from the white paper by cutting out a feather shape, fringing the sides of it, and taping a toothpick in the middle (leave a little overhang).
3. Help your child put together the pieces of the Bald Eagle and glue them in place.
“My Bald Eagle is eating a green fish. Nooo, don’t eat me said the fish! Eat a sandwich instead. But I don’t eat sandwiches said the eagle. Then eat the dead deer said the fish. I’m going to eat you. Yummy! said the eagle.”
For more information on Bald Eagles, visit this website. We continue to be fascinated by these amazing birds and become excited every time we hear their call echoing over the lake. Can you picture me, running outside barefoot with the camera while shouting, “Eagle! Eagle!” Colin and Owen scamper out behind me and we stand in awe of the magnificent bird until one of us realizes that our bare toes can’t stand the cold Earth anymore!