The Eagle has Landed!

The Eagles have returned to the Black Hammock! After heading out of Orlando for the summer, the Bald Eagles are beginning to return to Lake Jesup for fall migration.  Eagles are a common sight in fall and winter on your Black Hammock airboat ride.  Many airboat ride goers have reported that an Eagles nest has been spotted in the center of Bird Island on their tour.   Bird Island is a treasure trove of wildlife where guests can witness many feathered inhabitants as they circle the coastline on their airboat tour.

Many of you may know that the Bald Eagle has been the national emblem of the United States since 1782 and a spiritual symbol for Native Americans for centuries.  These regal birds are not really bald, but their white-feathered heads gleam in contrast to their chocolate-brown body and wings; giving the illusion of baldness.    A bald eagle is able to carry approximately four pounds.  They do not generally feed on chickens or other domestic livestock, but they will make use of available food sources.  In some cases, Bald eagles will take advantage of carrion (dead and decaying flesh).  Recently a family of Eagles were witnessed on Lake Jesup teaching their young how to catch fish.  Juvenile bald eagles are a mixture of brown and white; with a black beak in young birds.  The adult plumage develops when they are sexually mature.  It takes about FIVE YEARS for their head and tail feathers to gradually turn white!

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Sometimes bald eagles can be confused with the Osprey, but they are actually very different!  According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission “Bald eagles are larger, have a dark chest and underside, white tails, yellow legs and hold their wings flat when they fly” whereas “Ospreys are smaller, have a white chest and underside, grey legs and feet and their wings are not held flat when they fly.”

Check out our Facebook Album “Wildlife and Scenery” where you can see pictures of the many birds, alligators and other animals taken on our Black Hammock airboat rides as well as back on shore!  This album is updated regularly.  Don’t forget to “Like” us while you are there!

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