Is the Bald Eagle Really Bald?
If you get the chance to see a bald eagle in flight, it’s a magnificent sight to behold. Soaring high on currents of rising warm air, bald eagles can reach speeds in excess of 40 miles per hour. When they dive for a fish in the water, they can reach speeds of over 75 miles per hour!
Despite its name, the bald eagle is not bald; its head is covered with white feathers. The eagle’s tail is also white, but the rest of its feathers are dark brown. One idea of how the bald eagle got its name is that is snowy white head makes it seem bald when viewed from a distance. The fact is that this North American eagle was named at a time when the word “piebald” meant “white”.
Early colonists called this bird “bald-headed”, meaning that it was white-headed and not being hairless. Only adult birds have white heads. Young bald eagles are brown all over.
Not only is this eagle a prominent symbol of the United States, it is also the national bird. It can be found throughout North America, including most of Canada and Alaska, all the continental United States and northern Mexico.
What do you call a baby bald eagle? Eagle nests are called aeries (AIR-ees). Bald eagles build their nests at the very top of tall trees so the eggs will be safe. Babies, called eaglets, are born light gray then turn brown. When they are four to five years old, they develop their normal white heads and tails.