CLARK – BALD EAGLE
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Arrival to WBS: 2002
Reason for Residence: scale deformities on feet
Clark was hatched at World Bird Sanctuary’s breeding facility when we were breeding the then endangered Bald Eagles for release into the wild. While all of Clark’s siblings were successfully released into the wild, Clark was hatched with scale deformities on his feet. The deformities meant that Clark’s feet would not be properly protected from the cold during the winter, and he would suffer from things like frostbite and loss of toes. Since Clark is non-releasable, he joined our Eagle Flight Team. Clark started his flight training at a young age, and after months of intensive training, he was ready to begin his career as one of our flying ambassadors.
Clark is currently one of only four Bald Eagles who travel to fly at different venues throughout the United States. Clark began flying at St. Louis Cardinals’ baseball games to the cheers of thousands of fans for the National Anthem. Clark has since flown for numerous high profile events such as The Horatio Alger Association, the Chicago Bears, Boeing’s annual event honoring veterans, and for the PBR World Finals. His official practice area is The Family Arena in St. Charles, Missouri where he can practice flying to high and low areas with plenty of room. When he is not “wowing” the crowds at a public event, Clark spends his time at the World Bird Sanctuary’s behind the scenes area watching the comings and goings of the humans and wildlife in his world. He enjoys chewing on various “toys”, and expressing himself very vocally from time to time – just like any other eagle without a “star” status would.
SPECIES: BALD EAGLE
CONSERVATION STATUS: LEAST CONCERN
The Bald Eagle’s recovery is an American success story. Forty years ago, the bald eagle, our national symbol, was in danger of extinction throughout most of its range. Habitat destruction and degradation, illegal shooting, and the contamination of its food source, due to use of the pesticide DDT, decimated the eagle population. Habitat protection afforded by the Endangered Species Act, the federal government’s banning of DDT, and conservation actions taken by the American public helped Bald Eagles make a remarkable recovery. Bald eagles no longer need Endangered Species Act protection because their population is protected, healthy, and growing.
Scientific Name: Haliaeetus leucocephalus
Description: Adult Bald Eagles have white heads and tails with dark brown bodies and wings. Their legs and bills are bright yellow. Juveniles are mostly dark brown and the white head and tail are obtained at 4 to 5 years of age. The term “bald” refers to the Old English word “balde” which means white.
Sex: Males and females are similar in color but females are larger in size.
Age: up to 25 years in the wild.
Weight: 8-15 lbs.
Habitat: typically nest in forested areas adjacent to large bodies of water, staying away from heavily developed areas when possible. During winter migration, they congregate near open water in tall trees for spotting prey and night roosts for sheltering.
Range: Canada and United States
Behavior: Bald Eagles are powerful fliers—soaring, gliding, and flapping over long distances. Bald Eagles build some of the largest bird nests — typically 5 to 6 feet in diameter and 2 to 4 feet tall and can take up to 3 months to build.
Diet: Fish (common examples include salmon, herring, shad, and catfish), but these birds eat a wide variety of foods depending on what’s available like carrion, waterfowl and mammals. Bald Eagles frequently harass birds including Ospreys and other eagles to steal their food.
Vocalization: usually a series of high-pitched whistling or piping notes.
– The Bald Eagle has been the national emblem of the United States since 1782 and a spiritual symbol for native people for far longer than that.
– Bald Eagles build some of the largest of all bird nests—typically 5 to 6 feet in diameter and 2 to 4 feet tall
– Each fall, thousands of these great birds migrate south from nesting ranges in Canada and the Great Lakes states to feed on fish on the Mississippi River in this Bi-State area of Missouri and Illinois.
*information about Bald Eagles from http://www.allaboutbirds.org and https://mdc.mo.gov/