Bald eagle, Image created by Hope Rutledge


nictitating membrane   All eagles are renowned for their excellent eyesight, and the bald eagle is no exception. They have two foveae or centers of focus, that allow the birds to see both forward and to the side at the same time. Bald eagles are capable of seeing fish in the water from several hundred feet above, while soaring, gliding or in flapping flight. This is quite an extraordinary feat, since most fish are counter-shaded, meaning they are darker on top and thus harder to see from above. Fishermen can confirm how difficult it is to see a fish just beneath the surface of the water from only a short distance away.
   Young bald eagles have been known to make mistakes, such as attacking objects like plastic bottles floating on or just below the surface of the water. Bald eagles will locate and catch dead fish much more rapidly and efficiently than live fish, because dead fish float with their light underside up, making them easier to see.

The information and photos on this web site may be used for student projects as long as neither are placed on other websites. The photographs are copyrighted by Hope Rutledge, the owner and author of the American Bald Eagle Information website, and are NOT available for other websites, photo galleries or commercial use of any kind.

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