Bald Eagle’s Habitat: Lesson for Kids

The bald eagle is the national bird of the United States, but it doesn’t just live in the U.S., and it isn’t even bald. Come learn about where bald eagles live, what they eat and other animals that live in their environment.

About Bald Eagles

When you think of the word ‘bald’, you probably think of someone with no hair. Despite their name, bald eagles have feathers on their head and are not bald. They got their name from the word ‘piebald’, which means marked with two different colors. A bald eagle has a mostly brown body and white tail and head. The word was shortened to bald, which is how the bald eagle got its name.

The bald eagle lives throughout North America, is the national bird of the United States, and can even be found on the Great Seal of the United States and on the back of some of our coins, including quarters.

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North American Habitat

A habitat is a place where an animal or plant usually lives or grows. Bald eagles like water habitats of all kinds, especially if there are a lot of fish, which is their favorite meal. You are most likely to see them near places like the marshes, lakes, coasts and rivers of North America.

Bald Eagle Fishing
Bald Eagle Fishing

In the wild, bald eagles are found on the continent of North America, except for Hawaii, from the northern border of Mexico all the way up through the United States, and into the country of Canada. Many bald eagles live in the state of Alaska, where it’s normal to see them flying around or hanging around in trees.

Bald Eagle Range Map
Bald Eagle Range Map

In order to find their nests, you have to look all the way up to the tops of the tall trees found in the thick forests around the water, or on tall cliffs. They like a nest with a view!

Bald Eagle in Tree Top Nest
Bald Eagle in Tree Top Nest

Migration

Some bald eagles migrate, which means they move from one place to another at different times of the year, but they are still always found near water.

If a bald eagle lives where the temperature is mild all year long, they usually stay put and don’t migrate because they can find plenty of food in the water near their nest.

Bald eagles that live further north, or in places where the water ices over in the winter, usually migrate south and toward the coasts to find food. They will return to their nests to lay eggs when the weather warms up. Just like you, they like their own bed. Every year, they go back to the same tree-top or cliff nest that they built!

Other Animals in the Bald Eagle’s Habitat

Bald eagles also share their habitat with other animals. Some of these animals that live in or near the water include mink, snapping turtles and osprey, which is another kind of bird that likes to eat fish.

Bald eagles will sometimes pick on an osprey until they let go of the fish they caught. The bald eagle will then snatch it and take it away for their own dinner. They also eat ducks, reptiles, squirrels and rabbits that are found in their habitat.

Lesson Summary

Bald eagles are found in the wild in their North American habitat, from the Mexican border north through Canada. They always live near water, like marshes, lakes and coasts, and build their nests in the tall forest trees or cliffs near the water. Some bald eagles migrate, moving to a warmer location in order to find food, though it’s always near water, and then return to the same nest they built in the forest tree tops or cliffs.

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