Have you caught the flash of a white tail or feathered head as you look around Florida’s Adventure Coast? As stunning as they are, for those looking, American bald eagle sightings are not rare around here.
These magnificent birds are eye-catching thanks to their 6 – 7.5 foot wingspan, large white tail, white head and contrasting dark body. Their hooked beak and feet are yellow.
Unlike other large soaring birds such as vultures or ospreys, the bald eagle flies with its wings held flat, flapping infrequently.
Here are some other facts you may not know about our national symbol:As our national symbol, the bald eagle is linked to its 1782 landing on the Great Seal of the United States. Considered a sign of strength, the eagle was used by Roman legions as their standard.
Female bald eagles are larger than males by as much as 25 percent.
With populations on the rise since the 1970s, an estimated 1,500 nesting pairs now reside in Florida. Their habitats are forested areas near expanses of shallow fresh or salt water.
Nesting territories are concentrated around inland lakes and river systems and along the Gulf coast.
Eagle nests, called “aeries” are usually within two miles of water and are quite large, being built up in size by the returning owners year after year. A record-sized nest in St. Petersburg, Florida was 9.5 feet in diameter and 20 feet tall.
The bald eagle is a conservation success story. While no longer listed under the federal Endangered Species Act or state imperiled species rule, bald eagles remain protected by both state and federal law.
“Fly Fisher” Bronze sculpture by Cody Houston
Look up when touring any area of Florida’s Adventure Coast!
From coastal areas like Bayport, Pine Island, Weekiwachee Preserve, Chassahowitzka Wildlife Management Area to inland waterways and forests, the sight of one of these majestic birds will thrill you. This Hernando County Living article summarizes the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission local species action plan.
To better your odds of spotting one, enter you address in this interactive Eagle Nest Locator.
When near a bald eagle, please follow the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Eagle Watching Etiquette guidelines.