Back to Nature (Published on TBNWeekly.com - Feb. 8, 2007)
Bald eagles call Science Center home
 
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Photo courtesy of The Science Center
A pair of bald eagles are sighted nesting at The Science Center in St. Petersburg.
A pair of bald eagles have set up housekeeping on the Science Center property located at 22nd Avenue North in St. Petersburg. The nesting pair was discovered a few weeks ago and are reported to be settling in nicely.

In recent history the bald eagle was listed on the endangered species list, but has bravely made an amazing recovery so as to be removed from this list. Even so, most of the bald eagle populations are found in Alaska, Canada, Washington, Oregon and Florida.

Audubon Center for Birds of Prey Training Manual states that more than seven thousand pairs of nesting bald eagles can be found in the contiguous United States.

Bald eagles probably mate for life. Adding to their nests each year with twigs, weeds and earth, bald eagles build the largest nest of any bird in North America, weighing a thousand pounds or more. The pair reuses this nest year after year. The eagle pair may lay up to four eggs. The eggs usually begin to hatch within 33 to 35 days.

Unlike other eagles, the bald eagle is indigenous only to North America. In Latin the word for eagle, aquila, means dark color and the north wind. This became aigle in French from which we say, eagle.

Bald does not mean that this bird has no feathers. Instead, it comes from the word piebald, an old word, which means “marked with white” and so we have bald eagle or white-headed, large, dark bird of prey.

The stately adult eagle has a white head and white tail. These attributes are considered an All Field Mark. Bald eagles have blackish-brown back and breast; large yellow bill and yellow feet. Bald eagles require four to five years to reach full adult plumage. These majestic birds have long and broad wings (up to 7 1/2 foot wingspan) that help them soar at grand heights using magnificent strength and power. Audubon Center for Birds of Prey Training Manual; National Geographic Bird Field Guide; Peterson’s Field Guide of Eastern Birds.

Visitors are invited to view the nest at the Science Center from a distance on Fridays from 1 to 4 p.m. Call 384-0027 or visit www.sciencecenterofpinellas.com.

Our vision of the bald eagle is of a bird of great dignity, superb strength and bravery, keenness of sight and marvelous powers of flight. With our continued help bald eagle populations increase. With our commitment the bald eagle will remain for generations to come … back to nature.

Karen can be reached at MyMuddyPawsStudio@gmail.com.

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