Bald Eagles in the Yukon. Wildlife in our backyard: an activity book

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1 Bald Eagles in the Yukon Wildlife in our backyard: an activity book

2 The Mighty Bald Eagle Both male and female Bald Eagles have a dark brown body with a distinct white head and tail and bright yellow beak, but did you also know: An adult Bald Eagle has more than 7,000 feathers The eye of an adult Bald Eagle is about the same size as a human s eye, but their eyesight is 4 times better than ours Like other birds, the bones of a Bald Eagle are hollow, which makes them light and helps the bird to fly Fun Fact! An eagle s beak, talons and feathers are all made of keratin. Your fingernails, hair and a rhinoceros horn are also made of keratin Using its powerful wings, a Bald Eagle can soar up to 4,000 metres above the ground - that s the height of sky diving from a plane! They can fly as fast as 100 km/hour - that s as fast as we drive on the highway.

3 Eagle Size Across North America Average of: 5.5 feet (1.68 m) Average of: 6.2 feet (1.88 m) Largest recorded: 8.0 feet (2.44 m) Florida South Carolina Alaska / Yukon The colder the climate, the larger the bird. Bald Eagles in Florida weigh about 2 kg. In South Carolina, they average 3 kg in weight. The largest, and heaviest, eagles are in the North known as the Alaskan Bald Eagle, where females can get up to 7.5 kgs. Northern Bald Eagles Average of: 6.8 feet (2.1 m) Average of: 7.4 feet (2.24 m) Male Average weight 4 kg Female 25% - 30% larger than the male, weighs on average 5 kg

4 WHERE DO BALD EAGLES LIVE? Fun Fact! o There are 60 different species of eagles in the world. However, only two live in Canada: the Bald Eagle and the Golden Eagle. o There are approximately 100,000 Bald Eagles in North America today. 60,000 of them live in Alaska and British Columbia near coastal areas. Bald Eagles are only found in North America including Canada, the United States and northern Mexico. o Bald Eagles live in nests during the breeding season. The nests are generally built in large trees that are located close to water so they are close to prey. Bald Eagles use branches, sticks, grasses and mosses to prepare the nest, which can grow to be nearly five feet wide. A breeding pair will often return to the same nest year after year. Golden Eagle Bald Eagle

5 Word Search Edgar Eagle says find the eagle words! E A G L E L B M F W R O T A D E R P Z G S W Q C U S N J O N C H R C N R O G E I A K I O I E K K X L V Q N T T H U U F G E N L A A T Y K T D N X B L R A F Y K E G P K O E E S Z E L E A A N K F X C Q F EAGLE FEATHERS KERATIN TALON FLEDGLING YUKON SCAVENGE PREDATOR

6 WHAT DO BALD EAGLES EAT? Fun Fact! Bald Eagles mainly eat fish. They will hunt from the air or high perches and use their keen eyesight and sharp talons to catch prey. They will also scavenge or steal food from other predators. Eagles are sacred to First Nations people. They value the eagle s feathers using them in clothing, ceremonial headdresses and in snares. Adult Bald Eagles sit at the top of their food chain. This means they do not have any natural predators in the wild. However, this also means that they are more vulnerable to catching disease or being poisoned if any other level in the chain has been affected. In 2013, Yukon Electrical had a nest in Whitehorse, along the Millennium Trail, that was home to a Bald Eagle family of three fledglings and two parents from May until August. Below we see a full-grown parent eagle sitting on a perch and one of the juveniles stretching its wings.

7 THE LIFE OF A BALD EAGLE Bald Eagles have different names, depending on their stage in life. o Eaglet: is an eagle chick, usually refers to young still in the nest o Nestling: may also be used to refer to a young bird which is confined to the nest o Fledging: refers to a young bird ready to make its first flight from the nest. Once it has completed its first flight, it becomes known as a fledgling but is still dependent on its parents for food and care. o Immature eagle: is an eagle that has reached its adult size, but has not yet developed its distinctive white adult feathers. o Adult: An eagle is considered an adult after it has attained its distinct white adult feathers and is capable of breeding around the age of 4 or 5. Bald Eagles reach maturity around age 4 or 5, and are able to start reproducing. At this time in their life, female and male Bald Eagles will attempt to attract each other through calls and aerobatics. Pairs can be seen chasing each other, locking talons and cartwheeling towards the ground together. It is important for the eagles to choose the right mate as Bald Eagles are one of the few species in the wild that will remain with the same partner throughout their entire life. Fun Fact! A study of Bald Eagles in the Yukon found that the average nest successfully produces 1.6 birds per year. In the North, 61% of nests produce one fledgling, 32% produce two and 7% produce three.

