Haliaeetus leucocephalus

The bald eagle is 30 to 31 inches in length and weighs 8 to14 pounds. An eagle's wingspread is 6 to7 feet. Adults (5-6 years) have a white head, white tail and a long, heavy yellow bill. The rest of the body is blackish. They have yellow feet with sharp black talons. Females are larger than males. Young birds lack the white head and tail, but have a larger wingspan and longer tail than do mature birds. The voice is squeaky cackling.

Migratory routes are chosen to take advantage of thermals, updrafts and food sources. Eagles congregate in winter to hunt and roost. Within a roost a hierarchy develops, the oldest and most aggressive eagles occupying the highest perches. Eagles hunt by swooping either from flight or perch, or while wading from shore, grabbing prey with either the bill or talons.

Bald is a synonym for white, not hairless, in this case. The bald eagle has been declared endangered in 43 states and threatened in another 5. Only Alaska and Florida have sizable populations.