Monday, July 14, 2008

Adopt a Bird Spotlight: Dutch (Bald Eagle)

Dutch's Story

Species: Bald Eagle
Hatched: Unknown

Dutch was presented to the United States in 1982 as a gift from Germany to commemorate the naming of the bald eagle as our National Symbol. He was named Dutch after then president Ronald Reagan, whose nickname was Dutch.

Dutch's first home in the U.S. was the National Zoo in Washington D.C. He was subsequently transferred to the Patuxent Wildlife Center in Laurel, MD, who later gifted him to the World Bird Sanctuary in 1988. He was paired for five years with Nancy and they produced two chicks who were released into the wild.

Dutch was later paired with Killer, a female bald eagle from Alaska, who had rejected all other suitors. Dutch must have had "that something special,"
because for many years they wew a productive pair, producing a number of offspring until her death from natural causes in Spring 2007. It is uncertain if a new mate will be found for Dutch at this time. He is currently living the bachelor life until it is determined how best to integrate him into the sanctuary's breeding and education programs.

The next time you see a bald eagle soaring overhead, just remember that it might be one of Dutch's descendants!

To adopt Dutch, simply click our donation button, make a donation of $150, and specify in your payment notes: Adopt-a-bird: DUTCH. Also include your name, phone number, and mailing address so that we can send you your adoption materials!

Every donation helps to feed, house, and provide medical care for the bird of your choice! Adopt-A-Bird Parents Receive:

  • *A personal visit with the bird you adopt!!!!! Call 636-861-3225 to set up a time for
  • your personal visit.
  • * Certificate of Adoption
  • * Color photo of the bird you've adopted
  • * Sponsorship Card
  • * One year's subscription to Mews News (our quarterly newsletter)
  • * Life History and Natural History of the bird
  • * 10% Discount off WBS merchandise
  • * Invitation to Sponsors-only events like Camera Day
  • * Discounts on WBS Special Events
  • * WBS Decal

Natural History

Bald Eagle
Haliaeetus leucocephalus

Description: large; white head, neck and tail; brown-black body; massive yellow bill and feet

Sex: males and females are similar but females are larger

Age: juveniles are mostly dark brown with white blotches underneath and on the wing linings; become more white each molt; gain adult plumage after 4-5 years; immature calls are generally harsher

Length: 31-37”

Wingspan: 5.8-7.5’

Weight: 8-14 lbs.
Habitat: rivers, lakes, coastal areas

Status: seen across most of North America; common in Alaska, parts of Florida and in the Midwest during winter months; common along the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers in winter; became endangered in the 70s from pesticides; conservation programs and pesticide banning helped increase populations again

Range: Alaska and Canada to the southern United States

Behavior: monogamous pairs; breed April-August and build a stick nest as high as 150 feet above the ground, usually in a tree or on cliffs near water; renovate and add to their nest each year until it falls; 1 brood with 1-3 dull, whitish eggs; both parents incubate for 34-36 days until semi-altricial chicks hatch asynchronously; chicks leave nest at 10 weeks; large numbers of bald eagles often congregate where food is plentiful, like spawning ruts; will steal food from smaller and weaker osprey; fly low after prey
Diet: carrion, fish, waterfowl, birds, small mammals

Vocalization: sharp, pleading, creaking cackle; “kleek-kik-ik-ik-ik”; lower “kak-kak-kak”

√ The bald eagle has been the national symbol of the United States since 1782.

Adopt A Bird spotlights are written and photographed by Gay Schroer.

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