As we celebrate our country’s independence this week, a few classics come to mind: pet parades, freedom rides, BBQ and good old-fashioned American craft beer to name a few. All of these things can certainly be found in Bend, but what about our national bird? There is almost nothing more American than the North American Bald Eagle, and fortunately for us, there are over 470 pairs of these majestic birds that call Oregon home.
In honor of the Fourth of July festivities happening all around town, we've put together a quiz to question your knowledge of the Haliaeetus leucocephalus and find out just how patriotic you really are!
1. When did The United States adopt the bald eagle as our national bird?
Chosen for its magnificent beauty, strength, and resiliency, the bald eagle was named the national bird symbol of the United States in 1782 (correct answer: c), 8 years after our country’s founding. Some more important dates for this bird include 1966 and 1973 when The Endangered Species Acts helped to protect the birds, and the 1972 banning of DDT pesticide was essential in the recovery of the bald eagle population.
2. At cruising speed, how fast do bald eagles fly?
a. 60 MPH
b. 30 MPH
c. 45 MPH
Talk about freedom rides! Using their 7’ wingspan, a full-grown bald eagle can fly at speeds up to 30 MPH (correct answer: b), and dive at up to 100 MPH. These birds of prey can fly as high as 10,000’ up in the sky – that’s almost 1,000’ higher than Mount Bachelor!
3. In what regions are bald eagles considered native?
a. North America only
b. North and South America
c. North America and Western Europe
The bald eagle is native ONLY to North America (correct answer: a), and is the only species of eagle that is endemic (native or restricted to a certain country or area) to North America. Much like a Bendite, the habitat of the bald eagle is primarily focused on rivers, large lakes, mountains, and open dry country as well as coastal areas. Check out some of Central Oregon’s very own bald eagles at the High Desert Museum!
4. Who builds the nests: males or females?
c. Males AND females
It takes two to tango when it comes to bald eagles. Male and female bald eagle couples work together to build their nests, which stand up to 180 feet off the ground in trees and on cliffs. That’s 110 feet higher than the White House! Because bald eagles mate for life, the couple will continually use and reuse their nests. Over time, these nests can weigh up to one ton!
Now that you've taken our bald eagle quiz you are ready to celebrate the land of the free and the home of the brave! Have fun and be safe, and we hope to continue learning not only about our great country, but also about the awesome creatures that inhabit it alongside us!