Soar like an ea­gle

Record Observer - - OPINION - By JUDY E. MELVIN EDELHEIT

The bald ea­gle has been the na­tional em­blem of the United States since 1782. A large rap­tor, weigh­ing be­tween 8 and 15 pounds, nearly 3 feet tall and with wing­span over 6 feet, it is im­pres­sive and re­gal. They soar in soli­tude.

Bald ea­gles are found in Mary­land year round. Most are con­cen­trated along the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay and its trib­u­taries, liv­ing near wa­ter re­sources and in forested, sparsely de­vel­oped ar­eas near rivers, wet­lands and other wa­ter­ways through­out the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay wa­ter­shed.

Bald ea­gles nest in large trees, ei­ther loblolly pines or hard­woods, usu­ally at the edge of a wooded area where there is easy ac­cess and away from de­vel­op­ment. Many nests bor­der ac­tive farm fields.

The Ch­e­sa­peake re­gion is also an im­por­tant stop for bald ea­gles mi­grat­ing from other parts of North Amer­ica dur­ing spring and au­tumn.

Bald ea­gles mate for life and live up to 30 years in the wild. Af­ter hatch­ing in April, they stay in their nests for 12 weeks, cared by both par­ents, the ju­ve­niles start to fly in June.

PHOTO BY JUDY E. MELVIN EDELHEIT

Th­ese ea­gles were re­cently spot­ted in a field along Route 301 south near Cen­tre­ville.

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