LIBERTY- BALD EAGLE
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Arrival to WBS: 1992
Reason for Residence: neurological damage
As a juvenile bird, Liberty arrived at the Florida Audubon Society’s rehabilitation center in the summer of 1992 with a fractured coracoid (similar to a human collar bone). After healing, he was banded and released at the Merritt Island, Florida National Wildlife Refuge on 10/30/92. Three weeks later he was found in St. Augustine, Florida with a dislocated humerus (shoulder) and neurological damage. It is believed he was hit by a car, and he was deemed non-releasable. Upon recovery from his shoulder injury Liberty was transferred to the World Bird Sanctuary where he was quickly glove trained and joined the education department.
His super calm demeanor and laid back attitude makes this “gentle giant” a rock-star ambassador for his species, as well as a favorite for both handlers and audiences alike! He was even able to accompany our founder on a float in the Rose Bowl Parade. When Liberty is not out and about educating people, he can typically be found at our Nature Center.
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/