The New Student's Reference Work/Eagle
Eagle, a large bird of prey, related to buzzards and vultures. There are forty or fifty species of eagles in all countries of the world, but only two kinds occur in North America. These are the golden eagle, common to Europe, Asia and America, and the baldheaded eagle, which is peculiar to North America. The golden eagle is a magnificent, mountain-loving bird; it is found in the United States from Mexico northward, but is far from common. It is more abundant in the Old World, but there the sea-eagle is a more common bird. The golden eagle is a large bird of brownish color, the feathers of the head and neck appearing golden in the sunlight. It attains a length of three and one half feet, and nine feet in spread of the wings. Its food is hares, ducks, lambs, small pigs and the young of other animals, which it carries away in its talons. It lays two or three whitish eggs with brown spots, usually on inaccessible cliffs. The baldheaded eagle belongs to the group of the sea-eagles and lives near water; it is found on rivers and lakes and especially along the sea-coast. It is slightly smaller than the golden eagle, having an expanse of wing of about eight feet. The feathers on the head and upper part of the neck are white, which gives it the name of baldheaded. It feeds largely on fish, sometimes catching them for itself, but, when opportunity offers robbing the fish-hawk or osprey. It frightens the osprey into dropping the fish which it has caught, and then catches it in its own claws before it reaches the earth. These birds usually nest in high trees, and lay two eggs of dull white color. Among other varieties are the harpy-eagle, the serpent-eating eagle, etc. Eagles are supposed to attain a great age. They have long stood as the emblems of war and power, and have been the standards of war in several countries. The famous war-eagle of the United States — Old Abe — was stuffed and preserved in the state-library at Madison, Wis.