Everybody knows the Bald Eagle, at least in its striking adult form – a BIG bird with white head and tail, brown body, and fearsome yellow beak. Juveniles may be a bit harder to distinguish from other species; they have brown bodies, but their heads are brown and their tails are mottled, with a dark band at the very tip. The underwings are also mottled brown and white. Unlike the similar Golden Eagle, the Bald Eagle holds its wings straight out in flight.
The Bald Eagle generally seeks nesting sites near water; its preferred food is fish. However, it will capture or steal other prey including various mammals and other birds. It builds a stick nest high in a tree. There are a number of “eagle cam” websites that allow viewers to see the whole nesting and chick raising process up close. The Bald Eagle population is a well known conservation success story; its numbers have rebounded since the population crisis years in the mid twentieth century.
What brings it to the SBG?
The bird seen at SBG was a juvenile eagle, sighted in late October. It was probably just passing over. Either it was migrating or it was being pushed out to find its own territory.
When can I see it?
Bald Eagles can be seen year-round in Pennsylvania.