Taking a Close Look
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This is an adult bald eagle. Did you notice this eagle is holding a fish dinner with his feet? These powerful feet have sharp and strong claw-like toes called talons. They are used to grip and hold. Eagles swoop down into cold water to grab fish with their talons. The talons hold their food while they tear apart the flesh with their sharp, pointed beaks.

This eagle has long, strong-looking legs covered with feathers. The feathers help keep his legs warm and dry. 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 plunging for a fish, any ice that forms on the feathers will quickly melt as the sun hits those dark feathers. Bald eagles have about 7,000 feathers!

His broad chest must be very powerful. Bald eagles can have an eight foot wingspan. That means each wing is almost four feet long. Many of the muscles that power these wings are in the chest area.


Photos: Ray Foster (top) Jon McRay (bottom)


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