Friday, July 4, 2008

Adopt a Bird Spotlight: Norbert (Bald Eagle)

Norbert's Story

Species: Bald Eagle
Hatched: Spring 2004

Norbert was hatched in 2004, presumably in a wild nest in South Dakota. The story has it that he was found on a golf course stealing golf balls. He was trapped and taken to a rehabilitation center in Rapid City, South Dakota. There it was discovered that he showed all the behavior of a human imprinted bird. Because this behavior would make him a danger to others as well as to himself, he was declared unreleasable and placed with the World Bird Sanctuary. He arrived here on December 9, 2004, and after a settling in period he began the manning and training process. The ultimate goal is to fly Norbert at special events and educational programs. So far he is working out nicely!

The World Bird Sanctuary received Norbert in his first year, at which point a bald eagle is totally brown. This coloration confuses many people when trying to identify the species. The photo above shows him in his third year plumage. You can see his tail is already beginning to show the distinctive white feathers for which these birds are known. By his fifth year, his head and tail feathers will be the signature white color of his species.

To adopt Norbert, simply click our donation button, make a donation of $150, and specify in your payment notes: Adopt-a-bird: NORBERT. 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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