Southwest Florida Wildlife – The American Bald Eagle

Last week we began an all-month long feature on Southwest Florida wildlife, with our entry about the Bottlenose Dolphin! Our Double Sunshine sightseeing and nature watching cruise offers our guests an opportunity to observe some of the amazing wildlife that resides here in Naples. This week we’ll be talking about another very common sight aboard the Double Sunshine — The American Bald Eagle.

The species name for the Bald Eagle is Haliaeetus leucocephalus(from the Greek language: hali = salt, aeetus = eagle, leuco = white, cephalis = head). The United States adopted the Bald Eagle as our national bird and emblazoned it on the Great Seal of the United States in 1782. This species is exclusive to North America, with a habitat that includes most of Alaska and Canada, all of the United States and some regions of Northern Mexico.

As highly evolved “apex” predators, Bald Eagles are truly kings among birds. Typically, these eagles are three feet tall, have a wingspan ranging from six to eight feet, weigh nine to ten pounds, and can live up to 40 years! The term “Apex” predator means that these predators are not preyed on themselves, making them top of the food chain within their ecosystems. Their diet consists primarily of fish – which is probably why they live here in Naples, Florida year-round!

FGCU Cruise NaplesHere are some other cool facts about the American Bald Eagle:

  • The Bald Eagle isn’t bald. Bald refers to the term, “Piebald” meaning patches of white.
  • Younger Bald Eagles are brown, and develop their distinctive plumage by age three.
  • Bald Eagles reside in every U.S. state, with the exception of Hawaii. Here is a map of the U.S. showing the different habitats of the Bald Eagle:
  • It is believed that Bald Eagles choose one mate for life. Males and females perform special courtship dances in the sky.
  • The Bald Eagle is the mascot for Florida Gulf Coast University in nearby Fort Myers, Florida.
  • Eagles do not have vocal chords. Their high-pitched, shrill cries are actually produced by a syrinx, a bony chamber between their trachea and lungs.
  • A Bald Eagle’s vision is four times as accurate as that of a human. They can literally target their prey from a mile away.
  • Bald Eagles have translucent eyelids that allow them to see even while they are blinking.

This week’s blog entry is especially meaningful given the occasion – Today is Veteran’s Day! The Bald Eagle has been one of the strongest visuals in United States symbols. You can find the Eagle on the Great Seal, the President’s Seal, and on many forms of U.S. currency:

From its striking visual appearance, to its size and highly evolved hunting skills, to its signficance in United States history, the American Bald Eagle is definitely on of our favorite animals in Southwest Florida Wildlife. If you want to see some of Southwest Florida’s wildlife first hand, which could very possible include spotting a Bald Eagle, be sure to give use a call at 239.263.4949 or visit our website at to book your next adventure!