Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Bald Eagle lands into its nest

Photo: Bald Eagle on Kodiak Island

The Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), the national bird and symbol of the United States of America since 1782, is a bird of prey found in North America. It is a sea eagle, also called erne or ern mostly referring to the white-tailed eagle, has two sub-species and forms a species pair with the white-tailed eagle. It is mostly found in Canada and Alaska, all of the contiguous United States, and northern Mexico. Bald eagles become sexually mature at four or five years of age, and when ready to breed, they often return to the area where they were born. It is believed that bald eagles mate for their entire life. If one bird of a pair dies or disappears, the other will choose a new mate. A pair that has repeatedly failed in breeding attempts may split and look for new mates. Its nest is the largest of any bird in North America. The nest is made of sticks and smaller twigs on tall trees or on rocky cliffs, usually near water bodies. These eagles produce one to three eggs per year, and both the male and female birds take turns for incubating the eggs.

Grand Tetons Barns at the base of the Tetons

The Teton Range of the Rocky Mountains is on the Wyoming side of the state's border with Idaho, just south of Yellowstone National Park. The principal summits of the central massif are the Grand Teton (13,770 ft), Mount Owen (12,928 ft), Teewinot (12,325 ft), Middle Teton (12,804 ft) and South Teton (12,514 ft). Most of the range is in Grand Teton National Park. The early French voyageurs used the name ‘les Trois Tétons’ (the three breasts) for this range that the Shoshone people once called the Teewinot, meaning ‘many pinnacles’.