Interesting Bald Eagle Facts

Americans are naturally interested in their National Bird, which is why this bald eagle facts list is compiled.

With a telescope, knowledge of bald eagle habitat, and a little luck, you can spot a bald eagle in Glacier National Park.

Unfortunately, many visitors are unaware that Glacier National Park is home to a substantial bald eagle population.

Still, even if you are not planning a trip to Glacier National Park, the below facts about bald eagles will help you understand our National Bird a little better and perhaps inspire you to take a Montana vacation.


Did you know that the bald eagle habitat ranges from Alaska all the way through Mexico?

Where they live is dependent upon seasonal migration and mating habits. While the majority of bald eagles breed in Alaska, Glacier National Park, the Pacific Northwest & regions around the Great Lakes, some have been known to reach Mexico during warmer months.

Basically, bald eagle habitat will be anywhere near water, including:

  • Rivers
  • Lakes
  • Marshes
  • Reservoirs
  • Coastal Regions

For Glacier National Park visitors, the best location to spot a bald eagle or take a picture of an eagle is the region around Bowman Lake


In the late 1700s, estimations put the bald eagle populations at around 50,000. However, hunters, bald eagle habitat destruction, and DDT contamination reducing prey population dwindled the bald eagle population to 417 by 1963.

Thankfully, the Government sepped in with the Bald Eagle Protection Act of 1940, followed by the Endangered Species Preservation Act of 1966, and the listing of Bald Eagles as Endangered Species in 1978.

Still, the bald eagle population faces seemingly insurmountable threats, including:

  • Habitat Destruction – Humans continue to move in to waterfront homes and deforesting bald eagle population areas
  • Lead Poisoning – Even though lead bullets are illegal to use against waterfowl, a catastrophic level of lead still exists in the environment
  • Reproductive Issues – Lead and DDT poisoning results in reproductive problems in bald eagles, threatening the bald eagle population


The question of what do bald eagles eat and dietary habits may surprise you. Many believe bald eagles to be gracious, noble creatures. However, bald eagles can act as scavengers or take food away from smaller birds, like falcons, who cannot win in a fight.

The bald eagle diet includes:

  • Fish, such as salmon
  • Small animals, like duck, muskrats, snakes and rabbits
  • Scavenge dead animals

Bald eagles are not the most skilled hunters. They catch what they eat by swooping down to seize their prey. While their talons can apply great pressure, they can only carry half their body weight.

Rather than using a fast, vertical dive to catch their prey, bald eagles gradually descend upon food.

While catching their prey is dangerous, as bald eagles can drown if a fish is too heavy, bald eagles are at the top of their food chain.

Nest Information

Bald eagles mate for life. Often, they will use the same territory for breeding and feeding year after year. They even use the same nest, if it still exists.

Bald eagle nests are built from branches, leaves and other materials collected from the ground.

More Montana Fish & Wildlife Information

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