The bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) is a New World bird of prey. Its current range extends from the Arctic Circle, Alaska and Hudson’s Bay to Mexico.
Bald eagles are relatively large raptors, weighing up to 15 pounds. Bald eagles are also dimorphic, wherein females are as much as 25% larger than males. Northern subspecies appear to be subject to Bergmann’s rule, in that Haliaeetus leucocephalus washingtoniensis, a more northern distributed subspecies, is generally larger in body size and mass than Haliaeetus leucocephalus leucocephalus, the more southern distributed subspecies commonly found as far south as Florida and Mexico.
Bald eagles prey primary on fish, however, they will also prey on waterfowl, small mammals and are known to scavenge carrion found naturally, and at fish processing operations in North America.
Previous causes of mortality included takings for scientific collections, exposure to the organochlorine insecticide dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) and other pesticides and collisions with aircraft, power lines and power towers.
Bald eagles were previously listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1967, after protection was extended to Bald eagles and Golden eagles through the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (1918) (MBTA) and the Bald Eagle Act (1940). After the banning of DDT in the United States in 1972 and subsequent limitations on it’s use in Canada, bald eagle populations rebounded, resulting in a delisting from full protection under the ESA in June,2007. Bald eagles are currently still protected under the MBTA and the Bald Eagle Act, as well as other State and Federal laws and regulations related to protection of raptors.
Environmental activists and researchers claim that bald eagles are increasingly being poisoned by ingesting lead shot in carrion of waterfowl and upland game left in the field by hunters. These same environmental activists and researchers again ignore alternatives sources of lead in the environment, other causes on death that are summarily blamed on lead poisoning and the fact that bald eagle population levels are soaring. Hunt for Truth is currently investigating allegations of lead poisoning and mortality from secondary ingestion of lead shot and projectile fragments contained in carrion of wildlife and waterfowl.
Golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos canadensis) are widely distributed “true eagles” in North America. Golden eagles can grow to 3 feet long with a wingspan of up to 7 feet, and can weigh up to 15 pounds. Golden eagles are dimorphic, wherein females are larger than the males of the species. Golden eagles can live between 15 to 20 years in the wild.
Golden eagles range broadly across the North American continent, and can utilize home ranges of 60 to 160 square miles. Golden eagles are opportunistic and powerful predators capable of preying upon large rabbits and hares, wild and domestic lambs, fawns, kids, and large waterfowl such as geese. When used in falconry, eagles have been noted to be capable of taking wolves, coyotes, foxes and domestic dogs. They are also known to prey upon marmots and groundhogs, along with such species of concern as pika.
Currently, golden eagles are protected under the Bald Eagle Protection Act (1940). They are also protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (1918).
Causes of mortality include impact with man-made structures (wind power fans, power towers), electrocution from power-lines, disease and limited exposure to environmental toxins and poisons used in animal control.
Like the bald eagle, environmental activists and researchers claim that golden eagles are being poisoned by hunters’ lead ammunition in carrion left in the field. Hunt for Truth is conducting research on claims by researchers related to golden eagles and the ingestion of lead shot and projectile fragments in prey and carrion.