Bald Eagles of Unalaska Island

Several hundred bald eagles, Haliaeetus leucocephalus, live year-round on Unalaska Island in the Aleutians.

eagles perched in trees bald eagles in tree bald eagles on crab pots

The birds nest on cliffs, or wherever they can. There are very few trees.

female eagle on nest eagle nest in construction crane

The birds are not especially concerned about people and can be approached closely except when they are on the nest.

Paul photographing bald ealges photographing bald eagles bald eagle on the van three adults

adult flying adult flying adult in flight adult flying adult flying adult adult adult

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.

adult fishing adult flying adult fishing adult fishing adult fishing adult with catch adult with catch adult with catch adult with fish

adult adult portrait adult

Sub-adult birds take about four years to develop completely white heads and tails and pale yellow eyes.

four-year-old eagle

Juvenile bald eagles are brown and have brown eyes.

juvenile in flight juvenile fishing juvenile with fish juvenile juvenile

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Last modified 18 August 2016