Bald Eagle nesting site for young eagles before being released to the wild.


501.9R Garrison Bluff Light and Daymark. On the bluff is a facility for releasing young eagles to the wild. Eaglets about five weeks old are placed in the wooden structure and are fed without seeing the humans who feed them. Eagles who knowingly receive food from humans will never strive for the ability to find food in the wild. When they are old enough to fly they will leave. Because eagles always return to nest where they learned to fly this facility is important for the future of the American Bald Eagle.

The American bald eagle was chosen by Congress in 1782 as the emblem of the United States. On the national seal the bird is shown with its wings spread, holding an olive branch in one claw and arrows in the other. On coins, military insignia, and other devices, the eagle appears in a variety of postures.

Only two species of eagles are found in North America --the bald and the golden. The more common bald eagle has white tail feathers and white plumes on the head and neck. Early colonists, used to the gray sea eagle of Europe, called these birds "bald-headed. " (Bald originally meant "white.") The female is fiercer than the male and is several inches larger. A sea eagle, the bald eagle migrates only if the body of water that it normally fishes freezes. It returns each year to the same nest, called an aerie, with the same mate. The bald eagle has bare "ankles," whereas the legs of the golden eagle are feathered to the toes.

Eagles are birds of prey, related to vultures, hawks, and falcons. The scientific name of the bald eagle is Haliaetus leucocephalus.