They’re big and bold with piercing talons and yellow eyes. January is prime time to see them along big rivers and reservoirs.
Bald eagles get their name from their white-feathered heads. Their regal looks made them a natural for our national symbol, but their scavenger nature gave Ben Franklin doubts. He thought they were a bird with bad moral character that didn't make their living honestly.
Bald eagles swoop in after food that other animals have sourced, grabbing what’s been left or dropped, or outright stealing other’s prey. They’re opportunistic feeders, choosing live, fresh or dead animals, whatever is available. They mostly eat fish. Bald eagles are fierce predators that hunt from high-up perches and hover over water scooping up fish with their talons.
Pairs will often mate for life and have a swooping, tumbling aerial courtship. They build large nests in tree tops near water and add on every year. The average nest is around four to five feet in diameter and two to four feet deep. The largest on record was in St. Petersburg, Florida at 9 1/2 feet in diameter, 20 feet deep, and weighing nearly three tons. If you spot an active nest in Missouri, you can sign up to be an eagle monitor.
The bald eagle was removed from the Endangered Species List by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2007. Thanks to active conservation efforts in Missouri and across the country, their numbers have increased and bald eagles can be viewed and enjoyed around the state.
Catch a closer view of bald eagles at Eagle Days events around the state. Your family can enjoy viewing them through scopes and enjoy special programs and activities. Discover more about Eagle Days events and the best places to view eagles in the state.