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The word "animal" comes from the Latin word animale, neuter of animalis, and is derived from anima, meaning vital breath or soul. In everyday colloquial usage, the word usually refers to non-human animals. The biological definition of the word refers to all members of the Kingdom Animalia. Therefore, when the word "animal" is used in a biological context, humans are included.
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About Bald Eagle

Posted by WishbonE at 12:55 AM

Friday, August 1, 2008

About Bald Eagle

The Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) is a bird of prey found in North America that is most recognizable as the national bird and symbol of the United States of America. This sea eagle gets both its common and scientific names from the distinctive appearance of the adult's head. Bald in the English name is derived from the word piebald, and refers to the white head and tail feathers and their contrast with the darker body. The scientific name is derived from Haliaeetus, New Latin for "sea eagle" (from the Ancient Greek haliaetos), and leucocephalus, Latinized Ancient Greek for "white head. The Bald Eagle is the only eagle species living strictly in North America. They inhabits areas near large bodies of water where there are plenty of fish to eat and tall trees in which to nest and roost. Bald Eagles are monogamous and remain faithful to their mate until death. This sea eagle has two known sub-species and forms a species pair with the White-tailed Eagle. Its range includes most of Canada and Alaska, all of the contiguous United States and northern Mexico. It is found near large bodies of open water with an abundant food supply and old-growth trees for nesting. Before European settlers first sailed to America's shores, bald eagles may have numbered half a million. They existed along the Atlantic from Labrador to the tip of south Florida, and along the Pacific from Baja California to Alaska. They inhabited every large river and concentration of lakes within North America.

Males and females are identical in plumage coloration, however females display reverse sexual dimorphism and are 25 percent larger than males. Body length ranges from 71 to 96 cm (28–38 in). Adult females have a wingspan of up to 2.44 m (88 in), while adult males may be as small as 1.68 m (66 in). Adult females weigh approximately 5.8 kg (12.8 lb), males weigh 4.1 kg (9 lb). The Bald Eagle can have a wing span of up to eight feet and can weigh up to 15 pounds. Females lay one to three eggs annually in the spring time, and the incubation period is approximately 35 days. The average lifespan of Bald Eagles in the wild is around 20 years, with the oldest living to be about 30. In captivity, they often live somewhat longer. In one instance, a captive individual in New York lived for nearly 50 years. As with size, the average lifespan of an eagle population appears to be influenced by its location.

The Bald Eagle prefers habitats near seacoasts, rivers, large lakes, and other large bodies of open water with an abundance of fish. Studies have shown a preference for bodies of water with a circumference greater than 11 km (7 miles), and lakes with an area greater than 10 km² (3.8 square miles) are optimal for breeding bald eagles. By the 1930s, people became aware of the diminishing bald eagle population, and in 1940 the Bald Eagle Act was passed. This reduced the harassment by humans, and eagle populations began to recover. Bald eagles were officially declared an endangered species in 1967 in all areas of the United States south of the 40th parallel, under a law that preceded the Endangered Species Act of 1973. imageThe Endangered Species Act was signed into law in 1973 by President Richard Nixon. This landmark legislation is regarded as one of the most comprehensive and important wildlife conservation laws in the world.

Causes of Bald Eagle death from fatal gun shot wounds by careless and ignorant recreational hunters, three pellets can kill an eagle. Collisions with vehicles and lead poisoning from eating wounded deer, ducks, and other game which eluded the hunter and later died. Starvation where the food is scarce also add to their death cause. The electrocution from taking off and landing on power poles when their large wings bridge two wires, resulting in fatal burns or heart failure.

One of the world's biggest wildlife restoration efforts was beginning to take hold for Bald Eagles. By protecting habitats, banning the use of DDT and other pesticides, and rearing young eagles by hand and then releasing them into the wild, Americans helped their national symbol retake the skies. Today, thanks to efforts like these, there are an estimated 12,000 eagles -- and more than 2,000 nesting pairs -- in the lower 48 states. The recovery was so pronounced, in fact, that in 1994, government officials downgraded the eagle from endangered to threatened. The Bald Eagle is still far from secure. Dozens are still shot every year, and hundreds more lost to collisions with power lines and poisoning. Still, the recovery of the American Bald Eagle has shown people around the world that they need not stand idly by and watch these magnificent birds make a final flight into the sunset.

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