What Do Bald Eagles Eat? ( Definitive Guide )

By | December 14, 2022

The Bald Eagle is a symbol strongly associated with the United States of America, being its national bird since 1782.

This beautiful bird has recovered from the brink of extinction and now thrives in the wilderness of America, where it lives year-round.

The Bald Eagle has a distinct, white cap and a brown body. These beautiful, cold, calculating birds live at the top of the food chain, where they will prey upon fish, birds, mammals, reptiles, and every other thing they can get their talons on!

Read on to see how the Bald Eagle hunts and how it has come to thrive on its vast diet.

What Do Bald Eagles Eat in the Wild?

The Bald Eagle’s diet is made from many types of animals. They are opportunistic hunters, meaning that they will eat everything that they can get. The average diet for a Bald Eagle is made up of about 50% fish, 25% birds and waterfowl, and 15% mammals. They will also eat carrion, as it takes little to no energy for them to feast on roadkill and left behind prey.

Can Eagles Pick Up a Dog?

In theory, a Bald Eagle can pick up a dog. But, despite its size, the Bald Eagle is not a very strong animal. This means that, while a Bald Eagle might be able to grab hold of a small dog, it would not be able to support it in flight for very long. If a Bald Eagle were to ever grab a dog, it would likely have to drop it after a very short time.

Do Bald Eagles Eat Fish?

Bald Eagles live along the edges of rivers, making fish their easiest source of prey. On average, their diet tends to be about 50% fish. The most common fish in their diets will include catfish, shad, salmon, and herring. Because fish won’t be able to fight back against the great Bald Eagle, they make easy targets.

Do Bald Eagles Eat Other Birds?

The Bald Eagle is no stranger to eating other birds. They will take any and all chances at a good meal. Most commonly, the Bald Eagle is going to go after waterfowl as these are slower and offer more of a meal. However, if the opportunity to catch a faster or smaller bird ever comes up, the Bald Eagle is going to jump on it.

Do Bald Eagles Eat Snakes?

Yes, the Bald Eagle has no problems with eating snakes. They’re smart enough not to go after any that are going to be dangerous, too. Along with snakes, Bald Eagles will even eat other reptiles, amphibians, and even some invertebrates, like crabs! If other food sources are available, these will not be the Bald Eagle’s top pick, though.

Do Bald Eagles Eat Deer?

The Bald Eagle is a smart bird, and it is intelligent enough to know that a deer offers a great meal! This bird is not scared of eating or attacking a deer. The Bald Eagle uses its brains to pick at small live ones or jumps on a good chance to eat the remains of one that some other animal left behind. The Bald Eagle has even been known to eat domestic sheep and goats as another meal source.

Do Bald Eagles Eat Cats?

Though an extremely uncommon menu item, Bald Eagles are willing to feast on small kittens and dogs if they can find them. Like every other feeding option, the Bald Eagle is not scared to jump on a chance at a meal. However, rabbits, squirrels, and raccoons are more common mammal prey items.

Do Bald Eagles Eat Live Animals?

Yes, the Bald Eagle will most certainly eat whatever live animals it can find. The Bald Eagle is willing to eat almost anything, whether that animal is alive, freshly killed, or carrion. 

Bald Eagles are smart, and they aren’t going to enter into a fight if they aren’t absolutely certain they will win. This will determine if they will go after a piece of live prey.

How Do Bald Eagles Hunt?

Being smart animals and skilled hunters, the Bald Eagle hovers far above their territory, just until the right prey comes into sight. Then, they will dive downwards at a high velocity, reaching out with their talons to grab any prey that they can catch by surprise. Their great eyesight helps them see potential prey from 1 to 2 km away.

Often credited as lazy, the Bald Eagle will often also take advantage of prey items that have been killed by another animal. They love roadkill and carrion, which helps them from wasting a lot of energy on the hunt. Their bodies help process their food and prevent them from getting sick from raw or old meat.

What Do Bald Eagles Eat During the Winter?

The Bald Eagle is going to do everything in its power to save energy during the winter months. As mammals hibernate, the Bald Eagle is going to spend most of its time scavenging roadkill and collecting carrion from the edge of the roads. They will rely very heavily on carrion and weak species which could not fare through the perils of the winter. As the Bald Eagle has no natural predators, no one is going to stop them from its feast. 

What Do Baby Bald Eagles Eat?

From birth, adult Bald Eagles will feed their babies raw meat, unlike most other species of birds. There is no need to wean baby Bald Eagles off their mother’s feed as they eat the same diet throughout their entire lives. The adult Bald Eagles will look after their young by tearing off flesh and offering it to their young. The Bald Eagle is a very loyal bird and will spend a long time passionately looking after and defending its young.

What Did Benjamin Franklin Say About Bald Eagles?

Benjamin Franklin believed that the Bald Eagle would not be a good national bird as he thought that the Bald Eagle’s opportunistic feeding habits were not good qualities for one of the biggest symbols of the United States. However, the Bald Eagle’s resilience and fight for survival tell a powerful story and offer something to be desired.

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Hi,

My self Mark. I have been birding for the last 10 years. Birdwatching is and will be my favorite hobby.

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