The bald eagle is the only eagle unique to North America. Bald eagles are identified by their white head, neck and tail, bright yellow eyes, large yellow bill, dark brown body, and yellow feet and legs. Juveniles are dark brown with mottled white patches on their under-parts. Juveniles accuire the white head and tail in their third year. Sometimes the juveniles are confused with the golden eagle. Male bald eagles average 0.91 m (3 ft) from head to tail, have a mass of 3.18- 4.5 kg, and a wing span of about 2 m (6.5 ft). Females are typically larger, reaching a mass of up to 6.35 kg with wing spans of 2.44 m (8 ft). Eagles are thought to live more than 30 years in the wild
Bald eagles live along lakes, rivers, marshes & seacoasts. They generally summer in Canada and the border states and also Alaska. They usually winter in the lower 48 states. They can be seen hunting over open meadows in Nevada.
Bald Eagles are fairly common throughout the US. Small numbers of birds winter throughout Nevada from the Oregon border to the Colorado River. There are presently two or three nesting pairs in Nevada. One was seen a few years ago along the Carson River near Carson City. Another pair is located in the Lahontan Reservoir and the other in the Marlette Lake of the Lake Tahoe Basin.
Bald Eagles usually nest in small trees or on ledges that are along the coasts, rivers and large lakes. They have one brood per year in the springtime, producing 2 eggs which are a bluish white or dull white and average 7.6 cm (3 in) length. Bald Eagles are thought to be monogamous, both the male and female tend nest.
Eagles are birds of prey. Their diet is largely made up of fish and carrion along with waterfowl and small mammals, such as rabbits, squirrels, and muskrats.
The U.S. breeding population declined due to habitat destruction and degradation, illegal shooting, contamination of its food source and reproductive impairment from pesticides (notably DDT) and heavy metals. Bald Eagles have made a strong comeback with widescale restoration programs. It has been moved from endangered status to threatened and may be down-listed again.
Ehrlich, P.R., D.S. Dobkin, and D. Wheye. 1988. The Birders handbook: a field guide to the natural history of North American birds. Simon and Schuster Inc. N.Y., NY
Neel, Larry. Raptors of Nevada. 1984. Nevada Department of Wildlife. Reno, NV.