Niwot’s Neighbors: Eagles

Violet Oliver, Columnist

No animal radiates power and majesty quite like the Bald Eagle. It is not uncommon to spot the U.S.’ national animal in February and March, and they can often be seen soaring high above the open space surrounding Niwot and Longmont. After half a century on the Endangered Species List, the Bald Eagle’s swift comeback mirrors the thriving nation it represents.

 

Although their name suggests the bird is featherless, “bald” simply means “white head” when it comes to this species. With a wingspan over six feet, it’s easy to see why the eagle has been nicknamed the “king of the skies”. 

 

However, even sky kings have their vices. Bald eagles have been known to steal food from other birds of prey and have even pirated catches from human fishers. In addition, eagles are easily chased away by tiny kingbirds, causing Benjamin Franklin to label the bird as both a thief and a coward.

 

All of that is not to say that bald eagles don’t have their fair share of fun. Eagles have been known to play with plastic bottles and pass sticks to each other mid-flight. One bald eagle flying over Lake Michigan attacked a federal drone, costing the government $950 and two hours of search and rescue. Some raptors have even been trained to purposefully take down enemy drones should they ever invade American skies. When choosing between defending the country and having a little fun, the eagle does both – all while maintaining its status as the authority of the bird world.