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aquatus1

Bald Eagle fans, or any raptors, really

20 posts in this topic

I'm trying to gather together a bit of information for a story I'm writing, and I am having a hard time finding specific information on Bald Eagles. If you have info, or know where I can get it, I would greatly appreciate it.

On the physical side, I want to learn a bit more about their anatomy, particularly their talons. I've hear they have a back spur similar to that of game cocks. I've also heard that they can only unclench their talons when their legs are bent, not straight, but I don't know how true that is.

I also need to know a bit about the attitudes or personalities of eagles, so if anyone knows an eagle on a personal basis, some input there would also be welcome. Thanks in advance if anyone can help.

Edited by aquatus1

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Subscribed due to my profound interest and fascination of our winged friends.

This time of year it would seem they are pretty active in the Oregon/Washington area. A guy i know is still getting awesome shots of them in the Seattle area. His photos can be seen on Flickr under the name Peter Bangayan. I can dig up a few other names if interested.

Happy hunting :tsu:

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Very much so, but it is a bit frustrating because all the forums I found are about eagle cams and photography, where I need people with hands-on (so to speak) interaction with eagles.

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I would typically never talk about another forum withing a forum but i feel this to be an exception. Have you tried Birdforum.net? i frequent there from time to time and the folks on there are typically very helpful in instances such as these. The site seems a bit more geared towards observation rather than photography and has been extremely helpful for me in the past.

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Never seen any spur on a bald eagle. Tha back talon is so hooked inward that they do get hooked up time to time. I've seen them do face plants into the ocean after trying to scoop on the fly a fish to big for it. Then the hilarious sight of it doing the breast stroke back to shore. Vancouver Island and the lower mainland of B.C is chock full of bald eagles. I've seen so many at one time along the Frazer river that the huge trees that line the river look like some kind of gigantic mutant fruit trees from so many eagles perched in the branch's.

Hank

Edited by Hankenhunter

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Thanks Mythical, I'll check them out.

Hanken, I read something about them being decent swimmers and I couldn't for the life of me figure out why the heck they would do something like that.

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Thanks Mythical, I'll check them out.

Hanken, I read something about them being decent swimmers and I couldn't for the life of me figure out why the heck they would do something like that.

I don't know if they do laps... but sometimes they end up IN the water when they are fishing .. so knowing how to swim to shore, by flapping their wings, might save their lives because they can't take off from the water once IN and completely wet.

* I grew up on a lake, with an island, with HUGE white pines, with eagle's nests every year.. except for an eagleless spell during the DDT era.... Now they are back ! I used to love to watch them fish.

Edited by lightly

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Have U tried Wiki? Maybe search Youtube, and Nature Documentaries for more info. Try the book, "Birds Of Prey"....an exc book, very informative, covering most if not all, don't remember author, etc...try Amazon.

I think this is it, by Ian Newton

Hardcover: 240 pages

Publisher: Weldon Owen Inc. (August 1, 2000)

  • ISBN-10: 187513798X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1875137985

Bald Eagles are basically fish eagles. Even though they are the US National Bird etc, there was a bounty on them, ($1.00 US) in Alaska until 1962, mostly because they would try to eat the salmon caught in traps, ruining the catch...from the fisherman's perspective anyway.

No spur, but they do have sm spines and rough scales on bottoms of their feet. They don't have to bend their legs to grip, or release. Their grip is very strong, and exc. eyesight, like all raptors. (70% of their brain capacity is devoted to visual processing.)

Edited by scorpiosonic

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Thanks.

So, there's no one here who has worked with raptors before? I've spoken to some falconers, but it's not exactly the same.

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Off topic I know, but this thread has brought back a great memory. In 1986 my family spent 6 weeks visiting my dad's brother in Chilliwack (near Vancouver). One evening I went on a fishing trip with my dad and uncle to the Vedder Canal. I had no interest in drowning worms but I was quite happy to sit in a boat and watch the wildlife (it's mostly a whole lot different to South East England).

After a few hours my neither my dad nor uncle had got even a single bite. My uncle had just uttered the immortal line, "it doesn't look like there's anything in here" when a Bald Eagle swooped low over the boat and plucked a large trout from the water no more than 20 feet from where we were sitting. The look on the faces of my dad and uncle had me laughing for ages.

My dad and uncle are both gone now, but it was good to remember that incident again.

Back on topic:

Have you tried these people aquatus: American Bald Eagle Foundation? It looks like they have a fair collection of raptors including Bald Eagles. They have an email link on their front page.

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Mother Nature; the original troll. :lol:

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Mother Nature; the original troll. :lol:

If the Bald Eagle is a troll then it is a magnificent, beautiful troll.

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A magnificent, beautiful, terrible, troll. Last time I was face to face with one, it was giving me this startled look of annoyance, as if it had been unexpectedly requested to calculate how many pieces it would have to tear me into prior to consumption.

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A magnificent, beautiful, terrible, troll.

Imagine if it had been a Haast's Eagle. Now there is a bird I would love to have seen... from a distance.

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I was reading about the Bald Eagle and found that it held the world record for heavy lift by a raptor. A Bald Eagle was documented carrying away a recently weighed baby mule deer. 15+ pounds!

Man, you can just see him strutting around the other eagles.

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Found a snippet of a Haast eagle (played, I think, by a Harpy?) attacking a human. Decent scale comparison.

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Someday i'll get lucky enough to have some interactions with eagles, heck, if i could quit 2 of my jobs, i'd love the opportunity to go out and just study behavior of any bird species and write up my findings, sounds like a dream life really.

Closest opportunities i've had are...

A juvenile Coopers hawk that landed on my fence.

10123253224_6e500231a8_c.jpg

BOP3 by LenzFreak, on Flickr

An adult Coopers hawk that landed on my fence (ignore the image tag, i misidentified him originally)

10997468076_883392ee9b_c.jpg

Sharp-Shinned Hawk 4 by LenzFreak, on Flickr

And a White-tailed Kite i've been observing for about a month now. Unfortunately, i don't have the focal length required for my camera to get good shots.

11784400005_48a1776226_c.jpg

Kite2 by LenzFreak, on Flickr

And 1 encounter with a Northern Harrier

12022011915_88ae6f4d53_c.jpg

Raptor by LenzFreak, on Flickr

Derail ended, back to the eagles :)

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Nah, they count as raptors.

Still, I've emailed a couple of people, but I haven't gotten any answers as to personalities or attitude of birds. I had kind of imagined there would be people with detailed accounts, kind of like when you get people talking about their pets or something.

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Thanks.

So, there's no one here who has worked with raptors before? I've spoken to some falconers, but it's not exactly the same.

I spent some time with a bald eagle when I worked at the local wildlife hospital. Most of the time I was working with him he had a sock over his head so he wouldn't freak out.

I can tell you that raptors will go after anything colored red, and most prey animals will freak out if you are even wearing a red shirt. (We weren't allowed to wear red)

While giving him fluids he became stressed and stopped struggling. We has to take the sock off, prop him up and get him to start trying to attack us. The stress of the situation was getting to him and he was going into shock, which will often kill wildlife in such hospitals.

His wing didn't heal right so he couldn't be released and wasn't suitable as an educational animal, so he went to the outdoor facility. Unfortunately he never recovered and died shortly thereafter. You can't work with injured wildlife and save them all. I have a picture of him around here somewhere I will look for.

I doubt if any of that is useful, but your thread remined me off that bird. I spent a lot of time with him.

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It's actually pretty useful. Like I said, I am gathering information for a story I am writing. I've heard of other raptors dying due to stress. It may not be personality, but it is undeniably an aspect of raptor life.

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