Buds N Bugs: Bald eagles

Published: Wednesday, December 18, 2013 at 16:12 PM.

A bald eagle can lift up to four pounds, or about half its own weight. The skeleton of an adult eagle weighs about eight ounces and is less than 10 percent of the total weight.

An eagle's eye is almost as large as a human's, but they see about four times as well as a human being with perfect vision.

Eagles do not sweat and must pant or find shade to remain cool; their body temperature is about 106 degrees Fahrenheit.

An eagle can live up to 30 years in the wild but the average life expectancy is 14. Many fledgling eagles die on their first flight.

Bald eagles figure prominently in American Indian legends, that identify it as a leader, guardian and messenger from the creator. One legend tells how the eagle had very poor vision until it convinced the slug to lend his eyes so the bird could scout for enemy tribes from the air. When the danger was over, the eagle refused to return the slug’s eyes.

In most Indian cultures, eagles are considered medicine birds with impressive magical powers. They are important in the religious ceremonies of many tribes. The Zunis carve stone eagle fetishes for protection and to enhance their hunting skills. The Eagle Dance is one of the most important traditional dances held by the Hopi and other Pueblo tribes. Among Pacific Northwest tribes, eagle down is a symbol of peace and hospitality.

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