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Eagles Fighting Over Salmon

Copyright Barbara Samuelson 1997

Eagles will fight over salmon dragged out of the water. They will wait till the salmon has spawned, and is either dead or near dead. To try to take the salmon before that would waste too much of the eagles precious energy and heat. At one time, the government put a bounty out on the eagles because it was thought that they were taking the salmon before they had spawned; $5 per eagle. Over 350,000 were killed before the bounty was removed.

How big are they? Females are larger, but both sexes are between 28 and 38 inches in length and have a wingspread between 66 and 96 inches (up to eight feet!). Females weigh between 10 and 14 pounds, males between 8 and 9 pounds.

The bald eagle's lifting capacity has been greatly overstated. Bald eagles have mistakenly been reported carrying off both a 30 pound pig and a 50 pound lamb. Another report stated that a bald eagle was seen eating 40 pounds in one meal. The fact is the bald eagle would do well to carry off one-half of its own body weight, three to seven pounds.


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