Symbol of Strength and Liberty


Dunnellon, United States

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I’m dedicating this image to the memory of the mother eagle from the Norfolk Botanical Gardens in Norfolk, Virginia, who was struck and killed by an airplane yesterday, April 27, 2011. The three 5-week old eaglets were removed from the nest this morning and will be cared for at the Wildlife Center of Virginia until they can be released to the wild. My heart goes out to the staff of the NBG who brought these eagles by live video camera to many, many people around the world. While it is so sad that the mother eagle has died, the eaglets are safe and will be assured enough food for their growing needs. It would have been difficult for the father alone to meet their needs until they were old enough to fledge. Bald eagles mate for life, but when of them dies, the other does find a new mate.

Closeup of the American Bald Eagle, one of the resident birds at Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park in Homosassa, Florida. The park has many birds in its care, most of which have permanent wing injuries.

Canon EOS Rebel XSi/450D, Canon 55-250 lens at 187 mm
Cropped and tuned in Picasa3

Top Ten Winner in the “Eagles of Freedom” challenge in Amazing Challenge Entertainment, Nov. 19, 2013
FEATURED in Cee’s Fun Artsy Friends, June 9, 2011
FEATURED in Country Bumpkin, March 3, 2011
FEATURED in Animal and Wild Bird Photography, February 22, 2011

From Defenders of Wildlife:
The bald eagle is the only eagle unique to North America. Its distinctive brown body and white head and tail make it easy to identify even from a distance. When flying, the bald eagle very rarely flaps its wings but soars instead, holding its wings almost completely flat. Its hooked bill, legs and feet are yellow. Eagles primarily eat fish, carrion, smaller birds and rodents. Eagles are also known to prey on large birds and large fish…they catch by swooping down and grabbing fish that are near the surface of the lake or stream.
Bald eagles make a high-pitched squeaking sound. Other interesting behaviors include “talon clasping” or “cartwheel display”, where two eagles clasp each other’s talons in mid air and spin down, letting go only when they’ve almost reached the ground. This is may be a courtship ritual as well as a territorial battle.
During breeding season, the male and female work together to build a nest of sticks, usually located at the top of a tree. The nests can weigh up to a ton and measure up to 8 feet across. Once paired, bald eagles remain with each other until one mate dies, then the surviving bird will find another mate.
The bald eagle has made a tremendous recovery over the past several decades thanks largely to the Endangered Species Act (ESA). In June of 2007, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service announced the removal of the bald eagle from the list of species protected by the Endangered Species Act. The Fish and Wildlife Service will monitor bald eagles for a 5-year period as required by the Endangered Species Act. The announcement marked a successful milestone in the species’ recovery from the brink of extinction.

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