24 & 50
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Lassen and Spirit made their way into CALM through US Fish and Wildlife and CALM’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Center after it was determined that their injuries would make it impossible for them to return to the wild. Lassen has been with CALM since 1990 and Spirit joined the ranks in 2003. In captivity, Bald Eagles have been recorded to live 30+ years. When visiting Spirit and Lassen at CALM, you can often hear their high pitch chirping when one of our keepers enters their enclosure. They are very vocal and know who their favorite people are! Trying to tell the difference between them? Spirit is missing an eye, but that doesn’t stop her from being one of the world’s most majestic birds!
Habitat: The bald eagle occurs during its breeding season in virtually any kind of American wetland habitat such as seacoasts, rivers, large lakes or marshes or other large bodies of open water with an abundance of fish. Studies have shown a preference for bodies of water with a circumference greater than 11 km (7 mi), and lakes with an area greater than 10 km2 (4 sq mi) are optimal for breeding bald eagles. The bald eagle typically requires old-growth and mature stands of coniferous or hardwood trees for perching, roosting, and nesting. Tree species reportedly is less important to the eagle pair than the tree’s height, composition and location.
Perhaps of paramount importance for this species is an abundance of comparatively large trees surrounding the body of water. Selected trees must have good visibility, be over 20 m (66 ft) tall, an open structure, and proximity to prey. If nesting trees are in standing water such as in a mangrove swamp, the nest can be located fairly low, at as low 6 m (20 ft) above the ground. In a more typical tree standing on dry ground, nests may be located from 16 to 38 m (52 to 125 ft) in height. In Chesapeake Bay, nesting trees averaged 82 cm (32 in) in diameter and 28 m (92 ft) in total height, while in Florida, the average nesting tree stands 23 m (75 ft) high and is 23 cm (9.1 in) in diameter.
Trees used for nesting in the Greater Yellowstone area average 27 m (89 ft) high. Trees or forest used for nesting should have a canopy cover of no more than 60%, and no less than 20%, and be in close proximity to water. Most nests have been found within 200 m (660 ft) of open water. The greatest distance from open water recorded for a bald eagle nest was over 3 km (1.9 mi), in Florida. Bald eagle nests are often very large in order to compensate for size of the birds. The largest recorded nest was found in Florida in 1963, and was measured at nearly 10 feet wide and 20 feet deep.
Diet: While at CALM, Lassen and Spirit receive a variety of foods! Fish, meats and BOP diets (Birds of Prey). Keepers often put food throughout the exhibit to enrich Lassen and Spirit’s curiosity sides.