Bald Eagles can be found through out North America from as far north as Alaska and Canada down to northern Mexico. They typically inhabit areas near water such as lakes, rivers and along the coast.
Much of their diet includes fish along with small mammals, carrion and occasionally turtles, crabs or shellfish.
On average in the wild Bald Eagles live 15-25 years, with record birds living close to 40 years.
Bald Eagles mate for life, but will find another mate if something should happen to their first. The male and female both aid in nest building which can reach diameters of up to 10 feet. Females lay 1-3 eggs, and incubate them for around 35 days until hatching.
The Bald Eagle was listed as endangered in 1978, therefore gaining protection under The Endangered Species Act. Over time their population numbers have rebounded, leading to their delisting in 2007.
In the early 20th century, Bald Eagle populations were alarmingly low, which lead to their placement on the endangered species list in 1978. Low populations were possibly due to deforestation, trapping, shooting, and also the use of pesticides such as DDT. These pesticides were inadvertently ingested by the eagles through contaminated fish or other food items. In return it caused the eagles to lay soft shelled eggs that would break easily. In 1972, laws were passed banning the use of these pesticides, in order to help protect wildlife.
The Bald Eagle was chosen over the Wild Turkey to become the United States national emblem in 1782.
For more information on Bald Eagles in North Carolina, view the NC Wildlife Resource Commission's Bald Eagle Fact Sheet.