• Jenica McEvoy

Bald Eagle Trivia Challenge

Bald eagles are fascinating birds of prey, and here in Vermont we are lucky to have many nesting pairs. However, it hasn’t always been this way! As recent as the year 2000, there were no recorded bald eagles nesting in Vermont. After a recovery effort in the early 2000s of 29 young eagles being reintroduced at Dead Creek Wildlife Management Area (near Addison), they started to spread out. In 2020 the state recorded 41 pairs.


How well do you know these birds of prey? Take the quiz and find out!



True or false?

1. Ben Franklin questioned the choice of the bald eagle as our national bird.

2. Females and males are the same size.

3. The oldest known bald eagle in the wild was 25 years old.

4. Bald eagles tend to return to the same nest every year.

5. Bald eagles only eat fish.




How did you do?


1. Ben Franklin questioned the choice of the bald eagle as our national bird.

True. As written in a letter from Ben Franklin to his daughter, “For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly. You may have seen him perched on some dead Tree near the River, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the Labour of the Fishing Hawk; and when that diligent Bird has at length taken a Fish, and is bearing it to his Nest for the Support of his Mate and young Ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him and takes it from him.


2. Females and males are the same size.

False. Females are 25% larger than males, averaging as much as 12 pounds each.


3. The oldest known bald eagle in the wild was 25 years old.

False. The oldest known wild bald eagle in the United States was at least 38 years old. It was struck by a car in 2015, probably while eating roadkill. The reason its age was known is that it was banded in 1977.


4. Bald eagles tend to return to the same nest every year.

True. Eagles tend to return to the same nest and nesting territory each year, especially if they successfully produced young at that nest. The average bald eagle nest is 4 to 5 feet in diameter and 2 to 4 feet deep. Each year the adults will add 1 to 2 feet of new material to the nest, meaning some can become extremely large!


5. Bald eagles only eat fish.

False. Bald eagles do eat fish for much of their diet, but they also eat waterfowl, shorebirds, small mammals, turtles, and carrion.


Juveniles stretch their wings in the nest


The next time you visit the Museum, say hi to Stormy and Molly Stark, our two bald eagles! Due to injured wings neither of them can survive in the wild, but they are excellent education ambassadors.


* All photos courtesy of Nicki Steel Photography

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