www.whyville.net Jun 23, 2013 Weekly Issue

Whyville Artist

The Great One

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Almost everyone should know what this magnificent bird is -- especially if you live in North America! This here is a matured bald eagle, but it certainly is not bald! An eagle obtains these white feathers on their head between the ages of 5 and 7 years old, along with a white tail. In the wild, an eagle can live up to be 20 years old. Actually, the oldest documented eagle lived to be the age of 28! Yes, I said 28 years old! That eagle sure shot that statistic out of the park, huh? The bald eagle species has had a hard life, though. In 1967, this bird was put on the endangered species list because the number of breeding pairs dropped from almost 500,000 to just above 400 in a 250-year span. However, in 1995, the bald eagle was removed from the endangered species list and put on the threatened species list. But by 2007, the species was removed from all lists! Hurray!

I took this photograph when I was volunteering at a wildlife animal rehabilitation center last summer. One of the founders of the center was giving a group of children and adults a tour and they all entered into the eagle cage. The founder put out her arm and the eagle came flying into view and perched himself right on the founder's arm. I was lucky to have my camera that day in order to take this gorgeous bird's photo. The bald eagle ended up being released back into the wild after proper rehabilitation, but the bird made a journey back to the center, which was about a 30-mile trek. We were able to tell this was the same bald eagle by a small microchip we placed under the skin. I guess this guy just couldn't get enough of us! He is now a member of the center and will live his life there in happiness.

Author's Note: Source: Birds of Michigan Field Guide, Second Edition by Stan Tekiela


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