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  • Eagles reach adulthood at five years old, but 70 to 80 percent of them die before that point; 50 percent die from falls, starvation or siblicide before they’re one year old. Those that survive can live up to 25 years in the wild, and up to 50 in captivity.
  • The wingspan of an eagle ranges from 6 to 7.5 feet, but eagles farther north tend to be larger than those in the south. Females tend to weigh between 10 and 14 pounds, and males in the same area will generally weigh about 25 percent less.
  • The Mississippi River’s fast current keeps it open year round, which attracts eagles migrating for a winter home; the open water makes it easier to find food.
  • While eagles eat primarily fish, they will eat waterfowl and small mammals like squirrels, rabbits and even raccoons. They are also opportunistic predators, and will steal from other animals or scavenge.
  • An eagle can eat up to one-third of its body weight in food, but its stomach is only the size of a walnut. Though small, the eagle’s digestive system contains acids strong enough to dissolve and digest bones.
  • Eagles generally mate for life, and are likely to return to the same nest each year to prepare to raise their young. The average nest is 4 or 5 feet in diameter, and 2 to 4 feet deep, but the adult pair will add 1 to 2 feet of new material to the nest each year.
  • Mid-dive, bald eagles can get to speeds as high as 100 mph; they can fly up to 30 mph.
  • While eagles’ bodies are covered in down and feathers, their bare feet and legs have special circulation, with a complex set of arteries and veins exchanging heat, to help them withstand cold temperatures. The legs and feet also have very little soft tissue, and an eagle can tuck one foot up underneath its feathers to warm up its toes.
  • Bald eagles were removed from the Federal Endangered Species list in 2007, but they are still protected by several federal laws.
  • Eagle feathers are federally protected, and a permit is required from the U.S. government to possess a feather, or any part of an eagle. Enrolled members of Native American tribes can receive a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Eagle Repository in Colorado.
  • Eagles are protected by three acts: the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act of 1940, the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, and the federal Lacey Act. The fine for killing, wounding or harassing a bald eagle is more than $20,000.
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