Bald Eagles of Unalaska Island
Several hundred bald eagles, Haliaeetus leucocephalus, live year-round on Unalaska Island in the Aleutians.
The birds nest on cliffs, or wherever they can. There are very few trees.
The birds are not especially concerned about people and can be approached closely except when they are on the nest.
When a fishing bald eagle spots likely prey, the bird dips one wing and swoops down to the water with its legs extended. As it approaches the fish, the eagle extends its legs in front of its body and makes a rapid backward sweep to grab the prey in its talons. Eagles have semi-transparent protective eyelids that can be closed when grabbing prey. Usually the birds will land before consuming their fish, but they can eat while flying. Other eagles may try to steal the prey, either while the successful bird is flying away with its catch or after it has landed.
Sub-adult birds take about four years to develop completely white heads and tails and pale yellow eyes.
Juvenile bald eagles are brown and have brown eyes.
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Last modified 18 August 2016