Impressive Bald Eagles
It won’t be long before our local bald eagles will be back on the Gunflint Trail. We often see them at Voyageur Canoe Outfitters as soon as the ice begins to melt. If you’ve read my blog before you probably know how much I love wildlife of all kinds and when I can’t see it up close and in person I sometimes enjoy it virtually.
One website I LOVE has been around for 10 years! It’s the Minnesota DNR Eagle Camera. This year the bald eagles in the nest have two eggs and this morning they were busy fluffing up their nest. It’s so fun to watch and listen to them. The first time I heard a bald eagle I couldn’t believe that was the sound they made. It was so wimpy and it didn’t sound like what I had heard on television. It turns out most of the time when you see a bald eagle on film it is paired with the sound of a Red-tailed hawk. I guess that’s why I was so surprised when I first heard it. Take a listen to the calls they make or head over to the Eagle Camera to see and hear for yourself.
More fun facts about these birds from the MN DNR-
Bald eagle vocalizations
Bald eagles make three or four main types of calls. They are generally referred to as the chatter call, peel call, wail call and chirp or whistle call. Biologists have long been studying what these various calls mean and when eagles use them. Turns out, much like people, eagles make a wide variety of noises for a variety of reasons and we don’t fully understand what every call means.
Calls are most often used for communicating with other eagles (what biologists call conspecifics), communicating with or deterring threats to their nest or territory and signaling readiness for mating, feeding or other group activities. Some biologists have even found fascinating evidence that individual eagles have uniquely identifiable voices.
Some other interesting eagle vocalization facts:
- Eagles are generally considered to make a “wimpy,” “weak,” or “insufficiently impressive” call for such large majestic birds!
- Most often on TV and film when an eagle shown majestically in flight, it is accompanied inaccurately by the piercing cry of the Red-tailed hawk.
- Eagles are thought to hunt mostly quietly and their calls do not seem frightening to other birds.
- Bald eagles are thought to have different regional dialects across different parts of their North American range.
- Female Bald eagles tend to make lower pitched calls.
- Vocalizations help us understand just how sensitive eagles can be to human disturbance. Some studies have found that human activity near eagles increased agitation (as demonstrated by vocalization) by about 300% to 400%.
- Eagles will often accompany their squeaky alarm calls with a vertical head toss, keep an eye out for that on our cam!
- When an egg is close to hatching, chirping from the chick might be heard from inside the egg!