for labeled photo
Most bird bodies
don't tell much about the bird's life until you look carefully at the wings,
tail, and legs.
photo: Ray Foster
- A bald
eagle's body is mostly covered with skin and feathers.
Important things are happening underneath!
- The heart and lungs are
so efficient that eagles can get enough oxygen to fly even at high
have a fairly short tail. A longer tail would be useful for
quick aerial maneuvers, but eagles fly slowly and directly, or spiral
upwards on thermals in wide circles. That means a long tail wouldn't
be useful for them, and might actually drag in water, making it difficult
to snatch up a quick-moving fish.
swallow big chunks of fish and sometimes dead mammals or birds, bones
and all. To digest them and to prevent sharp, jagged bone edges from
piercing their intestines, eagle stomachs produce extremely strong
acids. These acids also destroy most bacteria, so when eagles are scavenging
on dead fish and other animals, they won't get sick.
- The eagle's
dark body feathers are good at absorbing sunlight, a big help when
the eagle is fishing on a frigid January day. After a plunge after
a fish, any ice that forms on the feathers will quickly melt as the
sun hits those dark feathers.