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Eagle Adaptations:The Wings

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Eagle wings have several adaptations for the eagle's fishing life.

  • Shape: Long, broad wings like an eagle's take a lot of energy to flap, but are wonderful for riding effortlessly on thermals. Like all birds, eagles must minimize the energy they need for flight over long distances.
  • "Fingers" or slotted primaries: This provides more lift with less weight--important for birds that ride thermals
  • Size: Eagle wings are big enough to carry the weight of the eagle PLUS the weight of a fairly large fish. And if the fish is too heavy to pull out of the water, the eagle can use its long wings to paddle to shore!
  • Color: The pigment that makes an eagle's wing feathers black also makes those feathers stronger, which is important when feathers hit the water while fishing and when flying.


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