Tuesday, February 10, 2015

I Wonder . . . Can Bald Eagles Swim?

You can imagine that many of the 150,000 + people TRC reaches every year with our education experiences have asked some terrific questions about raptors.  We wanted to highlight some of those questions with a new series called, "I Wonder. . ."

Stay tuned to our social media outlets for more creative ways to learn together about raptors and the world we share.  As we roll out some new features at our Center in the coming year, we look forward to new ways of hearing about YOUR great questions and ideas, and being able to feature YOUR creativity and expressions of your passion for raptors! 

Question: Can Bald Eagles Swim?

Answer: Yes, although some refer to it as paddling or rowing in the water. As fish eaters, bald eagles occasionally find themselves in the water and unable to take off in flight. In this situation, they have often been observed to use their wings to push themselves across the water to shore, where they may take time to allow their feathers to dry before eventually taking to the sky again.

The National Eagle Center (http://www.nationaleaglecenter.org/learn/faq/) says, “bald eagles do not dive into the water but rather skim across the top catching fish near the surface.  During salmon runs in Alaska, bald eagles have been observed standing on the shoreline and pouncing on salmon as the fish swims into shallow water. If a bald eagle catches a fish that is too heavy to lift, it may grasp the fish with its talons and use its wings like oars to swim to shore.”

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