8 Fun Fact! The Latin name for the Bald Eagle is Haliaeetus leucocephalus. Haliaeetus means sea eagle and leucocephalus o Female Bald Eagles can lay 1-3 eggs. o Eggs hatch around 35 days after they are laid, usually in May and June. Young will stay in the nests for 8 12 weeks before they are able to attempt to fly. means white head o For the first couple of weeks, the female will remain in the nest to protect against predators and to shield the young from rain, wind and sun. The male will provide most of the food for the young and the mother during this time. o At 4 weeks, the nestlings develop dark brown feathers and both parents hunt to feed their young. How big are eagle Eggs The female eagle lays 1-3 eggs in the nest over a 6 day period; often laid 4 days apart. Eggs hatch 1-4 days apart. The young birds break the egg shell and emerge from the eggs without help from the parents. Actual Size 6 cm wide x 8 cm tall

9 o The nestlings prepare to fly by flapping their wings and moving around their nest to develop muscle strength, coordination and landing ability. o After the offspring can fly, the young will follow their parents to learn how to hunt. The parents will continue to feed their fledglings. o Bald Eagles can live to be 28 years old in the wild. They can reach 40 years old in captivity. The three Millennium Trail nestlings are among the 7% of young to survive to fledgling age. Below you can see one of the adults hunting over the water and the three large fledglings in the nest waiting for the parent to return.

10 Fun Fact! ALASKA From the Yukon Bald Eagle population was estimated at a low of 1,250 birds. Today there are Bald Eagles migrate to the Alaskan coast for the winter YUKON more than 2,000 found within the Yukon during breeding season. Whitehorse: Where the Millennium Trail nest is located NORTHWEST TERRITORIES The Millennium Trail eagles nested for the entire summer of 2013 in Whitehorse next to the airport. Both parents were there when the eggs started to hatch in May. The Eagle Cam that was set up in the nest captured the events of the chicks growth for the entire breeding season. Robert Service Way Air North, Yukon s Airline Alaska Hwy

11 Test Your Eagle Skills Edna Eagle says, let s see how much you ve learned about Bald Eagles: 1. A Bald Eagle can see approximately times better than you can. 2. A Bald Eagle s beak, talons and feathers are made of the same as a rhinoceros horn. 3. A female Bald Eagle is % larger than the male. 4. The Bald Eagle and are the only two species of eagle that live in Canada. 5. A Bald Eagle can fly as fast as a bicycle car airplane. 6. It takes days for a Bald Eagle egg to hatch. 7. The largest recorded wing span of a Bald Eagle was feet across. 8. The average nest in the Yukon successfully produces birds per year. 9. The Latin name for the Bald Eagle is leucocephalus. 10. There are approximately eagles living in North America today.

12 ATCO and protecting Bald Eagles in the Yukon In 2006 heavy rains and winds collapsed an eagle s nest on the Millennium Trail in Whitehorse. The two eaglets in the nest were not ready to fly and were stranded on the ground until local officials spotted them. Yukon Electrical crews helped rescue the eaglets and eventually donated an electric pole and assisted in the construction of the new permanent base. Since then, YECL crews have unofficially adopted the nest and continue to monitor and maintain the nest when necessary. In 2012, the Yukon Electrical Whitehorse office installed a web camera to give the community a bird s eye view of the eagles. Live viewing began in May of 2013 after a pair of eagles moved into the nest earlier in the year. Since that time, viewers of the web cam were able to witness the hatching of three eaglets and watch them grow into fledglings ready to take their first flights. The web cam received more than 1 million views and was seen by people from all over the world.

13 Bald Eagles who live in the North migrate. It s common for the estimated 2,000 Bald Eagles that populate the Yukon to spend the winter season along the coast of Alaska on their own. The three juvenile eagles monitored by Yukon Electrical are expected to return to the Whitehorse area in early spring. It is likely the three eagles will seek out a local landfill where they can survive on easy food sources and learn to hunt. Yukon Electrical is part of the ATCO Group of Companies which maintains the Avian Protection Plan. Activities within the plan include diverting birds from electrical equipment, carefully moving nests from electrical towers and creating appropriate nest habitats. A few of the species that benefit from this program include Bald Eagles, Osprey, the Ferrigunous Hawk and Swans.

14 Edna & Edgar Eagle want you to color in the Yukon Scene!

15

16 Search: millennium trail eagles Photography of the Millennium Trail Eagles in Whitehorse seen in this booklet courtesy of Geoff Newhouse

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