Kids Nature Shows Animal Interview: Potomac the Bald Eagle
Hi Everyone! This is CobraCaroline (CC) here with my Kids Nature Shows co-star Potomac the Bald Eagle. Today I am going to interview him so we can learn a little bit more about our national bird.
CC: Where do bald eagles live in the wild?
Potomac: Our species is found all over North America, from northern Canada and Alaska all the way down to northern Mexico. And you can find us right here in the mid-Atlantic region. We like to live near water, in fact, some people call us “sea eagles” because we love to live near the ocean. We also like big rivers and big lakes too.
CC: How big can bald eagles get?
Potomac: Oh, we can get BIG! I’m a boy, so my wingspan could be up to 6 1/2 feet wide. If I was a girl, my wingspan would be even larger – girl eagles can have wingspans of over 7 feet, sometimes even 8 feet wide!
CC: How do bald eagles take care of baby eagles?
Potomac: Both the father and mother eagle will take care of raising baby eagles together. First, we build a nest high up in a tall tree or on a cliff where not many animals can reach. We build our nest out of big twigs and sticks. Our nests can get pretty big – over 5 feet across! After we build the nest, then the mother eagle lays 2-3 eggs and we both take turns sitting on the eggs to keep them warm and safe. And after the eggs hatch, we both take turns catching food and feeding our babies. Whew – we have to catch a LOT of food to keep those hungry baby eagles happy!
CC: Speaking of food, what do bald eagles like to eat?
Potomac: Remember how some people call us sea eagles? One of our most favorite foods is FISH! Yummy delicious fish! But we also like to eat crabs, turtles, snakes, small mammals, other birds, and even carrion (dead animals). Pretty much we like all kinds of meat, but fish is our favorite!
CC: Bald eagles were once listed in the United States as a Federally Endangered Species. How did bald eagles become endangered?
Potomac: Well, it is kind of a sad story. Back in the early 1900s, many people liked to wear hats made with feathers from birds and, well we kind of need our feathers. At the same time, fisher-people were getting mad at us for eating fish they were catching (remember how we LOVE to eat FISH!). So a lot of eagles got killed for their feathers to make hats and for trying to get fish from fisher-people. And then, as if that wasn’t tough enough, a new pesticide to kill bugs came out in the 1940s called DDT. Even though DDT helped farmers grow crops, the DDT got into our bodies and caused us to lay eggs with shells that were so thin that they broke when we sat on them. So the combination of people hunting us and the DDT caused our numbers to go all the way down to less than 450 pairs in the 1960s.
CC: Wow that is a sad story.
Potomac: But wait, there is a very HAPPY ending! In 1972, people got together and passed an important law called the Endangered Species Act. This Act protects bald eagles and all kinds of other endangered wild animals. People were not allowed to hunt eagles anymore. And at the same time, DDT was banned! People worked together to protect us and by 2017 it was estimated that over 6,300 pairs of bald eagles were living in North America. Yay!
CC: I am so glad to hear that eagles are doing well now. Why do they call you a “bald” eagle? Are you bald?
Potomac: LOL no I’m not bald! My head is perfectly covered in beautiful white feathers. When I was a kid, my head and all my body had brown and tan feathers. When I was 4 or 5 years old, my adult feathers grew in and now I have a white head and a white tail. I love my beautiful white feathers!
CC: I love them too, Potomac. You are a very handsome bird. Are there any places nearby that people could go to see a real live eagle?
Potomac: Here in the Washington DC area, there are lots of opportunities to see real live eagles in the wild! Here is a list:
- Mason Neck State Park Lorton VA
- Mason Neck Wildlife Refuge Lorton VA
- Leesylvania State Park Woodbridge VA
- United States National Arboretum Washington DC
- Patuxent Research Refuge Laurel MD
CC: Well this has been a super fun interview Potomac! I hope that kids will have a chance to get out to some of those parks and wildlife refuges and maybe spot a bald eagle in the wild!
I also want to let everyone know they can meet Kids Nature Shows star Potomac the bald eagle in our Animal Kindness Show, Wetlands Show, and in custom shows. I am performing shows both virtually online and in-person! Check out all the fun wildlife education programs Kids Nature Shows has to offer and book your in-person or virtual show today.
Do you have more questions about bald eagles? You can email me at [email protected]
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